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Relentless Moon attack throttles Seneca Valley, 4-0, to capture WPIAL Girls 4A title

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson
WPIAL Girls Soccer 4A Soccer Championship 

Final: Moon 4, Seneca Valley 0  

The Moon Tigers scored early and often, stunning Seneca Valley to win the WPIAL Girls Class 4A soccer title on Thursday night at Highmark Stadium.

The scoring outburst may have surprised their own coach.

“It was phenomenal,” Moon coach Bill Pfeifer said. “We have been having some problems lately with putting the ball in the back of the net. We had been getting a lot of chances, but hadn’t been putting them home.

The Tigers were led by a balanced attack that included goals from Elizabeth Hoff, Lauren Muhanna, Hailey Longwell, along with an own goal which eminated after a Muhanna shot was redirected into goal by a Seneca Valley defender.

In addition, Moon completed its district season allowing just four goals the entire WPIAL season.

With the win, Moon captured its fourth-ever district title in a season when Pfeifer returned to the program where he previously had enormous success from 2001-2017.

It was Moon’s first title in Class 4A.

Ed Thompson Photo Gallery 

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Post Match Reaction 

How It Happened 

Moon didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard when Elizabeth Hoff scored in the 4th minute.

The Tigers established early in the match they would dictate tempo, control possession, carefully playing the ball through the middle to break down a typically well-organized Seneca Valley unit.

Moon’s persistence paid off in the 25th minute, when a fierce shot from Moon forward Lauren Muhanna headed toward the center of goal, but Seneca Valley’s center back Sydney Smith reacted by lifting her leg to block the shot. Instead of getting a clearance, the ball deflected quickly to the right side of goal, giving Seneca’s goalkeeper Mia Humphreys no chance to get close to making a save.

Seneca Valley had a hard time creating scoring opportunities in the final third, mainly because they were chasing much of the match, but finally had a few moments later in the second half.

The Raiders set up a corner in the 32nd minute, which Zoe Simpson sent a terrific bending ball to the middle of the goal box, but despite the ball taking a bounce near the goal line before Moon’s keeper Serayah Leech was able to grab the ball.

Just as Seneca Valley were building confidence and starting to create chances to cut the lead in half, Moon struck again.

This time Muhanna didn’t need any help.

The freshman forward took a touch, looked and quickly realized she had plenty of room to shoot — from 15 yards– bending a shot to the open left side of goal to give the Tigers a commanding 3-0 lead.

Despite Seneca Valley’s Head Coach Mark Perry’s best tactical adjustments at the half, the Raiders couldn’t do much to tilt the match in its favor in the second half.

After Seneca Valley created a few chances in getting forward early in the second half, they couldn’t solve Moon and were constantly chasing the game.

“We wanted to weather the first 10 minutes, but we ended up giving up a bad goal and just kind of fell apart,” Seneca Valley coach Mark Perry said. “Tonight just wasn’t our night. This wasn’t the true Seneca Valley team that played in the first 21 games this season.

Moon found a few more opportunities on the counter, capitalizing on another moment in the second half to put the game away for good.

That moment came in the 52nd minute, on a corner kick.

Moon’s Hailey Longwell won a battle in the center of the goal box as Seneca’s defenders were outnumbered, to poke the ball over the goal line to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.

From that point, Moon put the clamps on, as Leech earned another playoff clean sheet.

Moon will open the PIAA tournament Tuesday against the fourth-place team from District 3. Seneca Valley plays the winner of Saturday’s McDowell/Altoona subregional match.

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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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