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Mars Girls Rule Class 3A Again

Photo courtesy Justin Berl

Mars Girls Rule Class 3A Again

WPIAL Girls Soccer Class 3A Final

FINAL: Mars  1, Plum 0

Match Summary

Once again, Mars girls soccer team reigns supreme over WPIAL Girls Class 3A, as they defeated a determined Plum side, 1-0, in a hard-fought final at North Allegheny High School on Saturday afternoon.

After bringing plenty of pressure from the start of the match, Mars capitalized on its fifth corner kick of the match when Ellie Coffield’s service connected with Erin Rodgers. The senior midfielder’s redirected header had plenty of pace, flying right past Plum’s keeper Erica Taylor.  The Fighting Planets controlled possession throughout the match, constantly pressuring and keeping Plum on its heels and spending most of its time defending throughout the match.

Plum held a 15-2 edge in corner kicks and roughly 70 percent of possession.

Despitend held on for its seventh all-time WPIAL championship and second consecutive title.

Justin Berl Photo Gallery 

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Gameday Updates

FINAL — MARS 1, PLUM 0

It’s over — and another well-deserved championship for Blair Gerlich’s club! They were on the front-foot throughout the match and never really took their foot off the gas despite only getting one goal.

79′ – Plum is finally creating some build-up through the midfield — playing in desperation — but it might be too little too late as they expended a lot of energy defending throughout the match.

68′ – Still 1-0 Mars.  Lot more pressure coming from Mars into box looking to extend its lead, but Plum are still hanging on, with few clearances, trailing 1-0. Plum continue to spend so much time defending, they’re unable to get forward to create any counter chances.P

HALF – MARS 1, PLUM 0

1st Half Takeaways: Mars with 7-1 edge in corners & appox 60/40 edge in possession. Plum spending too much time defending, but they’re hanging in there.

25′ – Coffield from the edge of the six yard box — unmarked!!! — gets a great header chance off another corner but it goes over the bar.

22′ – Plum counters — Killinger gets a shot off from 28 yards out — and it’s deflected — giving way for a corner. Erin Rodgers denies low lining corner to near post — clearing it away.

15′ – GOAL – MARS – Erin Rodgers header.  Mars 1, Plum 0 

Rodgers with the spot on header in the middle of the box. Ellie Coffield’s corner kick connects! Mars leads Plum, 1-0 15′

Preview / Key Storylines 

These two teams have shown the past two seasons that they’re the front-runners in this classification in this district, as they’ll be meeting in the Finals for the second year in a row.

Both come into this match with perfect, unblemished records.

In last year’s final, Mars came out strong, scoring three first half goals en route to a commanding 4-0 win that put a stamp on a perfect season against district competition, and then they would also go on to win the PIAA title in 2019 too.

Strong start fuels Mars girls to its sixth WPIAL title

Guess what?

With many returning players featuring a few NCAA Division I commits back in the fold, Mars are in position repeat this feat again.

Mars roster is loaded with experience and talent, including 2019 Kaitlyn ‘Moe’ Rosensteel Most Outstanding Player honoree Ellie Coffield (Pitt), Gracie Dunaway (Purdue), Corline Wrobleski, Leana Cuzzocera and keeper Courtney Lisman and a cast of others.

Since last year’s perfect run, Mars’ are now on a stretch of 39 games without a loss. Most recently, they’ve smashed the competition through the playoffs thus far, with a ridiculous 25-0 edge.

 

Once again, standing in Mars way to a perfect WPIAL campaign is Plum. Despite an outstanding record the past few years, the only hurdle Plum hasn’t able to clear is beating Mars.

Having last year’s experience to draw upon, they’ll look to make of this opportunity this time around. They featured a solid attacking group that includes Kaitlyn Killinger, Gina Proviano and Jamie Seneca (Gannon) who are capable of coming through with a big moment.  In the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Mustangs scored 10 goals.

After very decisive playoff wins over Gateway and Thomas Jefferson the Mustangs were pushed in a tough challenge from a quality West Allegheny team, but pulled out the 2-1 win in overtime.

Plum also came into last year’s final after surviving a grueling semifinal win vs West Allegheny.

Then, early in the match, they had corner kick opportunity, which they nearly converted.

“That first five to ten minutes, we tried to go hard though, and try to put some early pressure on them,” Plum’s coach James Stewart said after that match. “We got the ball down there, and that would have been great. Could have given us a little more momentum.”

Unable to capitalize on that early chance, Plum then played much of the first half in defensive mode, under pressure from Mars, conceding three goals.

Once again, they’re going to have to capitalize on their chances, probably play a bit more aggressively or meet a similar fate as last year.

 

 

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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