Central Valley wins PIAA Class AA girls soccer championship
HERSHEY — The perfect ending to a perfect season.
That's what the Central Valley girls soccer team experienced after topping District 3 runner-up Trinity, 2-1, to win the program's first-ever PIAA Class AA championship Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.
Carolina Lucci and Cassie Pritt scored first-half goals to help the Warriors finish with a 23-0-0 record after reaching the PIAA final for the first time in program history.
“It feels great to leave never having to say, ‘I wish we would have won that game. If only we were to have done this,' ” senior defender Ashley Mutkus said. “There's nothing. We were perfect. I could not have asked for more.”
The Warriors topped Hopewell — the third of four wins over their chief rival — to claim WPIAL gold Nov. 2.
Central Valley then tore through the state playoffs, making it a round past what the Warriors did when they lost to Villa Joseph Marie in the 2011 semis.
“We just kept building,” Lucci said. “Then once we made it to states, our goal was to win states.”
Look out, too: Central Valley returns nine starters — losing Mutkus and standout midfielder Katie Alexander — next season.
One of those returning is Lucci, a freshman who took a lead pass from Alexander in the 20th minute and finished with the outside of her foot a split second before colliding with Trinity goalkeeper Mary Stephens.
The goal was Lucci's team-high 40th of the season.
“For a freshman to score 40 goals this year ... she showed great composure on that,” Warriors coach Mark Perry said. “She knows the goalie's coming. She knows she's going to take a hit. She just uses the outside of the foot and slides it in there.”
Pritt's header made it 2-0 in the 30th minute, triggering the first time all season Trinity (22-3-0) had allowed two goals in a game. Pritt, a sophomore, finished with 14 goals this season.
“They pressured us all over the field,” Trinity coach Terry Mull said. “We just couldn't make adjustments when we wanted to. It threw us off a little bit.”
Addy Fitzgerald gave Trinity a glimmer of hope with a bending shot from about 30 yards in the 60th minute that glanced off Central Valley goalkeeper Lauren Hamilton's fingertips and cut Central Valley's lead to 2-1.
It was Fitzgerald's fourth goal in as many state playoff games.
Trinity made one final push with about 30 seconds left, but shots from Ashley Mahaffey and Ali Basom — the former's attempt hitting the crossbar — didn't get past Hamilton.
“We weren't letting them score,” Mutkus said. “You work so hard to get two goals, we're not going to let them get back into the game.”
As time ran out, Central Valley's students began chanting, “We are ... CV,” though the word perfect could've been substituted for the name of the school, which has only existed since 2010.
Twenty-three games, 23 wins.
“It can't get any better than this,” Perry said. “To win every game we've played.”