Ambridge came into the WPIAL Girls 3A playoffs winning their first section title in school history, earning a chance to host a first round playoff match at Moe Rubenstein Stadium.
Thomas Jefferson would put the section champs to the test, pushing the Bridgers to the limit in a match that went to penalty kicks.
Ultimately, Ambridge would pull through, winning after the teams played to a 1-1 draw, but winning the PK shoot out.
Ambridge controlled the majority of the possession in the first twenty minutes while Thomas Jefferson was the more physical of the two teams.
The play started to open as both teams started to play more direct and began stretching the field. TJ keeper Sophomore Maddison Sippey came up with two big saves to halt the first real threats by Ambridge.
A corner kick a few minutes later would find its way to the right foot of Junior Gretchen Oslick and she would slip the ball into the back of the net to give the Bridgers a 1-0 lead in the first half. That score would stand as the half came to an end.
The second half would feel similar to the first half.
Ambridge was buzzing around the penalty box but TJ limited the potential of quality shots on their net. As the half continued the play would get a little tenser and would see Dalaney Ranallo (TJ) and Marissa Steck (Ambridge) receiving yellow cards in the 70th minute.
TJ keeper Sippey came up with another big save in the 75th minute mark.
The save would prove crucial keeping it a one goal game.
Ranallo (TJ) and Steck (Ambridge would both return into the game as the clock was winding down in the dying second of regulation.
TJ earned a throw in deep in the Ambridge half and Ranallo launched a long throw into the box that found the head of a TJ player towards goal and innocently found the foot of an Ambridge defender, deflecting just inside of the goal to knot the game at 1-1 with just a minute left to play.
The match would need to be decided in extra time.
In overtime, TJ came out and tested Lively, who was ready for the test.
Ambridge would return the favor in the beginning of the second overtime and Sippey also was prepared to meet the challenge. The chances were limited in both overtimes and saw the second overtime come to a close.
The contest would have to be decided with penalty kicks.
Ambridge came out with the first shooter in Gretchen Oslick, the lone goal scorer for Ambridge. Oslick sent her shot wide to the right for the miss. TJ’s Alyssa Polakovic would bury her shot under the crossbar to go up 1-0 in PK’s. The next shooters would trade goals making it TJ 2-1.
Kayt McKissic would come out and bury her shot to the lower left corner. TJ’s next two shooters would have their shots denied by Lively. Needing a save on the final shooter, TJ’s Sippey once again stood tall and made the save.
TJ’s Ranallo would have chance to play hero one more time if she could score to extend the PK’s. Unfortunately this time it would not be for her as her shot traveled over the crossbar and brought the game to a close — and a victory for Ambridge.
Ambridge will get to take on Hampton, who won 3-0 over Elizabeth Forward, on Wednesday at a site and time yet to be determined.