Elizabeth Forward girls soccer team has difficult playoff path
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Elizabeth Forward was the Cinderella story of the 2011 WPIAL Class AA girls soccer playoffs, a 13th seed that took third place and earned the school's first visit to the state tournament.
This year the Warriors will also have a difficult road if they hope to repeat last season's success.
EF enters the playoffs as the No. 10 seed and will face seventh-seeded Section 1 champion Yough (15-3-0) on Cougar Mountain at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“Overall, we were pretty pleased with how things turned out,” Elizabeth Forward coach Brandon Gerba said.
“We knew going into the pairings that we kind of figured we'd end up with an 8-9 (seed) or 7-10 (seed) game like we did being the third team out of our section, but at the same time, we played in an extremely competitive section.”
Elizabeth Forward (12-5-0) lost twice in section play to South Park (12-3-1) and split with Belle Vernon (15-2-0), the co-champions of Section 4. The Warriors' other losses were to Class AAA fourth seed Penn-Trafford and the Canon-McMillan team it will host in the first round.
Though Yough was undefeated in section play, it counts a 3-1 loss on its home field to Elizabeth Forward on Sept. 26 as one of its three defeats. How the two teams change their attacks and modify their game plans after the first encounter will certainly go a long way toward determining the winner this time around.
“There are upsides and downsides to play someone you've already played, especially in our case where we've already won the first time around,” Gerba said.
“A team like that, that's very skilled and pretty decent offensively, they're going to find ways this time around to score a couple more goals and they're going to be tough for anyone to play.”
Yough certainly has the firepower to run and gun with the best of them. The Cougars have scored 107 goals in 18 games (a 5.9 average) and have one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the WPIAL in freshman striker Mikayla Mance.
Elizabeth Forward has scored only 54 goals, but hits the back of the net when it needs to and has limited its opponents to 17 goals (1.0 per game) and posted five shutouts thanks to a defense led by junior goalkeeper Jennifer Keefer.
“We feel like we have experience on our side,” Gerba said. “The girls are going to work their butts of this week, we're going to put a game plan together and hopefully come away with a win on Saturday.”
While Elizabeth Forward tries to make a repeat visit to the state tournament, undefeated Section 2 champion and fifth-seeded South Allegheny (16-0-0) will begin its quest to its first WPIAL Class A title at 2 p.m. Saturday when it takes on Ellis School (9-7-0) at Norwin.
The sixth-seeded Knights (12-3-2) will play at 4 p.m. against Mt. Lebanon (9-9-0), a team it beat, 4-1, on Sept. 7, in their Class AAA playoff opener.
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.
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.
- Government survey: More teens trying out e-cigarettes than real thing
- Armstrong contributes to project to replace Kittanning retaining wall
- Charity helps dozens of McKeesport area children in need get new shoes
- Pittsburgh mayor Peduto goes ‘Undercover’ for CBS reality show
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- Steelers offense learning to slam door
- Steelers clinch trip to postseason with big victory over Chiefs
- McKeesport Area student’s Project Christmas expands in 2nd year
- Munhall garbage collection rates to increase
- Pittsburgh police doubling up on duty after potential threats
- Allegheny County district attorney prosecutors move on to state office