Springdale girls soccer team holds off Sewickley Academy in playoff opener

Oct. 23—The Springdale girls soccer team is moving on to the quarterfinals.

The No. 2 Dynamos got goals from sophomores Briana Ross and Molly Hurley, and senior Grace Gent and then held off a late charge from No. 15 Sewickley Academy for a 3-2 victory in a WPIAL Class A first-round game Saturday at Kiski Area’s Richard Dilts Stadium.

“The win feels amazing,” Gent said. “It was nerve-wracking at times. Sewickley is a really good team. But we were able to hold our own and close it out.”

Under sunny skies with temperatures in the mid to upper 60s, Springdale improved to 14-3 overall. Up next for the Dynamos is a matchup with No. 7 Mohawk (10-6) on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at a site to be determined.

Mohawk defeated No. 10 Charleroi, 3-1, in the first round Saturday.

“It was a little closer than we wanted it to be at the end, but at the end of the day, we came in with the goal to win the game, and we did that,” Springdale coach Marc Bentley said.

“There are lessons to be learned, no doubt, like being a little smarter when we were up 3-0, but we’re moving on.”

Sewickley Academy came into the playoff matchup winners of four of its final five games in the regular season. Included in that were victories over Mohawk and Class 2A playoff qualifier Shady Side Academy.

The third-place team from Section 3 capped its season at 8-8 overall.

The Panthers avoided the shutout as senior Kaitlyn Hayden scored from 25 yards out with 6 minutes, 26 seconds left.

She then took advantage of a Springdale hand ball foul in the box at 4:33 with a successful penalty kick to pull Sewickley Academy to within one.

But the Springdale defense prevented any further scoring from the Panthers.

“It’s kind of been the story of our season the way they play each game full throttle to the end,” veteran Sewickley Academy coach Dale Giovengo said. “We had a few chances early on, but they just didn’t go our way. We’re a pretty senior-laden team with good leadership. They have a lot of heart, and they showed it today. I am proud of them.”

Story continues

After an initial push by Sewickley Academy to start the game, which produced a shot, Springdale started to tip the field in its favor, posting three shots in the first seven minutes.

Sewickley later gained a measure of momentum and collected a trio of corner kicks in a five-minute span. The Springdale defense turned away all three.

The Dynamos potent offense wouldn’t be held down for long.

Springdale struck first with 14:48 to play until halftime as Ross played a 50/50 ball off her head to her feet near midfield, settled in, raced half the length of the field and deposited a right-footed shot past Sewickley Academy senior keeper Elena Mohan.

The Dynamos made it 2-0 in the fifth minute of the second half as senior Georgia Dale delivered a free kick into the box, and Gent did the rest. It was Gent’s team-leading 20th goal of the season.

Sewickley Academy sophomore Katherine Varghese tried to get one back three minutes later, but her point-blank shot from 12 yards was pulled in by Dynamos senior keeper Caity Stec.

Springdale scored a third time with 13:32 left as Hurley took a pass on a breakaway, shot from the right wing, and the ball deflected off the left post and into the goal.

The Dynamos held an 18-8 shot advantage and led 14-6 in shots on goal.

Mohan made 11 saves for the Panthers, and Stec stopped four shots for the Dynamos.

“We all have a goal to make a deep run in the playoffs, and this game was a great start,” Gent said. “We’re going to work on some things before the next round, but I think the next round is going to be even better.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .


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