Lady Tigers win soccer semi over Lady Lions
HOLLIDAYSBURG – Peyton Civils has been here before, but she’s hoping for a different result with a different venue this time.
Civils was in goal Tuesday when the Hollidaysburg Lady Tigers beat Altoona, 2-0, at Tiger Stadium in the semifinals of the District 6 Class AAA girls soccer tournament.
Civils and the Lady Tigers advanced to the finals for the third time in four years and will face a familiar foe, State College, which reached the title tilt again with a 1-0 semifinal win over Central Mountain.
Thursday’s championship game will be played at Mansion Park, and that’s fine with Civils, a four-year starter who came up on the short end against SC in two previous district championship games.
State beat Hollidaysburg, 2-0, last year and also beat the Tigers during Civils’ freshman season.
“This will be my third try,” Civils said, smiling.
“This year’s team has been great,” she said. “We’ve been working really well together, and I think we have a really good shot [to win] this year.
“Hopefully, the game will be at Mansion Park,” she said. “I don’t want to travel up there [State College].”
Hollidaysburg and Altoona split a pair of regular-season games, the Tigers winning 1-0 in Altoona and the Lady Lions prevailing 2-1 in Hollidaysburg. Both squads had scoring opportunities last night, but only the Tigers were able to finish.
Anne Mielnik got the Tigers on the scoreboard with 15:56 left in the first half. The Tigers took control of an Altoona goal kick, rushed the net and Mielnik buried a shot past keeper Molly Malone.
It was 1-0 until the closing seconds of the game when the Tigers stormed the net and Ariana Kriebel pushed a rebound into the goal with only 18 seconds left.
“The game went back and forth all night,” Hollidaysburg coach Dave Soellner said. “We’d control it for a little bit and then they’d control it for a little bit.
“We were fortunate to get a goal early and keep them on their toes and then we were able to get one at the end.”
Both goal scorers are seniors and Soellner said they’ve been part of a senior class that has provided strong leadership this season.
“We have seven seniors who have been here four years and it’s nice to have that kind of leadership,” Soellner said.
First-year Altoona coach Tony Lang was disappointed with the loss, but praised the effort of his young team.
“Usually when we play them, it’s who is going faster,” Lang said of the back-and-forth play.
“We were getting shot, shot, shot and then they were getting shots,” Lang noted, “but nothing found the net for us.”
The Lady Lions had a shot go off the post with about 10 minutes left in the first half and missed an opportunity four minutes later when Kierra Irwin took Selena Cardoza’s corner kick and headed it toward the goal where Civils was in perfect position to make the stop.
“Kierra [Irwin] is an amazing player,” Civils said of the Altoona sophomore. “This is always a huge rivalry and we both worked hard today.”
“She [Irwin] had that header, but the keeper was right where she needed to be,” Lang said. “We also had that penalty kick off the pole … we had so many shots. We just weren’t quite where we needed to be.
“Some games the ball bounces your way, some games it doesn’t.”
The Lions finished 7-9-2.
“It was a good year, the girls played really hard,” Lang said. “We won some games that some people thought we wouldn’t and tied a couple we could have lost.
“We’re graduating six people, including a very well-trained keeper [Alexis Mirenda], who got hurt early tonight,” he said. “We have a young team with a lot of freshmen, have some good people coming up and, hopefully, we can keep moving forward.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Altoona0 0 – 0
Hollidaysburg 1 1 – 2
First Half: H-Mielnik, 15:56.
Second Half: H-Kriebel, 0:18.
Records: Altoona (7-9-2); Hollidaysburg (15-4).