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Connellsville blanks Belle Vernon, 1-0, to take upper hand in section race

Photo courtesy Ed Rosensteel

In the first match between WPIAL Class 3A Section rivals, Connellsville got the upper hand on Belle Vernon with a 1-0 victory at James Weir Stadium on Tuesday evening.

With the win, Connellsville improves to 3-1-1 overall, but 3-0-0 in section games, while Belle Vernon drops to 1-2-0 in section (3-2-1 overall).


This was a match up between the defending section champs Connellsville and the runner up in the section Belle Vernon square off tonight in a pivotal game that can easily give the winner the upper hand in the race to a section title.

The Belle Vernon Leopards came out looking to control the possession and find the lanes in on goal. Morgan Einodshofer had the best chance in the early on taking a cross and just pushing it over the bar with her chest. 

Both Neveah Hambrosky and Mary Kate Lape had free kicks from within range but were unable to convert.

With 3:02 left in the first half, Jocelyn Gratchic made it 1-0 in favor of Connellsville off a free kick that was awarded after a questionable call on the edge of the 18. Gratchic took advantage and hit a well-placed ball into the upper right of the net.

The match would go into halftime 1-0 in favor of Connellsville.

The 2nd half saw Belle Vernon control the possession of the game but also find themselves on the on the wrong side of the foul calls. The foul calls were pretty lopsided in Connellsville favor. 

Belle Vernon finally got one in their favor with just over 13 minutes left in the game to the side of the penalty box but the attempt would find the hands of the Falcons goal keeper Brianna Soltis.

Belle Vernon tried to will itself a goal but were unable to find the equalizer to tie the game and force overtime.

Connellsville gets the upper hand in the first meeting and will wait to see the Leopards at home later in the season.


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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