P-O girls soccer tops BEA in double OT|
Thursday, September 13, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
PHILIPSBURG - To say that things haven't been bouncing the Philipsburg-Osceola girls soccer team's way is an understatement.
After falling by a combined 14-3 score in their first two contests, the Lady Mounties appeared headed to their third-straight defeat when they trailed visiting Bald Eagle Area, 1-0, late in Wednesday's contest.
As if the thought of losing a third game in a row wasn't enough, the Lady Eagles' only tally came on an own goal.
With time winding down, however, the ball "headed" in the right direction for the Lady Mounties, who scored a pair of goals to pull out a dramatic 2-1 double overtime win.
"I'm elated," said P-O head coach Kristina McKenna. "They have worked amazingly hard for this win. It came at a really good time and I couldn't be more proud."
Jordyn Powell lined up for a direct kick with time winding down in the second half. Powell's kick was on frame and bounced to Rebecca Groff, who headed the ball past Bald Eagle Area keeper Mikayla Robison to tie the contest at 1 with 2:15 to play in regulation.
Another direct kick in the second overtime completed P-O's drastic turnaround, as Michala Whitehead's boot found Alayna Bertothy in front of the box, where she buried the game-winner.
"It's totally emotional," McKenna said of the game-winner, which came with just 1:44 left in the contest. "We've been working for this. We came out and we were choppy and unsure of ourselves.
"They truly were nervous before our first game and something changed in them. We had a really long talk about team unity and playing our hearts out and redefining what it meant to be a female soccer player."
The tempo early in the second half set the tone for the Lady Mounties' late push.
After playing through the first half without anything to show for it on the scoreboard, P-O made some adjustments at halftime and controlled the pace through the early parts of the second.
The Lady Eagles assumed control five minutes in, but P-O got the first bounce in its direction with just under 3 minutes to play.
After Bald Eagle Area was whistled for a push, Powell's direct kick from outside the 18 bounced to Groff on the right side of the box.
The ball took a fortuitous bounce and Groff headed it past Robison for the Lady Mounties' first tally.
"There was a sense of urgency there (and) Jordyn has an excellent foot," said McKenna. "She's a mature soccer player, really. Becca has been working her tail off in practice (because) she was not a varsity starter for us in the beginning of the season. All of the girls at her position are working hard and their hearts are in it.
"Becca has been really on. She's a really intelligent soccer player ... and she knows how to control her side of the field. I'm really happy with her play. It has improved dramatically."
Both teams had chances in the first overtime, highlighted by Bertothy's breakaway.
Bertothy sprinted past a Bald Eagle Area defender and her shot on Lady Eagle keeper Makennah Dyke was just outside the upper 90.
As time kept creeping off the clock, P-O got another direct kick on the Bald Eagle half of the field. Whitehead sent the ball inside the 18 and Bertothy sneaked it past Dyke, who came out to make a play on the bounding ball.
"It was beautiful to see them play tonight," said McKenna. "We talked about some positioning strategies (at halftime) and we talked about seeing the field, not the space they were playing. They were able to look up, see their passes and hustle to the ball. I think that helped us create some momentum."
The Lady Mounties will look to continue that momentum this evening when they travel to Moshannon Valley for a Pink Out.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
"They worked through and more ... and stayed tough," McKenna said. "That's really what we've been working on all season - creating that team unity, creating a team that leans on each other and that's exactly what they did tonight."
Philipsburg-Osceola 2, Bald Eagle Area 1, 2 OT
1. Own goal, BEA, 16:00.
2. Rebecca Groff, PO, (Jordyn Powell), 77:45.
3. Alayna Bertothy, PO, (Michala Whitehead), 98:16.
Shots: Bald Eagle Area 12, P-O 9.
Saves: Bald Eagle Area (Makennah Dyke, Mikayla Robison) 6, P-O (Carly Hahn) 9.
Corners: Bald Eagle Area 7, P-O 4.