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Moon wins PIAA Class AA girls soccer championship

| Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 12:50 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review Moon senior Antonia Grese celebrates as time expires in the PIAA Class AA state championship game Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 at Hersheypark Stadium. Grese scored the only goal, as Moon won the title, 1-0.
Christopher Horner
Moon senior Antonia Grese (left) hoists the PIAA Class AA state championship trophy with her teammates after defeating Archbishop Wood, 1-0, in the title game Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Grese scored the lone goal. Moon coach Billy Pfeifer looks on at right. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Moon midfielder Taylor Dornin heads the ball over Archbishop Wood's Jackie Pierson during the second half of the PIAA Class AA state championship game Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Moon won the AA title, 1-0. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Moon's Amanda Kachaylo makes a game-preserving save on Archbishop Wood's Laura Romano during the second half of the PIAA Class AA state championship game Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Kachaylo assisted on the only goal and made the crucial save in Moon's 1-0 victory. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Moon senior Antonia Grese celebrates as time expires in the PIAA Class AA state championship game against Archbishop Wood Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Grese scored the only goal, as Moon won the title, 1-0. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Moon head coach Billy Pfeifer hugs Antonia Grese (right) and Amanda Kachaylo after the Lady Tigers defeated Archbishop Wood, 1-0, in the PIAA Class AA state championship game Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Grese scored the only goal and Kachaylo assisted on the goal and made a crucial save to preserve the win. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Moon forward Antonia Grese moves the ball upfield against Archbishop Wood's Katherine Hennessey during the second half of the PIAA Class AA state championship game Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Grese scored the only goal, as Moon won the title, 1-0. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

HERSHEY – Antonia Grese was in the Hersheypark Stadium stands with her middle school team in 2006 when Moon lost in the PIAA Class AAA championship match to Downingtown West.

She never thought then, or even Saturday morning, that she would be the one who would score the game-winning goal to give the Tigers their first state title.

As it turned out, Grese, a senior forward, scored the only goal of the game with 15:16 remaining in the first half to help Moon (24-2-0) get past District 12 champion Archbishop Wood (18-3-2), 1-0, in the PIAA Class AA title game. Grese's goal broke the Tigers' state finals scoreless streak of 184:44

“I knew one of us was going to do it, but I didn't think it was going to be me,” Grese said. “I'm just happy that we won. I just wanted to run across the field with the trophy.”

Moon had been to the championship game twice, in 2004 and 2006, and both were against Downingtown West in Class AAA. The Tigers lost both by 2-0 scores. This was the first time they played in Class AA, as they dropped down prior to this season as part of the state's biennial realignment.

“After the last two times here, for them to win is outstanding,” Moon coach Bill Pfeifer said. “I feel happier for them than I do for myself. They worked hard since middle school, and this is something that's long in the making.”

For Moon, it was a victory that was even sweeter since it came on the heels of a bitter disappointment stemming from a 2-1 loss to Mars in the WPIAL Class AA championship match on Nov. 3.

“We lost WPIALs so this was our big redemption to get back even better and win states,” junior midfielder Amanda Kachaylo said. “We've been working so hard, and we did it.”

Moon might not have raised the state championship trophy were it not for an incredible defensive play by Kachaylo with 21:29 remaining in regulation.

Archbishop Wood finally got some pressure on the Tigers net and got a shot on goal that Nicole Falcione saved but couldn't control and moved her out of position. Vikings midfielder Laura Romano shoved the ball back toward the open net, but Kachaylo ran down the shot and cleared it wide of the cage.

“I saw Nicole hit it, and then it was kind of going in and I said, ‘Oh, shoot,' in my head,” Kachaylo said. “It looked like it was on the line and their girl came out of nowhere and thankfully I was able to keep it out.”

Kachaylo also helped set up the goal that gave Moon its state championship. At the 18-yard line in the attacking zone, she sent a pass across for Grese, who nudged a roller past Archbishop Wood goalkeeper Deanna Messner when she came out to challenge the shot.

“We calmed down and we played soccer and the nerves went away,” Grese said. “We put a couple of passes together and I just happened to be the last one to touch it.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kbarnes@tribweb.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.

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