BG girls enjoy more success

Soccer commentary

After working through its toughest regular season in four years, the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School girls soccer squad pulled its experienced team together at playoff time to win a third District 6 Class 1A title.

The Marauders, who started nine seniors, jumped on long-time Laurel Highlands Conference foe Bishop McCort, 4-0, in the title game. This is evidence of the growth and maturity of the team as it squeaked by McCort in the season opener, 3-2. Just as head coach Joe DeLeo had predicted before the season, the team was challenged much harder this year as a result of losing the PIAA’s all-time leading scorer, Alyssa McGhee, to graduation.

The Lady Marauders did not enjoy those five- or six-goal cushions in games, as in past years, and were not able to wrestle the LHAC title away from Bedford. But in the end, the nine senior seniors, many in starting roles for the past three years, laid claim to the D6 title for the third consecutive year.

Devyn Yingling, daughter of assistant coach and former standout Altoona goalkeeper Herk Yingling, was like a wall in goal in the finals, denying anything put near her. She has dominated the net as the starting keeper for all of BG’s district championships. Seniors Jordan DeLeo and Delaney Myrick, along with help from Maggie Nosek, provided the scoring spark for the Marauders. This was a special yet sad time for the seniors on the squad. Most had played together since the age of 6 and worked incredibly well together. With only two starters returning, Coach DeLeo will have his hands full preparing for the 2017 season.

Hollidaysburg benefits

The reworking of the classifications in the PIAA definitely was a positive factor for the Hollidaysburg boys and girls teams. By separating the 3A and 4A district titles for the first time, Altoona and State College, long-time playoff foes of the Golden Tigers, were teams they did not have to deal with in the playoffs this year.

The girls squad was not to be denied of its 3A District 6 championship this year. Scoring was slow to come, but Hollidaysburg was perseverant and scored late in the first half and tacked on another second-half goal to shut out Huntingdon, 2-0, in the title game. The Lady Tigers had knocked on the door of the championship frequently in the past decade only to be turned away, but they were not to be denied as they stormed to their first D6 championship since 2007.

Coach Craig Shale’s Hollidaysburg boys also kept their eye on the prize as their senior-heavy team played a complete game with an especially strong second half to shut out Bellefonte, 3-0, to grab its first district title since 2010. The nine seniors on the squad have played together for a decade, and after being denied in the finals last year, gained sweet redemption with the championship this year.

Altoona teams fall short

After the Altoona boys team had shut out St. College, 1-0, in the regular season, for the first time since 2007, it had high hopes for the district championship. First-year head coach Dave McCarter felt this win helped the Lions overcome a huge mental hurdle with State College, which has dominated District 6 4A play for decades, but the very tough conference schedule played by the Little Lions is a huge help in preparation at playoff time. That proved to be the case as the five-time defending champion Little Lions shut out the Mountain Lions in the title tilt, 6-0.

The Altoona girls team knew it faced a stiff foe in State College, and Altoona went into a defensive mode to try to control State’s scoring opportunities in the District 6 4A title match. The Lady Little Lions had their defensive line playing very high, and Altoona coach Derek Winterburn was hoping Altoona could put a ball over top of them and have a run on goal. The Lady Little Lions were patient, however, and made the most of their scoring opportunities, shutting out Altoona, 2-0. The win gave State College its 10th District 6 championship.

Bedford prevails

The much anticipated matchup between the undefeated Bedford Lady Bisons and the defending District 6 2A champion, Central, never came to pass. Central, after racing out to a 2-0 lead, dropped its semifinal game to Juniata, 3-2.

The title game between LHAC champion Bedford and Juniata was extremely tight with the difference coming on a goal from Bedford defender Emily Martz, who launched a shot from beyond midfield to start the second half, that bounced over the head of Juniata goalkeeper Mahala Laub. This was a one-time shot, more than 50 yards that would have made any highlight reel. It swung the momentum over to Bedford, which held Juniata scoreless the remainder of the game in capturing the District 6 2A crown, 3-2.

Tom Schmitt writes a monthly soccer column for the Mirror.