Plum rallies past Gateway in overtime
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Plum varsity boys soccer team finished with four ties last year, and the Mustangs played to a 1-1 tie in a Section 3-AAA game at Allderdice earlier this season.
So when Saturday's section contest with rival Gateway went into overtime — sparked by a goal from senior Bryan Parker with less than two minutes in regulation — the Mustangs players, head coach Mike Baleno said, weren't leaving their home field without a victory.
And with 5:29 to play in the second overtime, junior defender Stephen Hemmerle gave his teammates and the Plum faithful the lift they were looking for.
Hemmerle's goal was his first of the season, and it gave the Mustangs a 3-2 victory and put them at 3-1-1 in a challenging section race.
“It goes back to last year,” Plum head coach Mike Baleno said.
“When we got that tying goal, we thought we could win the game and were very hungry. All it took was a glimmer of hope. In a big game like that, it sometimes comes down to which way the ball bounces. The tying goal really gave them life. You go to overtime and it's basically a 0-0 game. We were in that position (overtime) last year a number of times. The guys knew that it was their game to win.”
The game-winner came off a corner kick from senior forward Matt Baleno and capped a Plum rally from a 2-1 halftime deficit.
“I told the guys in the locker room after the game, that I don't think we win that game without (Stephen),” coach Baleno said.
“We pushed him into the midfield the last 10 minutes (of regulation), and he gave us a spark. He has really stepped up big this season. He was our most valuable player (against Gateway).”
As the final minutes of regulation ticked away, Plum pushed up and created several scoring chances. A throw-in from Matt Baleno set up Parker's game-tying tally past Gateway senior keeper Nate Kleya.
“We weren't in panic mode, but we obviously needed a goal,” coach Baleno said.
“We just wanted to push all the guys forward and put a lot of pressure on their defense and try to make something happen. We pushed a third forward up and an extra guy in the midfield. We just tried to get the ball down deep as much as we could, and we ended up with a goal out of it.”
Plum led 1-0 on senior forward Shane Rings' team-leading fifth goal of the season. He scored at the 26:03 mark of the first half.
Gateway answered less than three minutes later, and then struck to take the lead 19 seconds before the break.
“We expected Gateway to give us a battle,” coach Baleno said. “They always do. They are a very physical team, and they go at you hard. We had to match that intensity.
“I thought we played well in the first 25 or so minutes, and then our play dropped off, and Gateway picked up some momentum. It came down to us battling back and holding off their momentum.”
Rings leads the team in scoring, but coach Baleno said he likes the way the team is stepping up as a whole.
Junior Dylan Malazich and senior Ricky Wittman each tallied their first goals of the season and freshman Ryan Smith recorded his second score in last week's 4-0 whitewash of Woodland Hills.
“If you look at the number of guys that have scored goals for us this year; I think we have six or seven guys scoring goals,” coach Baleno said.
“That says a lot about our team. We don't rely on just one or two guys to carry us. We need a team effort — offensively and defensively — each game. The theme of the year for us is guys stepping up at the right times.”
Plum tried to keep things going Tuesday, as it faced Pittsburgh Central Catholic in a rematch of a 2-1 Mustangs victory on Sept. 8.
The rematch was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition.
Plum also will have a chance to put one in the win column against Allderdice on Thursday when the teams meet at 7:30 p.m. at Mustangs Stadium.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s potent rushing attack could slow down the passing game
- Steelers to bring LB Harrison out of retirement
- Steelers defense must replace three injured starters after victory
- South Park boys soccer thriving by easing burden on its stars
- Penguins boast several good blueliners with point-producing skills
- Pittsburgh Fashion Week 2014 opens to sold-out crowd on South Side
- Existing home sales fall in August, snapping streak of gains
- Valley golfer hopes nice guys can finish 1st
- Taxes at forefront of 1st Pa. governor debate between Corbett, Wolf
- Liriano, McCutchen help Pirates to 1-0 win over Braves
- Plum moves past coach suspension controversy