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Freshman Fiona Mahan’s OT strike lifts Avonworth to first-ever WPIAL girls soccer title

WPIAL Girls Soccer Class 2A Final

FINAL: Avonworth 2, North Catholic 1

It took extra time, but the Avonworth girls soccer team won its first-ever WPIAL Girls Soccer title against section rival, North Catholic, 2-1, at Highmark Stadium on Saturday.

Fiona Mahan scored the game-winner in the 101st minute of the match, sailing a shot from 30 yards past the outstretch arms of North Catholic’s goalkeeper Rilee Kumar.

“I knew I had space throughout the game,” Mahan said. “I had taken so many shots, that if I took one more, it would go in. I hit it hard enough. I knew it would go in.”

Mia Burens scored the match’s opening goal for the Antelopes in the 25th minute, while Lauren McDonald leveled the match only two minutes later.

“It was probably the two best teams in the state (in Girls 2A),” Avonworth Head Coach J.C. Mahan said. “It was back-and-forth all game. We had our opportunities. (Some shots) were a little bit high. But, we got that one at the end. It was fantastic. We worked hard. We built the whole season building love and trust and we just went out there and played for each other, and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”

This result denied North Catholic a chance to be the first team since Mars to win three straight WPIAL soccer titles.

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Post Match Reaction

How It Happened (match detail report)

First half, both teams traded advances into the final third, but Avonworth capitalized first with a terrific build-up through the middle of the field in the 23rd minute.

Controlling the middle of the field, the Antelopes’ Minah Syam played a well-placed through ball behind the last North Catholic defender on the right side for Ava Wert.

After taking a touch, Wert delivered a cross to the center of the goal for Mia Burens, who redirected it into goal to give Avonworth a 1-0 lead.

Trailing for the first time in nearly 200 minutes of WPIAL finals matches since 2019, North Catholic responded immediately.

Taking a touch after a long, direct pass, North Catholic’s Lauren MacDonald got a step ahead of the closest defender, then blasted a shot from the top of the box.

Both teams battled hard, with the match tiltling slightly in Avonworth’s advantage in the second half.

The closest either team came was when Burens almost completed a brace, but NC goalie Rylee Kumer lunged to her left to make a dazzling save.

The match extended into extra time, with Avonworth carrying more possession, but North Catholic advancing a few time deep into the final third.

At the outset of the second overtime period, Mahan found some room to manuever on the right side of the midfield to move into the final third, when she noticed Kumar off her line.

The freshman midfielder then sent a lofting shot that sailed over the keeper but just under the bar to give the ‘Lopes a golden goal.

Look for more from this match later here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now

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).

Glory on the Grass

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