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FINAL: Oakland Catholic 1, Mars 0, OT

FINAL: Oakland Catholic 1, Mars 0, OT

WPIAL Girls 3A Final

Mars Fighting Planets (18-0-0) vs Oakland Catholic Eagles (17-1-0)

Friday, November 2, 2018 – 6 pm kickoff

Highmark Stadium

GAME UPDATES

7:51 – GOAL – OAKLAND CATHOLIC WINS IT! 93′, 1OT — 1-0.

First-ever WPIAL title for Oakland Catholic.

Anna Sproule is the first one to the ball on a corner kick played to the near post.

7:43 – We’re going to OT!

7:32 – Finally, a deep advance for OC, and a corner chance. And a pretty wild sequence in the box. But again, nothing doing for the Eagles.

7:25 – Oakland Catholic defending so well, they’re going to have to be a better countering team.

7:11 – Mars ramps up its counter attacking chances — earning four corners in a five-minute span. Still, Oakland Catholic defending them well.

7:04 – Oakland Catholic with lots of possession in early part of second half. Finally amounts to one corner opportunity, which is cleared away.

6:52 – HALF 0-0

Question I posed in preview was, can Oakland Catholic go toe-to-toe with Mars. Thus far they have. Still haven’t put any shots on frame though. Mars is looking dangerous on the width and on the edges of the box, but they’re not getting much past OC’s back line which is playing pretty deep.

6:44 – Oakland gets forward — Julia Murray plays a through ball but it goes too far. We haven’t seen OC get that far into final third in while. (34′)

6:32 – first couple shots on frame coming from Londynn Gonzalez from the right side. One was a pretty hard strike.

6:20 – while Oakland Catholic showing that they can play some keep away, it’s been Mars that have looked more dangerous thus far. Especially when they try to get forward quickly, you can see Oakland Catholic scrambling to try to stay organized.

6:05 – Traffic cutting through Downtown wasn’t too bad. We’re here now and ready to go.

 

PSN COVERAGE

John Krysinsky – reporting

David Hague – photography

LIVE BROADCAST / STREAM

Trib HSSN 

 

WPIAL SOCCER HISTORY

WPIAL Past Champions

 

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Can Oakland Cathlolic go toe-to-toe with Mars?

There’s no doubt that Oakland Catholic’s midfield has shown that it can dominate most of the competition in Girls 3A thus far this season.

Now, they’ll meet its biggest challenge of the season facing an unbeaten Mars squad that returns to the final for the second straight year with most of the same roster.

Mars will come at you in a variety of ways.  Caroline Wroblewski is a threat on the width. Pitt commit, Ellie Coffield can score from most anywhere within 20-25 yards.  Head coach Blair Gerlach can mix things up tactically — as they’ll use their speed and physical presence on the width and they can play direct. They also can play more of a possession game if needed.

If Oakland Catholic’s talented midfield, with Catie Hassett sitting on top of the back line as a holding mid, can keep the ball enough and control enough possession, they can slow down the Mars attack.  Mars will look to shut down Hannah Henn, who scored 22 goals and had 14 assists during the regular season.

Each of these teams haven’t lost a game against an opponent from the same classification this season.

The only common opponents are Gateway and Kiski Area, who Mars handled with relative ease (Gateway did hold them to one goal in second match), and Oakland Catholic beat them both in their playoff run (3-0 over Kiski and 2-0 over Gateway).

 

MORE ON MARS 

  • Gerlach always has his teams in contention for WPIAL titles. This year’s edition will be trying to capture the school’s fifth title in the past nine years. They’ve last won the WPIAL in 2015, when they beat South Park.
  • This year’s squad is on a mission. After showing a lot of resiliency in losing an exciting WPIAL final in 2017, 3-2, against two-time WPIAL and PIAA champion Moon, the Fighting Planets have been perfect 18-0 this season.
  • The Planets are led by goalkeeper Claire Valentine who has posted 15 clean sheets, and surrendered only five goals in 18 matches. Three of those came in one game against Hampton.
  • Taylor Hamlett, Coffield and Wroblewski all are talented scoring threats.
  • Coffield, who is committed to Pitt, scored the goal against Hampton that was the difference, while Valentine came up with a huge penalty kick stop, and nine total saves in Saturday’s win vs Hampton.

MORE ON OAKLAND CATHOLIC

  • Oakland Catholic are looking to cap a turnaround season with its first-ever WPIAL soccer title.
  • After going 6-12 last year, the Eagles turned into one of the best teams in the WPIAL in this classification.  Their only loss was against 4A finalist and top seed Seneca Valley in the first game of the season, 4-0. Since then, they’ve reeled off 17 consecutive wins, giving up a total of five goals in this span.
  • The experienced group is especially deep and has a talented midfield. Senior Catie Hassett serves as the crafty deep holding midfielder who can extend possessions and get the ball forward to her teammates on the attack.
  • After losing in the first round of the playoffs multiple times, they finally got the first-round monkey off their backs, and have been solid defensively, in front of Maggie Storti in goal, with three shutouts over Kiski Area, Gateway and South Fayette to make it to the finals.
  • Leading scorer Hannah Henn leads the team in goals scored with 22 along with 14 assists. She added to that total with a hat trick in the quarterfinal win over Kiski. In addition to Henn, Tori Calhoun has 13 goals, Caitlyn Berl nine and Anna Sproule with eight.

 

THEY SAID IT

Mars GK Claire Valentine after 1-0 semifinal win vs Hampton.

 

 

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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