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Plum girls soccer hopes to keep pace in section after tough loss

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Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Plum's Aaliyah Odom runs with the ball ball against Fox Chapel's Janelle DeBaldo during a game at Fox Chapel on Wednesday, September 11, 2013.
Top high school sports
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Plum varsity girls soccer team was 6-0 overall and 2-0 in Section 3-AAA heading into last week's big conference matchup at Fox Chapel.

The experienced Foxes, runners-up to Gateway in the section last year, also started the season strong, and the Mustangs wanted to keep the momentum up and take care of their section rivals.

However, Fox Chapel scored quickly and held off Plum in a 3-1 result.

Mustangs head coach Mike Proviano said his team was disappointed with the loss, but it was able to look at the game and learn from the experience.

“We talked about it, and then came out and had two pretty good practices Friday and (Monday),” Proviano said.

After the Fox Chapel game on Sept. 11, Plum was n't scheduled to play until a section game against Woodland Hills on Wednesday.

The game was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition.

“We had a little bit of a problem with (Fox Chapel's) speed and physicality,” Proviano said.

“That caught us off guard a little bit. I think some of the freshmen and the other younger girls who were starting and playing a lot of minutes weren't used to the pace that Fox Chapel brings as compared to some of the other teams we had played so far.

“The discussions were all positive. We know we have to raise our games a little bit. We know what we have to correct to get better and to be able to challenge Fox Chapel when we play them again.”

Senior Aaliyah Odom scored Plum's lone goal against Fox Chapel, as she took a through ball from senior Madison Kruger, raced down the right wing and fired off a shot that deflected off a defender's foot into the net.

Plum will pay a visit to Linton Middle School for a section contest against rival Penn Hills on Friday at 5 p.m.

The Linton field holds special meaning to the Plum players because last year's 2-0 victory there clinched the Mustangs' first trip to the WPIAL playoffs since 2002.

Penn Hills still is led by senior Brie Cook, who scored 21 goals last season.

The Indians scored a 5-1 victory over Allderdice on Monday to improve to 1-2 in section play, and they were slated to get their crack at Fox Chapel on Wednesday.

“Brie is a top-notch players, and we know all about her,” Proviano said.

“We can't leave her alone for a second. She's their finisher, and she's pretty dangerous.”

Last year at Plum, Cook scored the lone goal in a 1-0 Penn Hills victory.

“We pretty much controlled that game, but we let her free, and she made us pay,” Proviano said.

Plum hosts defending section champion Gateway on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

The Gators got off to a slow start this season, but they defeated Oakland Catholic, 5-2, Monday to up their section record to 3-0.

Gateway hosts Fox Chapel on Thursday.

The Gators went 11-0-1 in section play last year, and the only blemish on that mark was a 2-2 tie with Plum at Gateway's Antimarino Stadium.

The Mustangs last beat the Gators in 2008.

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

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