BG loses game of inches
By Michael Boytim
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic has experienced plenty of success in high school girls soccer over the past half decade but hasn’t been able to get over the hump when it comes to the PIAA playoffs.
Tuesday night at Tiger Stadium, the Lady Marauders came about as close to snapping that streak of bad luck as possible.
With 8:02 left in the second overtime and the score tied at 3-3, Delaney Myrick went high on 5-foot-3 Wilmington goalkeeper Grace McGinnis.
The shot was too far above McGinnis’ outstretched arms for her to do anything about it, but just as a few of Myrick’s teammates raised their arms in celebration, the ball glanced off the crossbar.
Less than two minutes later, it was the Lady Greyhounds celebrating when Mackenzie Smith scored her second goal of the game to end Bishop Guilfoyle’s season, 4-3, in the first round of the state playoffs once again.
“Bishop Guilfoyle is such a strong team,” Wilmington coach Ben Bailey said. “They hit a crossbar, we hit a post. It could have gone either way a couple of times. They played hard. We played hard. There was a lot of effort put into this, and it showed. It was back and forth between offense and defense. Everybody on both sides did a great job.”
The loss was particularly hard on the 10 Lady Marauder seniors who have experienced more success than any BG class before them.
“This has been a great class,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Joe DeLeo said. “It is the most winning class in BG girls soccer history, and these girls made my job easy this year. All 10 of those seniors were there every practice late, and they have been there for the younger kids. As hard as this loss was, I couldn’t be more proud of this senior class.”
One of those seniors, Jordan DeLeo, tried to keep her composure as she limped off the field following the game.
DeLeo opened the scoring 20 minutes into the game when she knocked in a rebound from Myrick’s shot off the post, but with 14:33 to go in the first overtime she took a nasty hit to the knees and briefly came out of the game.
When she returned, she wasn’t close to 100 percent and struggled to get anything going offensively. Before her injury, she nearly won the game with 7:06 and 4:49 to play in regulation with a pair of great looks that McGinnis corralled.
“They were close shots,” DeLeo said. “She’s been injured all year. We’ve been happy to have her as much as we did. She did go down for a little bit in overtime, but she’s been playing through pain all year that I can’t imagine. She’s just so tough.”
As the game wore on, both teams slowed down significantly. Ryley Lewis was able to tie the game at three with 20:02 to play in regulation when her penalty kick slipped right through McGinnis’ hands.
No one scored for almost 45 minutes following Lewis’ goal.
“That was over 100 minutes, and you could tell the fatigue was setting in,” Bailey said. “I think that’s when determination and heart took over. We wanted it. This is only our second time winning a state playoff game, and we were very excited to be here. Their legs were shot, but it was all effort at the end to send us to this win.”
Smith’s game-winning goal capped off what many of the Wilmington players called, “the longest game of their lives.”
Lena Welker and Evi Ciafre also scored for the Lady Greyhounds, and Myrick had a goal off a corner kick from Alana Halinan.
“That’s the way it goes,” Joe DeLeo said. “That’s a good team. We had our opportunities, and I thought we would put one of those in. We had most of the momentum, but at the end of the day we just couldn’t get it to go.
“It was a tough game, and we wish the outcome was different, but hat’s off to Wilmington.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Wilmington 2 1 0 1 — 4
Bishop Guilfoyle 2 1 0 0 – 3
First half: BG-DeLeo (unassisted), 20:00; W-Welker (unassisted), 19:47; BG-Myrick (Halinan), 18:44; W-Smith (unassisted), 10:08.
Second half: W-Ciafre (unassisted), 22:08; BG-Lewis (penalty kick), 20:02.
First overtime: none
Second overtime: W-Smith (unassisted), 6:51.
Records: Wilmington (15-3-1); Bishop Guilfoyle (15-4-1).