Undefeated Bedford advances to semis

By Dave Mackall

For the Mirror

GREENSBURG — Two high-scoring teams, Bedford and Waynesburg Central, waged a defensive battle in the PIAA Class 2A girls soccer playoffs on Saturday at Hempfield High School.

It took just one goal to determine a winner, the second consecutive time that Bedford has eeked out a victory to remain alive for a state title.

Sophomore Taylor Downs found the back of the net early, scoring the game’s only goal in the seventh minute, and freshman goalkeeper Lindsay Mowry, with the aid of a brief relief appearance by sophomore Kiley Horne following an injury timeout, made it stand in a 1-0 quarterfinals-round victory over Waynesburg Central.

The Bison (23-0) advance to the semifinals on Tuesday against District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep.

District 5 champion Bedford reached the quarterfinals by outlasting District 3 runner-up Schuylkill Valley, 1-0, last Tuesday.

“We score a lot of goals during the season, but I know that when you get to this level, this is the way it usually seems like it ends up,” Bedford coach Jeff Thomas said. “Our defense never quit.”

During either game.

On Saturday, with WPIAL champion Waynesburg Central (20-2) applying constant pressure, Bedford didn’t break on a PIAA playoffs stage for a second time in a row.

“We normally can get at least one (goal),” Waynesburg Central coach Joe Kijowski said. “They’re a very skilled team. I knew they were a possession team, for sure, and they did that today. They did a nice job.”

Downs’ game-deciding goal for Bedford came at 32:03 of the first half, when she took a pass from Horne, playing in her regular position at defender, and beat Waynesburg Central freshman goalkeeper Mckenzie Booth.

After that, it became a long, defensive struggle, with both teams misfiring on several strong scoring opportunities.

Bedford wasted its best chance to add to its lead in the second half, when junior Amber Thomas’ penalty kick sailed above the net with 8:46 to go.

There was yet another notable moment, where senior Allison Pittman couldn’t convert for the Bison in the final minute after losing control of a pass in front of Booth.

In the first half, Mowry stopped Waynesburg Central sophomore Jillian Kijowski’s point-blank shot at the 21:30 mark. The Red Raiders were averaging 5.5 goals in four postseason games, including three in the WPIAL playoffs.

When a desperation midfield shot by Kijowski’s sister, freshman Reah Kijowski, who scored three goals in a 6-0 first-round victory over District 10 Harbor Creek, trickled harmlessly towards the net as time expired, Bedford’s players celebrated.

“We like to play a little more offense, but we ended up playing a lot of defense,” Thomas, the Bedford coach, said. “We just kept playing ball out front. If nothing else, deflect the ball off the other team, whatever they could do to keep it out of their end.

“They did what they had to do to shut them down. We just wouldn’t give them any space back there.”

SCORE BY HALVES

Bedford 1 0–1

Waynesburg Central 0 0–0

First half: B–Taylor Downs (Kiley Horne), 32:03.

Second half: No scoring.

Records: Bedford (23-0); Waynesburg Central (20-2).

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