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Taracatac, Mowry clutch for Lady Bisons

SOMERSET — Bedford’s goal differential against its girls soccer opponents was out of sight before the defending PIAA-champion Bison entered into the 2019 Class 2A playoffs on Tuesday.

Like 145-4 out of sight.

Despite all those lopsided shutouts — Bedford blanked 16 of 19 foes with just a 0-0 tie against Class 4A Altoona scuffing its undefeated record — the Bisons ran up against a South Park buzzsaw for a second consecutive year and managed to survive.

“It’s not always the way you draw it up,” Bedford coach Jeff Thomas said moments after sophomore Sydney Taracatac scored on a long-range shot from the right hash mark with 4 minutes, 6 seconds left in the second overtime to lift the Bison to a 1-0 victory over South Park in a rematch of their 2018 semifinals marathon with the Eagles, also won by Bedford on penalty kicks, 5-4.

Coincidentally, both games were played at Somerset High School.

District 5 champion Bedford (19-0-1) advances to the quarterfinals on Saturday at a time and site to be determined against District 10 champion Villa Maria Academy.

“It’s usually something like that is how you end up winning because these teams are so close and so competitive,” Thomas said. “Neither team quit. You’ve just got to keep fighting to the end.”

Seemingly still dazed from the dramatic ending moments earlier, Taracatac only now was beginning to process the magnitude of her accomplishment.

“I was thinking, ‘Holy crap, I just ended it,'” she said, recalling the feeling that struck her at the moment the play was unfolding. “I was watching the ball and it was either going through her hands or she was keeping it.”

Indeed, it made its way past South Park goalie Caitlin Cowen and lodged in the back of the net to put an end to another marathon performance by the two teams.

Unlike last year’s semifinal, when the teams scored a pair of goals each during regulation, this one was an ultimate defensive battle throughout. Both teams had some chances, as is most always the case in soccer, but neither defense would break until the game-winner.

“I was just hoping something would end it before that,” Thomas said. “We never quit. We stayed hard after the ball the whole time and tried to throw some balls over top to catch the defense off guard, which we had our chances doing that.

“A couple of them, we tried splitting them on the ground, but they weren’t going through. So, we said we’re going over the top.”

Thomas, as he’s done countless times before, acknowledged goalkeeper Lindsay Mowry’s effort in notching yet another shutout.

“She was really huge,” he said. “She said to me, ‘I thought I messed up a couple times.’ I said, ‘It never went in, so it don’t matter.’ She usually knows when to come out on the ball and when to stay. She proved it again tonight.”

Bedford’s march towards another possible state title continues, despite the loss of all-time leading scorer Amber Thomas, who went on to Division II Mercyhurst.

It was Thomas’ penalty kick in the first minute of overtime that handed Bedford a 1-0 victory over Lewisburg in the Class 2A title game last season.

“It feels really good (to move on),” Taracatac said. “I was getting flashbacks. We were all getting flashbacks.

“I had faith in my team the whole, entire time. We just needed to not play frantic and play our game. We just established that if our defense got it, we needed to get it up. And we got it up, and we just got it straight to the goalie. Someone from their team kicked it out and I knew I had to kick it. Either foot, it had to go in.”

SCORE BY HALVES

South Park 0 0 0 0–0

Bedford 0 0 0 1–1

Second overtime: B: Sydney Taracatac (unassisted), 4:06.

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