Bedford girls continue their impressive season
By John Hartsock
BEDFORD — The unbeaten Bedford Area High School girls soccer team will return to the District 6 Class 2A championship game Thursday and attempt to defend the title it won there last season.
Bedford coach Jeff Thomas maintains that it is an honor that is well-deserved.
“It feels pretty good,” said Thomas, after watching his top-seeded team improve to 19-0 by using a strong second half to down county rival Everett, 6-2 in a semifinal-round game played Monday night on the Bedford Area High School soccer field. “These kids have worked really hard since last year. They’ve put their time in, I’ll tell you. They’ve been working at it.”
Bedford will meet second-seeded Central in the district championship game Thursday night at 7:30 at Mansion Park.
Bedford controlled the second half of Monday’s game, outscoring Everett, 5-1 to break a 1-1 tie while fashioning a 13-2 edge in shots-on-goal over the final 40 minutes.
On a windy night in which the footing was made dicey from Sunday’s all-day rain, Bedford took awhile to get untracked.
“In the second half, it seemed like we had a little better luck,” Thomas said. “The wind kind of died down, too. From now on, we’ll be on (artificial) turf, and things will be fair on both sides of the field.”
Amber Thomas, Bedford’s standout junior forward, scored three goals and assisted on two others for the Lady Bisons.
She got the go-ahead goal 9:39 into the second half, weaving down the right side of the field with an Everett defender in close pursuit and booting a shot along the ground and into the left corner of the cage behind Everett sophomore goalkeeper Emily O’Brien to give Bedford the lead for good, 2-1.
“I was drawing defenders toward the middle of the field to create an open lane on the goal,” Amber Thomas said. “I had an open lane to the near-side corner of the net.”
Senior Emily Martz, who also handles placekicking duties for Bedford’s varsity football team, put Bedford ahead, 3-1 less than four minutes later when she converted an assist from senior Allison Pittman.
After a scramble in front of the Everett cage resulted in a penalty-kick infraction against the Lady Warriors, Thomas booted the penalty kick past O’Brien at the 20:33 mark to give Bedford a 4-1 lead.
Thomas scored her third goal of the game after taking an assist from junior Jenna Brown at the 26:21 mark to make it 5-1, and the teams both scored a goal apiece before the end of the game to set the 6-2 final.
Everett senior defenseman Brittany Ewing tallied an unassisted goal at 34:05, and Bedford sophomore Kiley Horne scored off a Thomas assist with 4:04 left in the game.
Everett coach Rom Kalinauskas watched his fifth-seeded team close the books on a 13-6-1 season.
“In the first half, we played a great game,” Kalinauskas said. “In the second half, I think we ran out of gas. Their ball work and passing paid off for them.”
Everett actually got the first goal of the game when sophomore forward Kaitlyn Maxwell scored a breakaway goal 4:42 into the first half.
Bedford tied the score, 1-1 at 25:39 of the first half when senior Megan Oyler scored with an assist from Amber Thomas.
Now it’s on to Mansion Park for the district championship game Thursday.
“Last year was the first time that a Bedford girls soccer team ever won districts,” Amber Thomas said. “We’re just trying to leave our mark while we can.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Everett 1 1 — 2
Bedford 1 5 — 6
First half: 1, E–Maxwell (Seville), 4:42. 2, B–Oyler (Thomas), 25:39.
Second half: 3, B–Thomas (Pittman), 9:39. 4, B–Martz (Pittman), 13:14. 5, B–Thomas (penalty kick), 20:33. 6, B–Thomas (Brown), 26:21. 7, E–Ewing (unassisted), 34:05. 8, B–Horne (Thomas), 35:56.
Shots on goal: Everett 4 (Bedford’s Lindsay Mowry made two saves); Bedford 17 (Everett’s Emily O’Brien made 11 saves).
Records: Everett (13-6-1); Bedford (19-0).