Lady Bisons moving on
By Michael Boytim
WINDBER — The Bedford girls soccer team seemed to be in complete control of Tuesday’s PIAA Class 2A first-round game against Hopewell through one half.
Then the Lady Vikings’ Raychel Speicher got to a loose ball and fired it past Bedford goalie Lindsay Mowry to cut the Lady Bisons’ lead in half.
About four minutes later, Speicher tied it. At least in the eyes of Hopewell coach Bill Pfeifer.
As it turned out, Speicher’s shot into the left corner of the net was ruled not to have gone completely across the line before bouncing out. A few minutes later, Bedford’s Jenna Brown scored her second goal of the night, and the Lady Bisons cruised to a 4-2 victory.
“I don’t know how three officials miss that,” Pfeifer said. “The guy on our side is saying he’s screened by the keeper. The official in the middle is 75 yards away, and the bozo on the far side is 85 yards away.
“It hit the bar on the inside. The keeper knew it was in. You could tell by her reaction. She had stopped playing, because she knew it was in. She saw it. This guy is telling us he didn’t see it. What can you do? I think it took the wind out of our sails a little bit.”
The close call gave Bedford a jolt and led to an unconventional goal.
“It got to us a little bit, and we knew their momentum was going to pick up,” Brown said. “We knew we needed to go and get one more, and we just kept going from there.”
Amber Thomas, who usually patrols the center of the field, ran to the sideline and quickly threw an out-of-bounds ball in. It caught Hopewell off guard, and Brown drilled the ball over the head of keeper Katelyn Ramaley.
“It was so unexpected, because Amber doesn’t usually take the throws,” Brown said. “I just kind of flicked it off my foot, and it went right over the keeper’s head. It was crazy.”
Bedford coach Jeff Thomas said it was a calculated risk by his daughter.
“She was trying to get a quick counter,” Jeff Thomas said. “That’s probably why she picked it up and threw it in so quick. It paid off. A lot of times, we tell the center-mids not to throw the ball in, because the next thing you know the center is wide open. So that’s one of the reasons she normally wouldn’t throw.”
Amber Thomas put the game away with eight minutes to play when she made it 4-1, but Pfeifer was still wondering what could have been after the game.
“The ball that goes in the net that they take away was a game changer,” Pfeifer said. “Then a couple minutes later, they make it 3-1 when it should have been 2-2.
“From 2-2, do we come back and win? I don’t know. They may have put five balls in the back of the net, but they took that away from the kids. They have worked hard all year, and for three officials to not be able to keep up with the play or see that is a disservice to both teams.”
Bedford took a 2-0 lead into the half thanks to first-half goals by Kiley Horne and Brown. Hopewell nearly scored on a corner kick midway through the half, but Mowry made a save before another shot went off the post.
Following Brown’s second goal that made it 3-1, Mowry made a diving save on another shot by Speicher and then stopped her again with 10:05 left on a breakaway.
Hopewell’s Catie Callen scored with 5:54 left, but Mowry stopped Speicher again with 2:30 remaining to make sure the Lady Vikings got no closer.
“Our defense has been strong the last three years,” Jeff Thomas said. “We don’t give up many goals, and they really stepped up tonight. We knew we were going to have our hands full with (Speicher) and (Cristy Senskey).”
The Lady Bisons weren’t happy with how they played in a 2-1 victory over Somerset in the District 5-6 Class 2A title game on Windber’s artificial turf.
Knowing they’d be returning to Windber Tuesday, they came prepared.
“For the past week or so, we’ve been practicing on turf and getting touches in,” Brown said. “It’s helped us so much as a team. It’s a totally different game playing on turf, a lot faster, but I like it more.”
Bedford will take on District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep, a 2-1 overtime winner over Avonworth Tuesday, on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
“It’s amazing, I knew we were going to come out strong, and when we got that early goal, I knew we were going to have a great night,” Brown said.
SCORE BY HALVES
Hopewell 0 2 — 2
Bedford 2 2 — 4
First half: B–Horne (Je. Brown), 36:50; B–Je. Brown (Thomas), 1:39.
Second half: H–Speicher (unassisted), 37:41; B–Je. Brown (Thomas), 23:00; B–Thomas (unassisted), 8:00; H–Callen (unassisted), 5:54.
Records: Hopewell (16-2-1); Bedford (19-0).