Late goal catapults Bethel Park girls soccer team to win
Bethel Park was on its way to a second straight shootout until its leading scorer intervened late.
A.J. Baroffio turned on the speed to create a breakaway down the left side and fired an angled shot that stayed just under the crossbar to give the third-seeded Black Hawks a 1-0 overtime victory over No. 6 Norwin in a WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal at Peters Township.
Bethel Park (19-1-0) needed penalty kicks to advance past Franklin Regional in the first round and appeared to be headed there against Norwin (14-4-2) until Baroffio, a senior Duquesne recruit, scored her second goal of the postseason with 8:44 left in overtime.
“She's a heck of a kid, and she never gives up,” Bethel Park coach Jon Gentile said. “She had about six legitimate chances in the game, and she never got down on herself. She has carried us all year.”
Bethel Park advances to the semifinals Tuesday, when it will face No. 2 Seneca Valley at a site and time to be determined.
Baroffio nearly ended the game with her speed in the second half of overtime when she touched the ball forward and sprinted past the Norwin defense.
Knights goalie Kayla Imbarlina sprinted off the goal line to make her biggest save of the game, blocking away a shot at Baroffio's feet.
“That's the hard work in July and August that transfers into having that (speed) late in a game in October,” Gentile said.
The Black Hawks were at their best in breakaway and counter-attack situations as Norwin held the bulk of possession by playing a patient, build-up game.
“Most teams around here play like that. They like to run and gun, I guess you would call it,” Norwin coach Jeff Palm said.
“Sometimes, it works, but most of the time, we've been able to shut that down.
Throughout regulation and the early minutes of overtime, Norwin got the ball into its attacking third, but the Knights were unable to get a player on the end of their crosses into the box.
Bethel Park had the best chance of regulation just 16 minutes into the game when Baroffio made a move down the right wing and played the ball back to Alexis Keibler.
Keibler's cross found Chelsea Conway open for a shot just 10 yards from goal, but Imbarlina got down quickly to make the save at close range.
Norwin's best chances came in the second half, during which it had six corner kicks.
Less than two minutes after halftime, Rachel DelleFemine sent a low cross from the left to the feet of Micayla Livingston, but her angled shot from the top of the 6-yard box flew high and struck the football crossbar.
“I didn't think we needed to do anything differently. We just had a couple of bad breaks on offense, and they were able to finish,” Palm said.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.