The unseasonably warm weather for early fall seemed to get its cue that it was time to come to an end with the harvest moon arriving and WPIAL soccer playoffs starting this weekend.
The cool crisp air of a Saturday morning ushered in the start to the Class 1A girls playoffs as 8-seeded Riverside outlasted Winchester Thurston in a high-scoring affair, 8-4 at Jimbo Covert Field , in Freedom, PA.
Leading the way for Riverside were Emma Thelman and Megan Zelch, who each had a hat trick.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Typically, in the playoffs especially the opening rounds, teams take the time to feel each other out.
Riverside and Winchester Thurston got through that real quick.
Only 10:37 into the first half, Winchester Thurston opened up the scoring on a goal from Margherita Memoli making it 1-0.
A mere forty seconds later, Riverside found the equalizer from Emma Thelman, who struck again in under a minute from her first goal to make it 2-1.
Lexi Fluharty would make it 3-1 Riverside as she gathered a rebound from the crossbar and found the empty net.
To keep this pace going, Winchester Thurston found a goal back after an illegal touching call in the box from about 12 yards from goal. After the touch Margee Dever guided her shot home to make it 3-2 with just over 16 minutes left in the half.
Just for good measure, with four minutes remaining in the half, Riverside would find the goal for the fourth time when Megan Zelch buried a shot to double the lead.
Holding a 4-2 advantage at the half, Riverside would come out looking to put the game away early.
Britteny Boring started the second half for Riverside with a great diagonal through ball for Lexi Fluharty who was alone with the Winchester Thurston keeper Maeve Dever, who came up with a big save but couldn’t corral the ball, allowing for Megan Zelch to gather the rebound and score her second goal of the game.
Riverside continued its second half scoring surge when Emma Thelman secured a hat trick on a cross from from Lexi Fluharty and then Zelch would blast a shot between two defenders in the back of the net for a hat trick and a 7-2 lead.
Winchester Thurston’s Sasha Likhachev would get her first goal of the game making it 7-3, but Riverside responded again when Lexi Fluharty would get the goal right back for Riverside’s eight tally.
To round off the scoring, Jenis Yava added a goal for Winchester Thurston, who made its first-ever appearance in the WPIAL girls soccer playoffs.
Riverside will take on the #1 seed Greensburg Central Catholic Wednesday at a site TBD.