Gateway rallies in second half to tie Plum in Section 3-AAA clash
As the clocked ticked down in the early minutes of the second half of Monday's Section 3-AAA girls soccer game between Gateway and Plum at Antimarino Stadium, the Gators found themselves down 2-0.
They were searching for a spark that would get them back in the game.
Then, in a span of two minutes, the game was tied.
Junior forward Emily Stevens scored twice — in the game's 51st and 52nd minute — and the Gateway defense then held Plum off the board for the rest of regulation and the two overtime periods.
The 2-2 tie kept the Ga- tors unbeaten in section play at 4-0-1 as they moved towards the second half of section play.
“Emily Stevens really stepped up,” Sanders said.
“It was probably her best game.”
Gateway has shown its effectiveness in producing offense off of corner kicks, and it tallied nine corners against Plum on Monday.
The eighth corner kick produced the first goal, as sophomore Maggie Hilton delivered the kick into a gathering of Plum and Gateway players, and Stevens corralled the ball off a pass from senior Rachel Rettger and put it past Plum freshman goalkeeper Chelsea Hubner.
Stevens then tied the contest with a breakaway goal at the 28:12 mark.
Stevens' goals were her fourth and fifth of the season. She also scored twice in last week's 8-0 whitewash of Allderdice.
Both teams managed effective scoring chances throughout the remainder of regulation.
Hilton and Stevens both hit the crossbar on shots in the first overtime.
The second overtime was a flurry of up-tempo play, as both teams attempted to tally the sudden-death goal.
The Plum defense turn- ed away a Gateway scoring attempt off a corner kick with less than 10 seconds left in the second overtime.
“It was a nice comeback for us,” Sanders said.
“The girls needed something like that. The last few times we've given up the first goal we've come back. That's big because in the playoffs, those are the type of things that happen.
“You may give up a goal early, and you could score two quick goals in the last couple minutes. No matter when the game is, it's important to never stop pushing and battling.”
Plum, which was 3-2-1 in section play after Monday's tie, took a 1-0 lead with 15:47 left in the first half on a shot from freshman Ashley Amato.
The Mustangs made it 2-0 about five minutes later, and the scoring play started with a rocket shot from 25 yards out by junior forward Aaliyah Odom.
Odom's shot deflected off the crossbar, and the ball settled down in front of the Gateway net and Gators goalkeeper Allie Warsaw.
Mustangs senior Jordan Campeau was right there to clean things up, and she fired a rebound past Warsaw.
“Sometimes, we get comfortable in our game and get complacent,” Sanders said.
“I keep telling them we have to play consistent all the way through. The first goal they scored was nice, and it kind of woke us up. I don't know what we were doing defensively on the second goal. We kind of let (Allie) out to dry (after the deflection). It seemed like she lost the ball for a second, and the next thing you know, it was in the net.”
Plum finished with 12 shots at the Gateway goal, and Warsaw stopped five of those shots from going into the net.
Gateway tallied 20 shots in the game, including five in the first and second overtimes combined.
“We're getting into the second half of the season, and we are starting to identify who we are more,” Sanders said.
“Having a number of girls hurt at the beginning of the season slowed us down a little bit. We still have a couple girls playing banged up, but they're getting healthier.”
Gateway travels to Penn Hills for a section game Thursday afternoon at 3:30, and the Gators play at Fox Chapel on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Gateway was scheduled to host Woodland Hills on Wednesday, and 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.