ALLPORT — After opening the season with an 11-1 win over St. Joseph’s, the West Branch girls soccer team has been struggling to find the back of the net.
The Lady Warriors scored just three goals in its last four games, resulting in a 1-2-1 record during that span.
But West Branch broke out of its scoring slumber in a big way Monday afternoon against visiting Philipsburg-Osceola, scoring a 7-0 victory over the Lady Mounties.
Trinity Prestash keyed the Lady Warrior offense with three goals and three assists, figuring in on every score except Alaina Gormont’s unassisted tally midway through the second half.
“Trinity has been working really hard and there is a reason she’s a captain,” West Branch head coach Angie Fenush said. “She finally found her groove. It’s nice to see all her hard work pay off.”
Prestash had nine shots in the game, scoring on three of her final five shots after finding the sledding tough early in the game against P-O keeper Jocelyn Hutton.
The Lady Mountie keeper made 12 saves in the first half, including a pair of kick saves and a point blank stop where she dove back to the far post to knock the ball out of play.
P-O did give up nine corner kicks in the first half, but none resulted in a goal as Hutton and the Lady Mountie defense kept West Branch off the board for over 34 minutes of the first half.
“I was super impressed with P-O,” Fenush said. “They fought us for 30 minutes. Jocelyn had an amazing game in goal. They were playing good defense with Schenley (Farrell) coming out out of nowhere at times. They matched us step for step.
“But we got the first goal and the girls finally found their rhythm,” Fenush said. “Things finally clicked.”
Prestash played Olivia Straka in to the box with a pinpoint pass and the Lady Warrior striker broke the ice at 34:28, slotting the ball by Hutton to make it 1-0.
After a turnover in the box late in the half, Prestash ripped the ball by Hutton to up the advantage to 2-0 with a minute to go before the break.
The late-half surge by the Lady Warriors was a sign of things to come as West Branch continued the onslaught early in the second with three more goals in the first 11 minutes.
Prestash netted two more and set up a third to make it 5-0 with nearly 30 minutes left to play.
“The girls gave up after the first goal,” P-O head coach Tom Petro said. “There were a lot of shots that could have been stopped easily. For the first 35 minutes we were hanging with them and as soon as that one score happened, it went downhill from there.”
The first goal in the second half was set up by a quick pass from Lauren Timblin to spring Prestash free for an open look at 43:49.
Prestash assisted on the next Lady Warrior goal, sending a pass from the middle of the field around the 18 over to the left wing where Paige Washic was able to slide the ball past Hutton to make it 4-0 at 48:24.
The final Prestash goal can at 50:58 off an Eleyna Hanslovan feed.
Gormont and Emmie Parks scored the final two goals for the hosts.
Gormont slammed the ball past new P-O keeper Paige Rishel on a back-post rebound after a scrum in front of the net, and Parks finalized things with a goal assisted by Prestash.
“Trinity was a big part of things today,” Fenush said. “But all the girls played well We’ve been trying to find out what works best. We’ve been moving girls around non stop. Everyone was clicking on all cylinders.”
West Branch held a 29-3 advantage in shots on goal and had 12 corner kicks to the Lady Mounties’ 3.
“West Branch is a well-coached team and I give Angie and Alicia (Lutz) a lot of credit to get their team playing very well together,” said Coach Petro.
“We’re eventually going to get there, but until the girls break their old habits I can honestly say it’s going to be a long season.”
West Branch improved to 3-1-2, while P-O slipped to 0-4.
Both teams are back in action today.
The Lady Warriors travel to Brookville, while the Lady Mounties host Penns Valley.
West Branch 7,
1. Olivia Straka, (Trinity Prestash), 34:28.
2. Prestash, (unassisted), 39:00.
3. Prestash, (Lauren Timblin), 43:49.
4. Paige Washic, (Prestash), 48:24.
5. Prestash, (Eleyna Hanslovan), 50:58.
6. Alaina Gormont, (unassisted), 56:10.
7. Emmie Parks, (Prestash), 62:30.
Shots: Philipsburg-Osceola 3, West Branch 29.
Saves: Philipsburg-Osceola (Jocelyn Hutton 13, Paige Rishel 8) 21, West Branch (Sarah Betts) 3.
Corner kicks: Philipsburg-Osceola 3, West Branch 12.