Penn Cambria gets its revenge

EBENSBURG — The third time proved to be the charm last night for the Penn Cambria girls soccer team.

After two close losses to Central Cambria during the regular season, the Panthers notched the most important win of their season last night in Ebensburg. Penn Cambria earned their first girls soccer playoff win in school history on Sydnie Reese’s goal in double overtime to defeat the Red Devils, 1-0.

“Honestly, it was just a press,” Penn Cambria coach Makenzie Walker said. “We had a good press, and we missed an opportunity. We just coming forward and just kept going. We followed through the ball and weren’t giving up. I told the girls that any ball in the box, you put it in the back of the net, and that ‘s exactly what they did.”

Penn Cambria controlled play in the second overtime. It had a long run off the kickoff, and missed an opportunity to score when Reese played the ball across the box. No Lady Panthers player was able to get to Reese’s pass. They kept the pressure on, though. They had two long shots go wide, and another was saved by Lady Devils keeper Trinity Sral.

After failing to connect on a pass earlier in the overtime period, Reese scored the game winner a few minutes later. After a Penn Cambria throw in, a scramble ensued in the box in front of Sral. Both teams battled for possession. The ball came to Reese, and she put the ball past Sral into the left corner of the net for the game winner with 8:36 left in the second overtime.

While Penn Cambria controlled play in the second extra frame, Central Cambria controlled play most of the game. They outshot the Lady Panthers, 15-10, and had seven corner kicks (PC had five). Panthers goalkeeper Maddy Piatek was sharp throughout the game, and especially in the first half. Less than ten minutes into the game Alexis Peterman sent a ball across that box that forced Piatek to make a sliding save.

McKenna Hayward provided most of the pressure on Piatek. She had numerous opportunities and shots on goal in the first half, but could not get a shot behind Piatek. With just under ten minutes left in the half Hayward sent a pass into the box. Piatek made a sliding save in front of a Lady Devils player to keep the game scoreless. Less than two minutes later Mary Beth Woods fired a shot that required a strong save by Piatek.

The best opportunity of the half for the Lady Devils, and the game, came late in the first half. Hayward made a long run and got behind the Penn Cambria defense. Hayward dribbled into the box and fired a high shot on goal.Piatek got her hands up and got just enough of the shot to knock it over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless at halftime.

“We have to put our chances away when we can,” Central Cambria coach Devin Shaner said. “We played them two times. This is the third time we have seen them. We took them the first two, and I knew they would come hungry for this third game. Unfortunately they got us as the end.”

The second half was much like the first half. The Lady Devils had some good opportunities to score, but could not find the back of the net. They had a golden opportunity with 30:42 left in the game. After clearing a Penn Cambria corner kick, Central Cambria had a long run out. Piatek misplayed the ball, leaving it in front of an open net. However, the Lady Panthers cleared the ball before any Lady Devils player was able to get to it.

A few minutes later Central Cambria missed another opportunity. The Lady Devils won a battle for the ball in the box in front of the Penn Cambria goal. Piatek came out to play the ball, but ended up out of position. A Central Cambria shot on goal trickled just wide of the net.

The game remained tied 0-0 after 80 minutes, and a scoreless first overtime period followed. The Panthers finally broke through on Reese’s shot in the second overtime to advance to the girls Class 2A semifinals.

“It’s the first playoff win ever in program history, so it’s huge for our program,” Walter said. “It just shows the dedication these girls have been putting in. We might be underdogs, but we’re not finished yet.”

SCORE BY HALVES

Penn Cambria 0 0 0 1 — 1

Central Cambria 0 0 0 0 — 0

Second overtime: Reese (unassisted), 6:24.

Records: Penn Cambria (11-8); Central Cambria (12-6-1).

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