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Kickin' it around the 'Burgh

Steel City FC begin optimistic season with mixed results

Photo of Jessica Neill, Steel City FC goalkeeper, courtesy of Steel City FC.

Steel City FC begin optimistic season with mixed results

Pittsburgh, Pa. — A trip to Hershey kicked off the Women’s Premier Soccer League season for Steel City FC. Led by second-year head coach Tom Ovenden, Steel City FC picked up a draw during the road contest.

Neither side scored during the opening match. However, for 90 minutes, Steel City FC kept a clean sheet against a new club in the league. However, just a few short days after opening up their season on the road, Steel City FC returned to Pittsburgh to host their home opener. At the Ellis School in Shady Side, Pittsburgh met up with Hershey FC once again.

This time, the result was much different.

Steel City FC claimed the big 5-0 victory, securing three valuable points on the board. Early on in the match, Jansen Jamison was brought down in the box, resulting in a penalty kick opportunity. Hershey goalkeeper Charlotte Elrod, of Mount St. Mary’s, wasn’t able to save the penalty from Emily Indof.

At the half, the score remained 1-0 in favor of Pittsburgh. However, in the second half, the floodgates opened.

Cheyenne Kuncher, who featured collegiately for Mount Aloysius, slotted one past Hershey’s goal early in the second half. Only six minutes after her first goal, Kuncher found the net once again for Steel City FC. The goals didn’t stop there, though, as Lauren Mizik found goal for the first time this season.

Krystyna Rytel, a senior in high school from Shady Side Academy, slotted the final goal.

In goal, Jess Neill started the match and Sam Gildner found some minutes. Neill featured for Steel City FC last season and hails from Seton Hill University. Meanwhile, Gildner, another high school senior from Highlands, helped combine for a clean sheet.

Steel City drops one to Fusion FC

It was a close contest, but not enough for Steel City FC.

The day after handing a big-time loss to Hershey FC, Steel City FC geared up for a battle against Penn Fusion.

Penn Fusion put up five goals against Pittsburgh, but unlike Hershey FC, the Pittsburgh club managed to score some tallies. The final was an eight-goal product game, resulting a Steel City 5-3 loss.

Penn Fusion had four different goal-scorer. Alexis Smith, Rachael Dorwart, Emily Gray and Ashlyn Kearney slipped four goals past Neill. However, it was Dorwart that found the back of the net twice. Penn Fusion scored three unanswered goals to earn three points in the new Keystone Division.

Meanwhile, Steel City FC applied pressure and provided many chances to get back into the match. Goals for Steel City FC came from Macy Stalnaker of West Virginia University, Tori Kopchak of Duquesne University and Jamison, who graduated from Edinboro University.

What’s Next?

Steel City FC will hit the road to face Penn Fusion once again this Saturday. However, this time, the tale of the tape could be different. Penn Fusion is featuring in a mid-week match against Torch FC on Wednesday night, so they have a quick-turnaround to prepare for Saturday’s match. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh picks up an extra couple days of rest.

The match will begin at 2 p.m.

The sport of soccer is Rachael McKriger's area of expertise. McKriger covers Steel City FC for Pittsburgh Soccer Now and provides various columns. Elsewhere, McKriger covers the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Her coverage expanded to Last Word on Soccer in March 2018, where she began National Women's Soccer League coverage and U.S. Women's National Team reporting. A May 2018 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, McKriger is currently enrolled in graduate school at Point Park University.

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