New Castle News
For the second-straight match, the Mohawk High defense was perfect through regulation.
Sewickley Academy needed a few extra minutes to capitalize. Last night in overtime, the Lady Panthers finally converted on one of their numerous scoring chances to post a 1-0 win over the Lady Warriors in a WPIAL Class A girls soccer semifinal at Ambridge High’s Moe Rubenstein Stadium.
Mohawk’s defense was perfect through regulation and two overtimes last week in a 1-0 win over Seton-La Salle in a penalty kick shootout. The Lady Warriors were at it again before Paige Rodgers scored on a breakaway with 3:41 remaining in the first OT.
“It was a good game. I was proud of them. They were ready to play,” Mohawk coach Mike Shornack said. “I tip my hat to the girls. I can make them come to practice; I can give them stuff to do, but they have to play and they came here and played well.”
Sewickley Academy (20-0-1) meets Greensburg Central Catholic, a 3-1 winner over Shady Side Academy, in Saturday’s WPIAL title match.
“Every game is a new challenge and we know Greensburg Central Catholic is an excellent team with multiple dangerous forwards,” Sewickley Academy coach Jessica Peluso said. “We’ll get to work and prepare for them.”
Meanwhile, Mohawk (10-9-1), the last remaining WPIAL Class A public school in the tournament, meets Shady Side Academy in Saturday’s consolation match at a time and site to be determined. The winner of that contest advances to the PIAA playoffs and draws the District 10 champ on Tuesday.
“We’re going against another private school, but we’ll be OK,” Shornack said.
The Lady Panthers beat the Lady Warriors twice (4-1 and 4-0) in Section 1-A action. However, Mohawk proved to be much tougher to conquer in the third encounter.
“When you play a team three times in a season, it’s very difficult. We knew that they were very young and a very athletic and talented team. What a great run Mohawk has had. They are obviously an up-and-coming program,” Peluso said. “I think that we started a little bit slow and it took us about 20 minutes to really get in a rhythm. We certainly created opportunities. We had two goals called back (because of offside calls). So, it was exciting to get that final goal.”
The Lady Warriors struggled to sustain any sort of offensive attack against Sewickley Academy, which has outscored its opponents, 60-5, this season. An early floating shot just sailed over the goal for Mohawk, while the team’s only shot on goal came from Mikala Mangino 3:06 into overtime.
“Their sweeper is really good. They’ve only had a few goals scored on them all year, but we were in it,” Shornack said. “I am really proud of the team, I will tell you that.”
The Lady Warriors’ defense, which had allowed only one goal in its last six matches before last night, was strong, too. Sewickley Academy had 10 shots on goal, but just as many sailed off target as well.
“Certainly, it’s frustrating when you have a lot of opportunities and can’t put it in the back of the net,” Peluso said. “What we talk about in those situations is just maintaining our composure — don’t let the crowd make you change your decisions, play the ball on the ground, find feet and look for the best opportunities.”
The Lady Panthers finally broke through when a long pass was sent ahead toward the Mohawk goal. Rodgers raced into the penalty box and hit a hard shot past goalkeeper Aliya Gage, who had nine saves, for the golden goal.
“(Gage) is a great goalkeeper. I think we just took advantage of a good breakaway,” Peluso said. “To have a freshman score the winning goal is pretty exciting.”