HYDE — The Clearfield girls soccer team rallied from a 2-0 deficit Tuesday evening at the Bison Sports Complex to defeat the reigning Mountain League champions Bald Eagle Area 3-2 in double overtime.
Emma Hipps scored the game winner 1:58 into the second overtime to give Clearfield its first win over BEA since the 2017 season. The Lady Eagles were undefeated in the Mountain League a season ago.
“”We played a really hard game on the grass field against DuBois (Monday) and the girls were tired,” Clearfield head coach Todd Winters said. “They rose to the occasion tonight, but it took a while.”
Hipps’ goal came after Bald Eagle Area keeper Rachel Veneziano was hurt trying to get to a loose ball in traffic. Veneziano fell to the ground and the ball squirted past her, allowing Hipps to run onto it and boot it into the empty net.
BEA started the game with all the momentum, enjoying much of the possession, while beating the Lady Bison to nearly every loose ball.
The Lady Eagles got on the board at 8:37 when Georgia Cingle found a loose ball at her feet after a defensive breakdown and beat Lady Bison freshman keeper Cayleigh Walker.
The game remained scoreless through the rest of the half, although the Lady Bison did begin to mount some offense.
“We were worried about the girls being tired after Monday’s game,” Winters said. “It was a late night and we have a lot of freshmen starting.”
Clearfield started the second half much better than the first and had the first three shots on goal, but Veneziano handled them with ease to keep the hosts off the board.
At 53:19, Falen McHenry, who pressured the Lady Bison defense all game long, was able to get loose in the box and fire a shot past Walker to put the Lady Eagles on top 2-0.
Exactly five minutes later, the Lady Bison began their comeback.
Elle Smith made a nice run inside the 18 before delivering a cross to the far post where Lydia Brown was able to put a solid strike on the ball and beat Veneziano to cut Clearfield’s deficit in half.
“Lydia knows how to find that back post,” Winters said. “She has a nose for it.”
The Lady Bison kept up the pressure and were eventually awarded a penalty kick after Hipps was knocked down in the box after taking a wide shot.
Smith took the kick and drilled it by Veneziano at 61:21 to tie the game.
Both teams had several scoring chances down the stretch, but both keepers stood tall to force overtime.
Veneziano had nine saves in regulation and 12 in the game, while Walker made six stops and was also very active on the defensive end, coming off her line to play the ball when it got into the zone.
“I think our hero of the day is Cayleigh Walker,” Winters said. “She is playing a big role and playing lights out. I had Hayley Moore (in goal) and now I fall into Cayleigh Walker. She’s just playing lights out.
“And their keeper was playing well too. I thought we had some opportunities, but (Veneziano) was the best in the Mountain League last year and she doesn’t let stuff in. Elle had some nice shots, but that girl stopped them.”
In the first OT, Clearfield dominated possession as Hipps, Smith and Alayna Winters put intense pressure on the BEA defense. Hipps and Smith each had shots stopped by Veneziano and the Lady Eagles were able to get to the second overtime.
But Clearfield kept up the pressure and eventually got the game-winner on its 14th shot of the game.
It was just a lot of hard work,” Winters said. “The more we played, the stronger we got.”
The Lady Bison improved to 2-1 with the win.
Clearfield is back in action Thursday, hosting Tyrone.
Bald Eagle Area, 2 OT
1. Georgia Cingle, BEA, (unassisted), 8:37.
2. Falen McHenry, BEA, (unassisted), 53:19.
3. Lydia Brown, C, (Elle Smith), 58:19.
4. Smith, C, (penalty kick), 61:21.
5. Emma Hipps, C, (unassisted), 71:58.
Shots: Bald Eagle Area 9, Clearfield 14.
Saves: Bald Eagle Area (Rachel Veneziano) 12, Clearfield (Cayleigh Walker) 7.
Corner kicks: Bald Eagle Area 5, Clearfield 3.