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Miller’s goal sparks Lady Tigers to fifth straight title

The Hollidaysburg girls soccer team shows off their trophy Tuesday night. Photo for the Mirror by Tim O'Brien

The shots may not have been put away early on for the Hollidaysburg girls soccer team, but once they got one to go, they came in bunches.

Paige Miller’s first goal 25 minutes into the game set off an explosion as the Lady Tigers captured their fifth straight District 6 Class 3A championship, 5-0, over Bellefonte Tuesday night at Mansion Park.

“It did well for us (to get the first goal),” Hollidaysburg coach Dave Soellner said. “Anytime you can get that first goal, and get moving, I think it’s beneficial. You can open up the game a lot more. Until you get that first one, everybody’s tight, everybody’s afraid of making a mistake and so forth.”

The Lady Tigers scored three goals in a matter of 17 minutes — the first two coming just over six minutes apart — as Alyssa Bell put the second goal of the night on the board on an assist from Abby Steiner. Ava Miller capped off the early outburst with a tally from Rita Kendziora to make it 3-0 at the break.

“It feels like whenever we take one step forward, we take four steps back,” Bellefonte coach Stacey Miller said. “It defeated us a little bit, and then the next two came in pretty quickly. I felt like we came out stronger in the second half, and I feel like our girls were back in it until they put (the fourth goal) in the back of the net.”

Just for good measure, the Lady Tigers added a second goal from Bell and Miller each in the second half to cap off the scoring. Bell also added an assist on the game’s final goal.

“These girls have been working hard with the COVID-19 stuff going on this year,” Soellner said. “I’m very proud of all of these girls. We have eight seniors that have busted their butts for this program, and I think it’s starting to trickle down to the underclassmen.”

Paige Miller was grateful to know the Lady Tigers would have a chance to even compete for the title after the senior high school was closed briefly last month due to a COVID outbreak.

“It means so much, being able to play with our friends (for the championship),” she said. “It’s been a huge stress all season. It means a lot.”

Soellner was even more relieved to know his team had a chance to play after being off since Oct. 22 with their last regular season games having been canceled.

“Every day you’re on pins and needles,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know who’s going to have to a test, who’s not going to have a test. I tell my girls everyday they need to do their part. Wear their mask, sanitize, the whole shooting match because tomorrow, it could be gone.”

The Lady Tigers will now have another long break before they take on the champion of District 3 at a site and time to be announced on Saturday, Nov. 14.

SCORE BY HALVES

Bellefonte 0 0 – 0

Hollidaysburg 3 2 – 5

First Half: 1, H – Miller (unassisted), 24:45. 2, H – Bell (Steiner), 30:03. 3, H – Miller (Kendziora).

Second Half: 4, H – Bell (Woods), 55:23. 5, H – Miller (Bell), 60:08.

Shots on goal: Hollidaysburg 14, Bellefonte 2. Saves – Matherine, H, 2; Manning, B, 9.

Records: Bellefonte (6-9), Hollidaysburg (9-3).

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