Moon girls edge Mars to defend WPIAL Class AAA title
It wasn't easy, but the Moon girls soccer team is a champion again.
The Tigers took one-goal leads twice in Friday's WPIAL Class AAA title game at Highmark Stadium. Both times Mars rallied.
But Kylee Evans' one-timer off a corner kick from Emily Orr with 4 minutes, 16 seconds left in regulation gave Moon its second straight WPIAL championship and third in the program's history.
“We gave up two goals on mistakes that we made,” Moon coach Bill Pfeifer said.
“We missed some chances, missed some empty nets. (Mars') keeper came up big a couple of times. It was good. It gets us ready for the state playoffs.”
Moon, the No. 1 seed, improved to 22-0 on the season and ran its winning streak to 39 games.
The Tigers, also the defending state champions, now move on to the state playoffs where they will face District 5⁄6 champion Hollidaysburg on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
“The kids have been here before,” Pfeifer said. “I don't think they panicked. They just kept playing.”
Mars (16-2) is the first team this season to tally more than one goal on the Moon defense. The Tigers entered the game having given up only five goals all season, and all five came in regulation.
The loss snapped the Planets' eight-game winning streak.
“The thing I was impressed with the most was our ability to come back twice,” Mars coach Blair Gerlach said.
“We have a young team that is very resilient. Moon went up 2-1 in the second half, but the girls kept battling. It was unfortunate to give one up with four minutes left, but I'm extremely proud of their effort and their competitiveness.”
The Planets also will extend their season in the PIAA playoffs. Like Moon, Mars will open state-tournament action Tuesday. It will face District 9 champion DuBois at a site and time to be determined.
Moon pressured early and earned three corner kicks within the first six minutes. While all three were unsuccessful, it didn't take the Tigers long after that to take a 1-0 lead.
Delany Snyder scored her 45th goal of the season with 34:40 left in the first half.
But Mars answered at the 30:02 mark as freshman forward Caroline Wroblewski came down the left wing and fired in a shot from a tough angle to the near post. The shot was the Planets' first of the game.
Moon made it 2-1 with 21:08 left in regulation off a corner kick set piece. Mars attempted to clear the ball out of danger, but it came to the head of Lauren Baumgartner, who directed the ball to Abigael McEnroe, who headed the ball past Planets keeper Claire Valentine.
Mars again responded at the 16:02 mark. A Moon defender tried to play the ball back to keeper Madison Sleva, but Planets sophomore forward Taylor Hamlett intercepted the ball and pushed it past Sleva for the goal.