State College found its offense in the second half, and it means another trip to the PIAA tournament.
The Lady Little Lions did all their scoring after intermission to lock up a 4-0 victory over McDowell in a PIAA play-in game Saturday afternoon at Edinboro University’s Sox Harrison Stadium.
Taylor Campbell-Phipps scored twice and Haley Crawford posted a goal and two assists to send the Lady Little Lions (13-6-1) to the first round of the PIAA Class AAA tournament. They will face Canon McMillan, the runner-up from Pittsburgh’s District 7, on Tuesday night. The site and time will be set Sunday.
“It was just a persistent, gritty kind of effort,” coach Kevin Morooney said. “We had discipline on defense and patience on offense.”
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After outshooting opponents 65-12 during the District 6 tournament, State College continued that effort at both ends of the field with a 14-4 advantage against the Trojans, including 11-1 after halftime.
McDowell’s lone shot in the second half — one of just two times keeper Caitlin Fasnacht touched the ball over the final 40 minutes — was a free kick from 30 yards away.
“I was definitely most pleased with the patience we showed in team defense,” Morooney said. “The second half of the district finals carried over into this match and just never buckled. It gave us the time to solve the puzzle on the offensive side.”
Fasnacht made two saves for the shutout.
Lauren Anderson started the scoring 9:30 into the second half, heading the ball off a Crawford corner kick.
Just over four minutes later, Megan Fry set up Campbell-Phipps 20 yards out in the center of the field to double the lead.
The two-goal lead lasted until the final 12 minutes, when an Anderson throw-in turned into a Crawford goal, and Crawford set up Campbell-Phipps to close the scoring with 42 seconds left in the game, which was played in a strong wind, rain, and immediately after the whistle to end the first half, ligh, wet snow.
“I was hoping we could get on them early, because of the weather and such,” Morooney said. “Haley hit the frame a couple times in the first half. I really did hope we could hit them early and manage the game a little bit, but that didn’t happen.”