The State College girls’ soccer team got a rematch with an opponent that had lost just once and returned most of its roster from last season.
The Lady Little Lions were undeterred by either that or Thursday evening’s rain at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium.
State College used three second-half goals to pull away from McDowell 4-1 in a PIAA subregional playoff game.
The Lady Little Lions (16-5) will next play Tuesday against the District 7 runner-up, either Seneca Valley or Peters Township, which will be decided Friday night. That PIAA first-round match also will bring a rematch no matter the opponent. Seneca Valley ousted State College from last year’s tournament, while Peters Township won 3-2 in the season opener in September.
Victoria Crawford scored twice and assisted on another goal, while younger sister Hayley had a goal and two assists and Taylor Campbell posted one of each.
Erin Meeker scored for the Trojans (18-2), who also fell to State College in the same spot last season.
The Lady Little Lions carried play for most of the game, holding a 15-4 shot advantage, but a Hayley Crawford score was all they could muster for a 1-0 halftime lead. Morooney had hoped his team could get a bigger lead early.
“We were cautiously optimstic,” Morooney said. “The girls did a good job of executing the game plan. We believed McDowell wouldn’t be as tested as we were, and our goal was to pounce on them early and put a lot of pressure on them. We got a good start but we didn’t get any goals from that.”
A Victoria Crawford goal early in the second half extended the lead, but when Meeker scored for the Trojans with 12 minutes left, there was concern on the State College sideline.
“The old adage is the most dangerous lead is a two-goal lead, because when the lead gets cut in half it is common that it gets closed all the way,” Morooney said. “We were thrilled that not too long after that we were able to have a good reaction. We weren’t timid. We pushed hard.”
But Campbell scored a little over four minutes later, and Victoria Crawford wrapped up the scoring.
“On a handful of possessions we made some good decisions,” Morooney said. “We did a good job of building, and eventually wore McDowell down.”