Plum breaks Central streak
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
The Plum varsity boys soccer team lost seven games in a row to Pittsburgh Central Catholic before Saturday's Section 3-AAA home contest with the Vikings.
The Mustangs were outscored 22-1 in those games.
But Plum was able to start what it hopes is a new trend with a big 2-1 victory over Central Catholic.
“It's one of the bigger wins we've had here in the past four or five years against one of the best teams in the WPIAL,” Plum head coach Mike Baleno said. “At the same time, it's just one win in the section. We need to keep winning, and that one win isn't going to put us in the playoffs.”
Central Catholic came into the game 4-0, and it had outscored its opponents 20-2. That included an 8-0 victory over Woodland Hills in its section opener.
“We played very disciplined defensively and limited their opportunities to get forward and get good chances on goal,” Baleno said. “We just didn't make a lot of mistakes.”
Senior Shane Rings gave Plum a 1-0 lead about 20 minutes into the game on an assist from fellow senior Matt Baleno.
Central Catholic got the equalizer five minutes into the second half, but Plum answered about 15 minutes later, as senior Collin Smith scored off an assist from sophomore Mike McGuire.
“It's hard to give up a goal five minutes into a half, but the guys showed a lot of resolve and heart,” coach Baleno said. “That was similar to the way we played last year. They didn't put their heads down, and they kept battling. Both teams had good scoring chances. We got that second goal, and it lifted our spirits more.”
Plum bounced back from a tough 1-1 tie at Allderdice two days earlier.
“We got together Friday and went through a lot of tactical stuff we did wrong against Allderdice,” Baleno said.
“That really made the difference against Central. We made some corrections in our positioning defensively, and that was the difference, for sure.”
Plum improved to 2-0 in section with the win, and the Mustangs were slated to face section foe Fox Chapel on Tuesday. The game was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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