High School Sports

High school girls soccer: Penns Valley can’t finish after fast start in loss

Sometimes it’s about how you finish a game and not about how you start it.

For the Penns Valley girls’ soccer team, it couldn’t finish what it started on Tuesday.

The No. 4 seed Lady Rams jumped out to an early lead but couldn’t hold on in their 3-2 loss to No. 5 seed Bishop McCort (10-7-1) in the quarterfinals of the District 6 Class A playoffs.

“We started well and then just kind of sat back on our heels unfortunately,” Penns Valley coach Jeff Smucker said. “Sometimes you get that early lead and you continue to press and sometimes you don’t and tonight it didn’t happen for us. I give a lot of credit to McCort. They played a really good game, played hard and physically.”

After going down early, the Lady Crushers battled back all night long.

Bishop McCort never led in the game until the 61st minute when Alexis Regula sent a crossing pass towards the goal and Lady Rams keeper Kylie Orndorf misplayed the ball. It slipped through her fingertips and into the goal. Orndorf was solid for the Lady Rams stopping five of the Lady Crushers’ eight shots in the first half and finished with seven in the game.

Bishop McCort held a significant advantage in time of possession after going down 2-0. It was in Penns Valley’s half of the field for 30 of the 40 first minutes. While holding that advantage, the Lady Crushers outshot the Lady Rams 12-4. They also amassed eight corner kicks to Penns Valley’s none.

“We started slow but once we picked it up our intensity raised we were fine.” Lady Crushers coach Rebekah Walter said. “We had tons of shot on net but was only to get three in. We’ve really been focusing on movement and possession. Our last three games it really came together.”

The Lady Rams (8-7-4) felt the pressure of not being able to get anything going offensively. When they got their chances, they seemed to rush their shots and misfired on the net.

Right before Regula’s eventual game-winning goal, Penns Valley had an opportunity to claim the lead on a free kick — its first shot on goal since five minutes into the game. Cheyenne Swartz booted a kick that ricocheted of the crossbar. Keira Whitman corralled the rebound but her shot went wide right.

“Our girls in the second half really pressed some,” Smucker said. “We had some opportunities we were just a little unlucky to convert some of those.”

The Lady Rams sprinted out to a two-goal advantage five minutes into the game thanks in part to sloppy passing from the Lady Crushers.

Destiny Andrus rocketed a Bishop McCort turnover in the box to the bottom left corner of the net and past Crushers keeper Maura Clark 2:30 into the game. Two minutes later, Andrus connected with Valerie Kubalak, and Kubalak sent it to the same corner as Andrus to make it 2-0.

Bishop McCort rallied to tie the game thanks in part to Katie Downey and Regula.

Regula put the Lady Crushers on the board at the 28th minute mark when she took a pass from Haley Thomas on a free kick and caught Penns Valley sleeping. Four minutes later, Downey fired one from just outside the box and past Orndorf.

Bishop McCort will next play No. 1 seed Bishop Guilfoyle in the semifinals on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.