Gateway girls turn focus to run in AAA playoffs
After what he called an up and down regular season that featured a hectic finish, Gateway varsity girls soccer team head coach Kevin Sanders said his players are ready for a clean slate the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs provide.
“I think everyone is glad to get the regular season over with and is ready for the playoffs,” Sanders said.
“There were a lot of quality teams that didn't make the playoffs and will be sitting at home. We are happy to be in.”
The Gators went 1-2-1 over their final four games and finished the regular season 9-7-1.
They tied Section 3-AAA champion Fox Chapel, 0-0, to give the Foxes their only section blemish but then suffered a 3-0 loss to section rival Plum in a final battle for second place in the standings.
Gateway rebounded Saturday with a 2-0 triumph over Section 1 champion Penn-Trafford.
The Gators concluded the regular season Monday with a 2-0 loss at Hampton.
“Hampton is a good team,” Sanders said.
“They are playoff caliber. They beat Fox Chapel. They were in a tough section.
“We didn't play bad against Hampton. We were more cautious than we would be for a section game, and we wanted to make sure we didn't do anything to hurt ourselves before the playoffs. We did some different things in the game.”
The WPIAL committee that assembles the playoff brackets for soccer was expected to meet Wednesday to put together the postseason pairings.
The release of the brackets was to happen past the deadline for this week's edition.
Sanders said earlier this week that the committee had received requests from Gateway and other teams in regards to scheduling dates, times and locations based on a variety of conflicts.
Gateway students, Sanders said, are scheduled to take the PSAT test Saturday, and Gateway has homecoming events set for both Friday and Saturday.
The Gators finished 8-3-1 in Section 3, two points behind Plum (9-3) in the standings.
Each team in section play earned three points for a win and one point for a tie.
Gateway had 11 shots against Plum but wasn't able to find the back of the net.
It was the first time since 2007 that Plum had won both section games with Gateway in a single season.
Things went better for the Gators on Saturday at Penn-Trafford.
Two second-half goals — one each from senior Emily Stevens and junior Rachel Giannangeli — were the difference.
Stevens' goal, her team-leading eighth of the season, came off a corner kick from junior Maggie Hilton at 22:20.
It was Hilton's team-best 11th assist.
Senior Hannah Feinberg and freshman Stephanie Vojtek teamed up to assist Giannangeli on her goal that came with 4:37 left.
Penn-Trafford outshot Gateway, 7-6, but the Gators defense and senior goalkeeper Allie Warsaw combined to record the team's seventh shutout of the season.
Freshman Madeline Hansmann, a regular starter this season, was injured in the game against Fox Chapel on Oct. 7 and missed the last three regular-season games against Plum, Penn-Trafford and Hampton.
Sanders said she should be back in the lineup for the playoffs.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.