Moon wins PIAA Class AA girls soccer championship
HERSHEY – Antonia Grese was in the Hersheypark Stadium stands with her middle school team in 2006 when Moon lost in the PIAA Class AAA championship match to Downingtown West.
She never thought then, or even Saturday morning, that she would be the one who would score the game-winning goal to give the Tigers their first state title.
As it turned out, Grese, a senior forward, scored the only goal of the game with 15:16 remaining in the first half to help Moon (24-2-0) get past District 12 champion Archbishop Wood (18-3-2), 1-0, in the PIAA Class AA title game. Grese's goal broke the Tigers' state finals scoreless streak of 184:44
“I knew one of us was going to do it, but I didn't think it was going to be me,” Grese said. “I'm just happy that we won. I just wanted to run across the field with the trophy.”
Moon had been to the championship game twice, in 2004 and 2006, and both were against Downingtown West in Class AAA. The Tigers lost both by 2-0 scores. This was the first time they played in Class AA, as they dropped down prior to this season as part of the state's biennial realignment.
“After the last two times here, for them to win is outstanding,” Moon coach Bill Pfeifer said. “I feel happier for them than I do for myself. They worked hard since middle school, and this is something that's long in the making.”
For Moon, it was a victory that was even sweeter since it came on the heels of a bitter disappointment stemming from a 2-1 loss to Mars in the WPIAL Class AA championship match on Nov. 3.
“We lost WPIALs so this was our big redemption to get back even better and win states,” junior midfielder Amanda Kachaylo said. “We've been working so hard, and we did it.”
Moon might not have raised the state championship trophy were it not for an incredible defensive play by Kachaylo with 21:29 remaining in regulation.
Archbishop Wood finally got some pressure on the Tigers net and got a shot on goal that Nicole Falcione saved but couldn't control and moved her out of position. Vikings midfielder Laura Romano shoved the ball back toward the open net, but Kachaylo ran down the shot and cleared it wide of the cage.
“I saw Nicole hit it, and then it was kind of going in and I said, ‘Oh, shoot,' in my head,” Kachaylo said. “It looked like it was on the line and their girl came out of nowhere and thankfully I was able to keep it out.”
Kachaylo also helped set up the goal that gave Moon its state championship. At the 18-yard line in the attacking zone, she sent a pass across for Grese, who nudged a roller past Archbishop Wood goalkeeper Deanna Messner when she came out to challenge the shot.
“We calmed down and we played soccer and the nerves went away,” Grese said. “We put a couple of passes together and I just happened to be the last one to touch it.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.