Top-seeded Somerset ends Eagles’ year
SOMERSET – Somerset opened the first round of the District 6 girls Class AA soccer playoffs with a commanding 7-0 win over Tyrone Thursday.
Top-seeded Somerset grabbed a 1-0 lead less than 6 minutes into the game when Olivia VanDeusen knocked in a cross from Lexy Pucci.
Somerset added to the lead with 28:51 remaining in the first. Pucci worked the ball between two defenders and booted a shot from 20 yards out that went past goalie Alayna Roberts.
Somerset (17-2) dominated play in the first. It allowed eighth-seeded Tyrone to cross the 50 of the football field just a handful of times, with one shot allowed.
“The girls came out fired up,” Somerset coach Renee Ross said. “We were ready to play. They knew it was win or go home, so we were ready. There’s some pressure as the top seed and we don’t want to take anyone lightly. We have to be ready for every game and every round. These girls are playing their hearts out and I hope they keep it up.”
Somerset’s Maddie McKinley opened the second half scoring with 33:35 remaining on a one-time shot from a high-arching cross from Samantha Thompson. Somerset led 3-0.
Brandi Dickey scored back-to-back goals 42 seconds apart to extend the Somerset lead to 5-0. The first goal came off a rebound of a McKinley shot that hit the crossbar and bounced around the goal box before Dickey ran it into the goal. The second goal was tapped home in front of a diving Roberts.
Pucci’s second goal of the game made it 6-0 with 18:28 left in the game. Her left-footed shot bounced off of Roberts’ arm and squeezed in between her and the post.
Somerset’s Van Deusen capped the scoring with her second goal of the game with 13:10 remaining.
Roberts finished with 13 saves. Shania Steinkirchner made two saves for Somerset.
“We told the girls we could take away the fear factor coming into the game because as the eighth seed we had nothing to lose,” head coach Bruce Makin said. “We played more defensive minded, but our inexperience in the playoffs came through. As soon as we figured out where a lot of their ball would be played to, we adjusted. Their number 5 [Pucci] is a fantastic player. She is dynamite for that Somerset team.
“It was disappointing to lose. We just conceded too many goals.
“I was disappointed with Somerset’s coach because when it was 5-0 I told her I was conceding the game and subbed my entire bench in. She refused to listen and run up the score.”
When asked about Makin saying she was unsportsmanlike, Ross said, “I was subbing just as much as he was. I can’t tell my girls not to go out and play when they are preparing for the next playoff game.”
Somerset will face Bellefonte on Tuesday. Ross said the two teams have never played before.
“We are going to have to play a different level of game,” she stated. “They are a physical and reputable opponent. It’s going to be a different story from this game. It’s going to be back and forth contest. I think it’s going to be a really good game.
Tyrone finished the season with an 11-9 record. Five seniors are lost to graduation. One was out injured for Thursday’s game, two others were starters and two were regulars off the bench.
“Expectations are good for next year,” Makin said. “We will have a full year to work on our play. I was named coach a week before practice began, so we have a lot to work on in the offseason. When you play a team the caliber of Somerset, they expose a lot of your weaknesses. We know what we need to work on.”
SCORE BY HALVES
First half: S-VanDeusen (Pucci), 35:39; Pucci (Marteeny), 34:24.
Second half: S-McKinley (Thompson), 33:35; Dickey (unassisted), 26:05; Dickey (Marteeny), 25:23; Pucci (Marteeny), 18:28; VanDeusen (Sembower), 13:10.