Toohey's 5 goals lead Mt. Pleasant over Ligonier Valley
The next time the Mt. Pleasant girls soccer team takes the field, the stakes will be much higher than they were in Monday's nonsection game against Ligonier Valley.
But that doesn't mean Mt. Pleasant's regular-season finale was meaningless.
With the WPIAL playoffs likely starting at week's end, the Vikings used the last game on their schedule to fine-tune in preparation for the postseason.
Judging by the result, the Vikings could be ready to roll.
Jordan Toohey scored five goals, including four in the second half, as Mt. Pleasant cruised to a 6-0 win over the Rams.
Toohey has 44 goals. Fellow senior Rachel Salai has 23 assists, including one in Monday's victory.
The Vikings have won five games in a row, all by shutout.
“They played well,” Mt. Pleasant coach Josh Pajak said. “We wanted to make adjustments in the second half to free up space, and we were able to do that. That's a good indicator for the playoffs.”
Mt. Pleasant dictated play, but Ligonier Valley had an early chance to take the lead, only to be thwarted by a big save from goalkeeper Anna Riddle.
“She made a big save, and that got us on track,” Pajak said.
Moments later, Lexi Grosser scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal. She made a move in the slot and buried a shot past Rams' goalkeeper Becca Pleskovitch. Pleskovitch made some key saves throughout the game, but the Vikings kept pressing and were rewarded when Toohey beat a defender down the left side and scored midway through the first half to make it 2-0.
The score stayed that way for the rest of the first half and the first 14 minutes of the second half. Ligonier Valley stayed within striking distance.
The Rams made an early push in the second half, but Riddle was up to the challenge. Pleskovitch also made some big stops to keep the game close, but Toohey and the Vikings finally broke it open.
With approximately 26 minutes remaining, Toohey scored to give the Vikings some breathing room. Then with 10 minutes remaining, Toohey scored again to make it 4-0.
But Toohey was far from done. She scored two more goals in the closing minutes to complete her five-goal night.
Toohey likes the way the team is playing heading into the playoffs.
“It was close early, but we stayed calm and stayed focused,” Toohey said. “It proved that we can take a close game and make it a non-close game. I'm excited (for the playoffs). I think we can make a good run.”
For Ligonier Valley, the Vikings proved to be too strong.
“We knew going in that Toohey was the real deal, and we had to stop her,” Ligonier Valley coach Eric Vogelsang said. “I give Mt. Pleasant credit. They passed well, and they played one of their better games. All year we have been able to hang with quality teams, but then we run out of gas in the second half.”
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at email@example.com.