WPIAL Girls Soccer Playoffs – Class 2A Quarterfinal
FINAL: Avonworth 3, Southmoreland 2
Ava Worth’s hat trick in the first half sparked Avonworth’s late first half scoring surge, then the Antelopes held on for a 3-2 road victory at Southmoreland in the WPIAL Girls Class 2A quarterfinal round match on Saturday afternoon.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Following a solid first round 3-1 win vs Ambridge, Southmoreland welcomed Avonworth to Russ Grimm Field — where a backdrop of the remaining autumn leaves and woods separated by railroad tracks provided a scene that looked something out of movie about a small-town team who is on a journey towards a championship.
Both the Scotties and Antelopes, in a 4-vs-5 seed showdown were eager to keep their season’s going.
Avonworth controlled the first ten minutes of the game with small passes and patience.
Southmoreland’s Kendall Fabery was denying a lot of final passes and tracking down attackers to halt the play.
The game loosened up a bit as both teams found a scattering of opportunities. Avonworth’s goalkeeper, Maggie Pappas, was called on to make a point blank save in the match’s first real chance for either side.
Under 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the match turned when Avonworth’s Ava Wert found some magic.
With two quick strikes, Wert put her team into a quick 2-0 advantage
Her third tally came on a penalty kick opportunity. Initially, her first spot kick hit the post but there was an infraction as a Southmoreland player entered the box, forcing, by rule, the kick to be retaken.
This time Wert smashed her shot into the back of the net, which gave the Antelopes a commanding three-goal advantage at the half.
Southmoreland brought a ton of energy from the opening whistle of the second half as Olivia Cernuto would get her head on the ball and into the back of the net to pull the game within reach — and brought the home fans back into the match.
Avonworth responded by controlling play that slowed down the Scotties’ momentum, as Wert again was on the attack. Wert found two big shots in the midway point of the second half, and Kent State Commit Joey Skillen also had another that just missed the frame.
With the clock headed towards 15 minutes left in the game. A shot by Skillen would forced Southmoreland’s keeper Kaylee Keys to stretch every inch she has to tip the ball onto the crossbar for the save and keep it a two goal game.
Still hanging onto hope for a comeback, Southmoreland was awarded a penalty kick with two minutes remaining.
Olivia Cernuto delivered her second goal of the game to draw the Scotties within one.
Unfortunately, the clock was the biggest enemy for Southmoreland, as they seized the momentum of the match back too late — and the seconds away to end its season.
With Avonworth’s 3-2 victory, they’ll move on to the semifinals in Class 2A where they’ll face Yough, who upset top-seeded South Park, 1-0 on Saturday.