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Plum girls fall to second-seeded Seneca Valley

| Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
Plum Advance Leader
Plum junior foward Aaliyah Odom, at left, closes in on a Penn Hills defender during their Section 3-AAA game on Oct. 8, 2012. Plum clinched a playoff spot that night with a 2-0 win over the Indians. The Mustangs, in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, lost in the first round to No. 2 seed Seneca Valley, 3-0, on Oct. 20, 2012. Gary Bills | Plum Advance Leader

For the first time since 2002, a Plum varsity girls soccer team stepped onto a field for a WPIAL playoff game.

The Mustangs finished third in Section 3-AAA and earned the right to compete in the postseason.

On Saturday, they exercised that right by facing No. 2 seed Seneca Valley, the champion of Section 2, in the first round Saturday at Seneca Valley High School.

When the dust settled, the Raiders handed Plum a 3-0 defeat.

“They were big, physical and moved the ball really well,” Plum head coach Mike Proviano said. “They were very organized. There were two or three touches on plays at the most. They were all in sync. They kept us on our heels early. I think Seneca Valley will go far in the playoffs.”

Plum finished the 2012 campaign 9-7-2 overall, while Seneca Valley moved on to face Upper St. Clair in the quarterfinals.

“We didn't win the coin toss, and the wind was blowing really good,” Proviano said. “Whoever had the wind in the first half was going to control the play. We had a couple of chances early on, but that was about it. They really bottled us up in the first half.”

Seneca Valley led 1-0 10 minutes in and moved ahead, 2-0, 10 minutes later.

“The girls were excited, but we played a little bit nervous at the start,” Proviano said. “We did a little backing up. We've been trying to avoid doing that, but Seneca Valley definitely was a good team. We'll learn from that and do better with it should we find ourselves in the same position next year.”

Proviano said his team held its own better in the second half.

“Play was a little more 50-50,” he said. “We just didn't finish a couple of chances. The girls fought hard and didn't quit.”

Seneca Valley's third goal came with about 20 minutes remaining.

“It was a really nice shot from about 30 yards,” Proviano said.

Proviano said his team fought hard through injuries and a challenging schedule. Plum finished two points ahead of Penn Hills for the third and final playoff spot, and a 2-0 win at Penn Hills on Oct. 8 clinched the spot in the postseason for the Mustangs.

A 3-2 overtime victory over Oakland Catholic, a 2-2 tie against section champion Gateway and a 1-1 tie in a rematch with the Eagles were three results that went a long way in securing the playoff spot.

“I told the girls they can be proud of what they accomplished,” Proviano said.

“It was no small feat because of not making the playoffs for 10 years. They realize all the hard work they put in. I think that season and the trip to the playoffs were just the start of good things to come.”

The game was the final one in a Plum uniform for seniors Jordan Campeau, Mikayla Ferchaw, Kara Ioannou, Kristina Ioannou, Megan Reddick and Emily Kieffer.

“I can't say enough good things about the seniors,” Proviano said.

“They endured three years of frustration with not being able to make the playoffs. They showed great leadership and a great attitude all year. They would've liked to have moved on in the playoffs, but they were happy overall with how the season turned out. We accomplished a big goal we set at the beginning of the season.”

Reddick recently was named to the 15-player All-Section 3 team, along with junior Aaliyah Odom, who again finished as the team's leading scorer.

Odom returns, as do starters Amanda Zimmerman and Addie Jacobs, both juniors; sophomores Christine Tamburri and Ali Gipson; and freshmen Alyssa Proviano, Ashley Amato and Chelsea Hubner.

Tamburri battled through injury over the last half of the season and wasn't able to play against Seneca Valley.

Juniors Shannon Greco and Taylor Bowland, as well as Taylor Dudding, Alex Pursh and Kennedy Lisovich, coach Proviano said, also are expected to have increased roles next year. Junior Alexis Amato saw a little playing time but still was recovering from a knee injury suffered in basketball season last December.

“The returning players are ready to build on this. I think making the playoffs will be an every-year thing. Hopefully at this time next year, I will be talking about a win in the first round. We are solid coming back.”

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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