New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
The Neshannock High girls soccer team continued its progression this season.
However, the Lady Lancers would have liked to advance deeper in the playoffs.
Seton-La Salle prevented that as it scored early and held on to upset Neshannock, 1-0, in a WPIAL Class A first-round game at Central Valley’s Sarge Alberts Stadium on Saturday.
The Lady Rebels (8-10) advance to Wednesday’s quarterfinals against Mohawk, a 2-1 winner over Bishop Canevin, at a time and site to be determined by the WPIAL.
“They’ve worked hard all year. We’ve had a tough section with a lot of ups and downs. I think it prepared them well for this game. It was pretty evenly matched,” Seton-La Salle coach Brooke Mangis said. “Hopefully, we’re ready for the next one.”
Seton-La Salle took command early and found the back of the net 11:03 into the contest. Cassie Manion’s corner kick skipped across the front of the Neshannock goal. Madison Hanley charged toward the far post and blasted the ball over helpless Lady Lancers goalkeeper Rachel Iorio.
“She had been out with a concussion, so we were happy to have her back and she was at the right place at the right time,” said Mangis of Hanley.
It took Neshannock (10-6-1) a while to generate an offensive attack. The Lady Lancers’ first shot on goal came with 21:33 left in the half on Kelly Cournan’s free kick. It was the team’s only shot on goal of the half.
In the second half, the Lady Rebels came out with a conservative defensive approach.
“We moved my best player Tess Brust from midfield to defense to help out a little bit,” Mangis said. “When you’re up 1-0 in a playoff game, you know the other team is going to come out with everything, so we adjusted a little.”
Neshannock fought through it for three good scoring opportunities in the final 18:34. Off a corner kick, Angela DeBlasio’s header sailed just wide of the goal. Three minutes later, there was a collision in front of the Seton-La Salle goal, but the ball rolled just wide of the net. DeBlasio had another scoring chance with 12:22 remaining, but goalkeeper Rhiannon Lewis was able to deflect her shot out of harm’s way.
“After they got one on us, we were able to tighten things up. We knew we needed to do better, so we came out in the second half with a little more tenacity and stepping up in the play and driving to goal more,” Neshannock coach Christine McConnelle said. “They created some opportunities. But, I think a lot of the girls learned that playoff game styles are at a higher level. You can’t waste opportunities and you can’t give up goals on the opportunities that they have, either. There were multiple chances. I give credit to Seton-La Salle for the pressure they put on us and their level of play. We certainly had to work for it.”
The Lady Lancers, who finished second in Section 1-A, graduate one senior (Leah Russo) from their roster.
“Our one senior is not one we want to lose,” McConnell said. “Next season, the team coming back will have a lot of returning girls. They have experienced a couple playoff games. Finding some more consistency throughout the season allowed us to be a higher seed in the playoffs. Hopefully we can continue that next year.”