High School Sports

Bald Eagle Area girls pull away in 2nd half for win

As she hugged her coach after her career night, Madelynn Holderman expressed her disbelief.

The Bald Eagle Area senior couldn’t believe what just happened at Altoona’s Mansion Park in the first round of the District 6 Class AA girls’ soccer playoffs. After scoring one goal in 18 regular-season games, Holderman scored five goals to lead the No. 10 seed Lady Eagles to an 8-3 win over seventh-seeded Penn Cambria on Tuesday night.

“I don’t know where it came from,” Holderman said.

Holderman’s five goals paced an eight-goal second half for the Lady Eagles, who went into the postseason averaging 1.3 goals per game and never scored more than four goals in one game this season. BEA seized control by scoring six goals in a span of less than nine minutes in the second half. Julia Cingle scored twice, including what proved to be the game winner, and Emily Shiels added a goal for BEA.

The Lady Eagles advance to the quarterfinals to take on second-seeded Central at Mansion Park at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. BEA lost to Central twice during the regular season.

With BEA trailing 2-0 at halftime, Holderman thought she may only have 40 minutes left in her career.

Then, the Lady Eagles caught fire.

“That was crazy and I think it just showed that we really wanted it because we don’t want the season to end,” Holderman said, “because I just can’t imagine – I’ve been playing since I was like 5 (years old), so this is really exciting.”

She got the Lady Eagles on the board nearly 12 minutes into the second half, dribbling through the defense and finding the bottom left corner of the net to make it 2-1. Fifty-six seconds later, Holderman found the back of the net to tie it on a shot that bounced off the crossbar.

By then she had already surpassed her season total.

“I’ve shot a ton but I just miss every time, so it must have made up for it,” Holderman said.

The Lady Eagles didn’t let up.

Cingle scored a little more than three minutes later to give her team the lead. A little more than two minutes later, she scored again to make it 4-2.

They were rare goals for the defensive central midfielder.

“She’s such a workhorse back there and she doesn’t get credit for statistically what she does,” BEA coach Jared Moore said.

The significance wasn’t lost on Holderman.

“We never score because we’re center mids and normally the forwards score, so it was so exciting,” said Holderman, who is a senior captain with Cingle.

Holderman scored the team’s final two goals to put the finishing touches on the win.

Holderman said her coach greeted her by saying her goal total after the game before their hug.

“Incredible,” Moore said. “Incredible, incredible player. This is my fourth year with her. She’s phenomenal – phenomenal girl. I’m very, very proud to have coached her.”

And he was proud of his team as the Lady Eagles didn’t allow the halftime deficit to faze them, scoring eight goals in 40 minutes to advance.

“I knew they were due,” Moore said. “Sooner or later, they were due for a game like this. They moved the ball well, they crossed the ball well. We just have a little bit of trouble finishing and tonight we didn’t, so I’m hoping this is our breakout.”

Ryne Gery: 814-231-4679, @rgery