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Curwensville girls bounced from playoffs by ECC
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
CURWENSVILLE - A 39-second span in Tuesday's District 9 Class A girls soccer quarterfinal between Elk County Catholic and Curwensville at Riverside Stadium proved to be devastating for the host Lady Tide.
With 3:03 left on the first-half clock, Lady Crusader Erin Petrosky tied the game at 1-1, scoring a goal off a Marissa Heary corner kick to shift the momentum toward the visitors.
Thirty-nine seconds later, a rush at the other end of the field ended with a collision between Curwensville's Tiara Bumbarger and ECC keeper Hannah Onink that resulted in Bumbarger being taken from the field on a stretcher.
Bumbarger, who suffered a neck injury as a sophomore, lay motionless on the field for about 10 minutes before being loaded on the stretcher and taken to DuBois hospital to be examined. She was alert as she left the field, but no other details were available.
The shift in momentum, the loss of Bumbarger from an emotional and strategic standpoint, and ECC's proficiency on corner kicks was too much for Curwensville to overcome as it dropped a 3-2 decision.
"The injury to Tiara was tough," Curwensville head coach Gary Thorp said. "You lose one of your key offensive players, and it puts a hurt on you.
"But hat's off to Elk County. They were always strong to the ball, and that's what made the difference."
ECC got the first-half equalizer on just its second shot of the game as the Lady Tide did a good job limiting the Lady Crusaders scoring chances early on.
Curwensville was living dangerously, however, as it surrendered five corner kicks in the half but ECC only got one shot off of them.
"Too many corners. We said that at halftime," Thorp said. "We can't give up the corner kicks because they do those set pieces very well. We said giving up that many corner kicks was going to come back to haunt us, and that's exactly what happened. We just gave up too many corner kicks."
The Lady Crusaders recorded four more corner kicks in the second half, converting two of them into goals.
The first put ECC in front, 2-1, with a little less than 20 minutes left in regulation.
Heary, who recorded assists on all three goals, took the kick and fired it into the box where a Lady Tide defender got a boot on it and directed it back where it came from.
Heary corralled the ball, took two quick touches and sent the ball back into the box where Petrosky collected it and shot it to the far post past Lady Tide keeper Chloe Tubbs to give ECC the lead.
Tubbs, starting just her third game in goal, made three saves in the contest, including a highlight reel stop of a shot off the foot of Michaela Cashmer moments before Petrosky's go-ahead goal.
"She's been playing very well in goal," Thorp said of Tubbs. "She played two good games, one against Ridgway and the other against West Branch. She showed a lot of promise, so I gave her the opportunity to start in the playoffs, too. That also gave us the opportunity to move Cheyenne (Geisler) into the field."
Geisler, who was Curwensville's starting keeper most of the season, rewarded Thorp's decision by scoring both Lady Tide goals, while leading her team in shots with five.
She tied the game at 69:06 after following her own shot on a penalty kick.
Onink made the initial save on the PK, tipping it over her head. But the ball bounced off the crossbar and back into play where Geisler raced to it and fired a laser to the near post to tie the game at 2-2.
Geisler's first goal came just 5:31 into the contest when she intercepted a bad, clearing pass and took a hard shot from about 20 yards out.
"Cheyenne's a great player," Thorp said. "She showed her senior leadership out there tonight."
Unfortunately for the Lady Tide, the momentum they regained from Geisler's tying goal was short-lived, and ECC quickly found itself attacking deep in the Curwensville end again.
The Lady Crusaders were awarded a pair of corner kicks late in the contest, and they made the last one count as Julia Sweeney headed Heary's kick to the far post past Tubbs to give ECC a 3-2 advantage with just 4:04 left on the clock.
"I think we let down defensively on those corner kicks," Thorp said. "Chloe performed very well as a freshman. You can't ask for anything more of her."
Curwensville tried all it could to find the equalizer, including pushing sweeper Heather Thorp forward for one final rush.
But the Lady Tide only generated one shot off the foot of Geisler over the final four minutes of play as ECC held on for the win.
Eileen Geisler nearly gave Curwensville a lead early in the second half when her shot from the right flank inside the box across the goal mouth toward the far post surprised Onink, who was able to recover and make a diving save.
Bumbarger also had a near miss late in the first half when a rocket from the left wing five yards behind the goal box slammed into the point where the post and crossbar connect and ricocheted out of bounds.
The loss left the Lady Tide short of their goal of reaching the District 9 title game for a third straight year. Curwensville beat Karns City in the title game in 2011 and fell to the Lady Gremlins in the championship last season.
"We were hoping to see Karns City one more year, simply because the seniors were sophomores the year we won the district title, and that class was a key reason why," Thorp said. "We were just hoping to get another shot at Karns City whether it was in the semis or in the finals."
Seniors Bumbarger, Bethany Carns, Cheyenne Geisler, Kelsey Greslick, Krista Kolesar, Brooke Simcox and Chantel Tubbs played their final game for the Lady Tide, but will certainly be remembered as a class that made a big impact on the program.
"They were part of a lot of wins," Thorp said. "The team's winning percentage the last four years will surpass any other team. I think this group played very well and was very disciplined in the way they approached the game. They've always worked hard at it."
The Lady Tide ended the season with a record of 13-5-1. Two of those losses came to the Lady Crusaders (12-5-2), who advance to the D-9 Class A semifinals against the winner of today's Karns City-Clarion clash at a date, site and time to be determined.

Elk County Catholic 3, Curwensville 2
Scoring Summary
First Half
1. Cheyenne Geisler, C, (unassisted), 5:31.
2. Erin Petrosky, ECC, (Marissa Heary), 36:57.
Second Half
3. Petrosky, ECC, (Heary), 60:13.
4. C. Geisler, C, (penalty kick), 69:06.
5. Julia Sweeney, ECC, (Heary), 75:56.
Shots: Elk County Catholic 7, Curwensville 11.
Saves: Elk County Catholic (Hannah Onink) 7, Curwensville (Chloe Tubbs) 3.
Corner kicks: Elk County Catholic 9, Curwensville 3.

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