Overtime goal eliminates Norwin girls soccer
Norwin's success is girls soccer has been based around team play, but the Knights were undone by a lone individual play.
A.J. Baroffio, a Duquense recruit, scored on a breakaway down the left side in the 102nd minute of play to give No. 3 Bethel Park a 1-0 win over No. 6 Norwin in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals on Oct. 24 at Peters Township.
Baroffio created the chance with her speed, as she pulled away behind the Norwin (14-4-2) defense and fired a shot that stayed just under the crossbar to send Bethel Park (19-1-0) into a semifinal against Seneca Valley.
The loss was a disappointing one for the Knights, who had the better share of possession for much of the game, but at times looked vulnerable against Baroffio and the Bethel Park counter-attack.
“Even prior to the game, we said that they were going to try and play the ball forward to Baroffio. She has a lot of goals this year, and a lot of them are from just that,” Norwin coach Jeff Palm said. “She has a lot of speed, a lot of talent, and she was able to get one on us tonight.”
The Black Hawks nearly won the game earlier in overtime, when Baroffio again was able to slip past the Norwin defense, but that time Norwin goalie Cayla Imbarlina was quick off her goal line to block away the shot at the feet of Baroffio.
Imbarlina was sharp throughout the game, which included a good low save on a close-range shot by Chelsea Conway in the first half, and she was quick off her line to wipe out an danger from long balls forward for Bethel Park.
“She's been steadily improving, getting better and better, throughout the entire season,” Palm said. “It's good to look forward to having her back next year as a senior. She'll be a leader on this team and continue to grow and get better.”
Norwin had a few chances of its own during the game, but the Knights often struggled to connect with the final pass or the cross to create a scoring chance.
Early in the game, a long cross from Marissa Antrilli was misplayed by the Bethel Park defense and fell to Rachel DelleFemine on the left side. DelleFemine needed a touch to settle the ball, and her shot from a sharp angle was stopped by Black Hawks goalie Alycia Jimenez.
Less than two minute into the second half, DelleFemine tried to create with a run down the left side, and her low cross found Micayla Livingston making a run to the near post. Livingston took the shot with her first touch, but the ball sailed and struck the football crossbar over the goal.
Norwin also had six corner kicks in the second half of the game, but apart from a back-post header by Sami Farabaugh that missed the net, the Knights' set pieces were defended well by Bethel Park.
After the defeat, Palm talked with his players and offered praise for a good season, despite its disappointing end.
“They've had a great season. There's nothing for them to hang their heads about,” Palm said. “They had four losses all season, all against very good teams. It's tough to lose like this, but every team is going to have that final game at some point.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.