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PIAA Girls Soccer Semifinal Round Scoreboard: Moon, Mars, Avonworth and GCC headed to Hershey

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson

PIAA Girls Soccer Semifinal Round Scoreboard: Moon, Mars, Avonworth and GCC headed to Hershey

PIAA Girls Soccer Semifinal Round

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Class 4A
Final: Moon 2, Central Dauphin 1
Class 3A
 FINAL: Mars 1, Plum 0
Class 2A
FINAL:  Avonworth 3, North Catholic 0
Class 1A
FINAL: Greensburg Central Catholic 2, Steel Valley 1

Resources:  PIAA Soccer History 

Match Night Updates

Previews / Key Storylines 

Three of the four girls classifications in the PIAA soccer playoffs will have WPIAL-vs-WPIAL showdowns in the semifinal round to decide who will move on to play for a state championship in Hershey this coming weekend.

Of these match-ups, all three are rematches of the WPIAL finals played at Highmark Stadium on November 4-6, while Moon faces a tough test in Class 4A when meeting Central Dauphin in Holidaysburg.

Below we take a closer look at each match.


Class 4A 

Moon vs Central Dauphin – at Holidaysburg (6 p.m.)

winner faces Downingtown East-Conestoga winner in PIAA 4A Final 

Moon is looking to return to the State title game for the first time since 2017, when they won back-to-back titles in Class 3A.

While the Tigers exploded for an impressive 4-0 win in the WPIAL final against Seneca Valley, much of the postseason has provided for tightly contested matches including in the first two rounds of the PIAA playoffs.

It was a set piece goal from Kayla Leseck which pushed Moon into the State Semfinal in its 1-0 win in the quarterfinal round on Saturday against Owen J. Roberts.

“I was really pleased with the composure of the kids,” Moon’s Bill Pfeifer said after the match.

Once again leading the way for the Tigers were senior left wing Lizzie Hoff along with the midfield that includes Leseck, Hailey Longwell and Eva Molnar, brought a hard-pressing, physical approach.

One of the constants for Moon through the postseason has been its stingy defense, as they’ve yet to allow a goal in the postseason, with keeper Serayah Leech posting 16 clean sheets this season (five in the postseason) and allowing just three goals — all season.

The Tigers (18-1-1) will face a huge challenge against Central Dauphin (23-0), who defeated McDowell, 1-0, thanks to a very late penalty kick conversion from Alex Murphy in regulation.

How they got here (in PIAA playoffs) 

  • Moon: Ehprata, 1-0; def OJR, 1-0
  • CD: def CB East, 1-0; def McDowell, 1-0

Class 3A

Plum vs Mars – at Shaler Titans Stadium (6 p.m.)

winner faces Radnor-Archbishop Ryan winner in PIAA 3A Final on Saturday, at 4 p.m. 

Last Meeting: WPIAL Final – Rule of Three: Mars girls top Plum yet again to win third straight WPIAL title

Let’s keep that Whitesnake hit song going…

Here we go again….

Plum and Mars have met three times in the WPIAL finals in the past three years, and now they’ll meet for the third time in the last four years in the PIAA state playoffs.

The Fighting Planets have come out on top in every one of these matches with Plum, and if they do it one more time, they’ll make their third straight appearance in the Girls 3A PIAA Finals.

Led by Kaitlyn Killinger, Plum have been one of the best teams not only in the WPIAL but once again in all of Pennsylvania girls high school soccer.

Both coaches acknowledged that both teams have changed their approach and tactics this season, but continue to be effective.  Mars controlled the previous match by coming out with an attack-minded approach, and it paid off with an early Piper Coffield goal.

Even as they tacked on another late first half tally, Killinger and Plum found a crack in the Mars defense, scoring on a second effort goal that was the first and only tally surrendered by Mars in the WPIAL playoffs since 2018.

Sure enough, the Fighting Planets were determined to lock things up from that point.

“We reorganized and tried to do everything perfect out of the back,” Coffield explained. “We didn’t make any silly mistakes in the back.”

Plum brought numbers forward in the late stages, but to no avail.

In the State Playoffs, Mars hasn’t been able to turn up the scoring at the same rate as past teams, winning by 2-0 and 1-0 margins to get to this point, but they’re still not going to give away much.

Plum had to go on the road, by virtue of its WPIAL runner-up status, and still beat District 6 champion Hollidaysburg on Nov. 9 and beat District 3 champion Mechanicsburg, 2-1 on Saturday.

“To be one of the final four out of all the (Class 3A) teams in the state is surreal,” Plum’s coach Bill Stewart told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  “Certainly coming out of the WPIAL title game, the girls were hoping down the line they would get this rematch,” Stewart said. “Now that it is here, we want to go in and play a little better than we did in the WPIAL final. But it, obviously, will be a great challenge. They are always very disciplined, especially defensively. You don’t get many chances, so you have to make them count. On offense, they are super good in the air on corner kicks and on crosses. They can execute so many things.”

How they got here (PIAA State Playoffs) 

  • Mars: def Red Land, 2-0, def Montour, 1-0
  • Plum: def Holidaysburg, 3-1; def Mechanicsburg, 2-1

Class 2A

Avonworth vs North Catholic – at North Hills (6 p.m.)

winner faces Allentown Central Catholic-Central Columbia winner in PIAA 2A Final on Friday, at 11 a.m. 

Last Meeting: Avonworth wins first-ever WPIAL title as Fiona Mahan’s OT strike is the difference

Chances are when these two girls soccer teams take the field, it’s going to be a close, tightly contested match. The section rivals will meet for the fourth time this season and for the seventh time in the past two seasons in the semifinal round on Tuesday.

In the last meeting at Highmark Stadium, the sides exchanged first half goals, but then neither side could break through in a back-and-forth second half filled with missed opportunities.

Eventually Fiona Mahan decided to give it a try from about 30 yards out in the run of play.

To Mahan’s, and her teammates’ delight, her shot barely made its way over North Catholic’s Rilee Kumar’s fingertips and landing inside the right corner of the goal.

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“It was probably the two best teams in the state (in Girls 2A),” Avonworth Head Coach J.C. Mahan said after the WPIAL title win.

Now, the winner will have a chance to win an elusive first-ever State title.

How they got here (in PIAA playoffs)

  • Avonworth: def Fort Lebouef, 4-0; def Trinity (Camp Hill), 2-0
  • North Catholic: def Karns City, 2-1; def Villa Marie, 3-0

Class 1A

Greensburg Central Catholic vs Steel Valley – at Elizabeth Forward (7 p.m.)

winner faces South Williamsport-Southern Columbia winner in PIAA 1A Final on Saturday at 11 a.m. 

The Steel Valley girls soccer program had never won a WPIAL title.

Now, they’re one game away from its first-ever appearance in the State finals in Hershey.

Standing in their way is a girls soccer program that knows a little something about winning District titles and playing in Hershey: Greensburg Central Catholic.

The Centurians had to face another difficult test, beating Freedom for the third time this season on Saturday to advance to the final.

In the WPIAL final, Steel Valley needed to fight back from a 1-0 deficit, and did so with a late second half goal from Soraya Gibbs, then had the game winner in the first overtime from Therese Doering a freshman midfielder. The goals were assisted by Kelsey Salopek, who’s been the team’s leading scorer, with more than 100 goals the past four years, and sister Kylie Salopek.

The Ironman turned up its attack in the first two round of the PIAA playoffs, outscoring Northern Bedford and West Branch by a combined 11-1 scoreline.

The Centurians have survived and advancesd through the PIAA playoffs thus far, beating Mercer, 3-2, then edging WPIAL foe Freedom, 1-0.

Now a rematch awaits.

“Both teams gave everything they had. It was a really close game,” Hope Creamer, Greensburg Central Catholic’s assistant coach, who was filling in for head coach Olivia Kruger, who gave birth earlier in the day of the WPIAL Final to a newborn son.

“Our girls were focused and wanted it really bad. We’ll remember how this feels and want to keep winning. We have a lot of seniors that don’t want to stop playing.”

One of these teams will make its way to its final destination, in Hershey, with a win on Tuesday.

How they got here (in PIAA playoffs)

  • GCC: def Mercer, 3-2; def Freedom, 1-0
  • Steel Valley: def Northern Bedford, 6-1; West Branch 5-0

Girls Brackets 

PIAA Girls Soccer Championship Games

Friday, November 19, 2021 – Hersheypark Stadium 

Class 2A 11 a.m.

Class 4A 4 p.m. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021 – Hersheypark Stadium 

Class 1A 11:00 a.m. 

Class 3A 4 p.m. 

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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