Springdale girls soccer team secures playoff victory
Once again Saturday afternoon, it was Springdale's time to shine in the WPIAL girls soccer playoffs.
The No. 9-seeded Dynamos won an opening-round playoff game for the sixth consecutive season, turning back No. 8 Charleroi, 1-0, in Class A first-round action at Gateway High School's Antimarino Stadium.
Springdale senior and Cleveland State recruit Marissa Sarsfield scored the only goal of the contest with 28:12 remaining in the second half.
The victory puts the Dynamos (9-10) into the quarterfinal round Wednesday against No. 1 Greensburg Central Catholic (16-1) at a site and time to be determined.
A perfect pass from junior Amanda Kuba to Sarsfield in the center of the goal area set up the decisive score.
“The sequence for the goal was fantastic,” Springdale coach Jerry Concannon said.
“We started in the back, played it into a center midfielder, played it wide to an outside defender, played it into a striker, played it into an outside midfielder, who served it to another midfielder, who scored.”
The goal was scored against goalkeeper Marissa Hansen, who came into Saturday's action with nine shutouts this season for Charleroi (9-8-2).
“I can't say enough about Marissa (Hansen),” Charleroi coach Jim Rue said. “She's a hard worker. She's worked hard all four years, and she gives her utmost.”
Meanwhile, Springdale controlled play much of the match, allowing Charleroi just one shot on freshman goalkeeper Stephanie Manning.
“It looked pretty good that way,” Concannon said of his team's defense. “I thought we controlled the tempo of the game for the most part.
“Charleroi changed the tempo over the last six or eight minutes, but we were able to stay organized and keep them out.”
Springdale applied constant pressure on Charleroi, particularly in the first half.
Early on, Brittany Smajda broke away on the right wing and passed to Melissa Kokoski, whose shot was juggled briefly by Hansen before the ball was cleared.
Springdale tried to keep the momentum, but a corner kick by Samantha Terry hit the side of the goal.
Later, Casey Hughes passed to Emma Whelan, who was bearing down on the goalkeeper, but Hansen managed to surround the ball in the goal box.
“We knew they were going to be tough, so we just tried to stay organized, and in those moments of concentration keep your focus, and that was the difference,” Concannon said. “We really had a good chance to get a couple of goals in the first half. It was unfortunate.”
“I was quite aware of Springdale's reputation, and their success over the years,” Rue said. “We're slowly building, but I know the school and the type of record they have over the years. But I thought we represented our district very well.”
Soon after the Springdale goal, Charleroi's Joyce Addis managed a shot off Dynamos goalkeeper Manning's shin, as Manning was trying to clear the goal area.
“We had some opportunities in the second half when I thought our play was much better,” Rue said.
In Section 4-A play, GCC beat Springdale twice by scores of 3-1 and 2-1. Last year, Springdale lost to GCC, 3-1, in the WPIAL finals, but avenged that loss with a 2-0 victory in the PIAA semifinals.
Springdale eventually took runner-up honors in the state.
Springdale has made the WPIAL finals four of the last five seasons.
It was the third straight season in which Charleroi was ousted in the first round.
George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.