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Valley girls soccer breaks 96-game losing streak

| Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, 8:39 p.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Valley's Nadia Pitts, right, is hugged by Taylor Kasavage after scoring a goal against St Joseph during their game at Harrison Hills Park on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
The Valley girls soccer team celebrates after defeating St Joseph's, 3-1, to break their 96-game losing streak at Harrison Hills Park on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Valley's Nadia Pitts celebrates her goal as St Joseph's Corinne Kurpakus shows her frustration during their game at Harrison Hills Park on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch

Finally.

The Valley girls soccer team ended its 96-game losing streak Friday afternoon, defeating St. Joseph, 3-1, in nonsection play at Harrison Hills Park.

It is the Vikings' first win since 2006.

“Honestly, I'm sitting here, and I almost can't believe it,” senior co-captain Taylor Kasavage said as she fought back tears. “I know my team is in shock, everybody's in shock. We almost didn't believe it.”

Third-year Valley coach John Macura knows how big the win is and how important it will be for the Vikings to build on it.

“This is the start,” Macura said. “We don't want to settle for just breaking a streak; we want to put some more wins together.”

The Vikings (1-4, 0-4) took their first lead of the season on their first goal of the season, scored on a header by sophomore forward Michelene Saiba late in the first half. Saiba's goal gave Valley a 1-0 lead at the half.

That lead was doubled early in the second frame, when freshman midfielder Nadia Pitts finished off a cross from senior midfielder Zoe Ward.

That connection between an experienced senior and one of several talented underclassmen turned out to be the game-winner, a streak-breaker and, perhaps more importantly, is indicative of Valley's resurgence.

“The seniors are so excited about playing with the younger girls, and the younger girls support the seniors so much,” Macura said. “The underclassmen took on a similar burden to the seniors.”

Senior midfielder Angela Maroni extended the Vikings' lead to 3-0 with a long-range shot that sailed into the top corner. St. Joseph (0-5, 0-2) narrowed the deficit with about 10 minutes remaining on a goal from senior midfielder/forward Nicole Harold, but the Vikings were able to hold on for the victory.

“We've accomplished our tiny goals — no diving, no bad fouls, score goals. We won a scrimmage against Kittanning, but it didn't count. But personally, it counted. It counted in our hearts,” Kasavage said. “Now this, it counts in the papers, it counts all around.

“Now that we've accomplished our overall goal, we're going to make new goals. We're going to keep going, we're going to make ourselves better,” she added. “Valley is back.”

Stephen Catanese is a freelance writer.

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