WPIAL champion Norwin girls score comeback win over Seneca Valley
The Norwin girls soccer team refused to lose.
The WPIAL champion Knights rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to defeat Seneca Valley, 3-2, in double overtime at Mars on Tuesday night to win their first game in the PIAA Class AAA playoffs since 2010.
“Before we went out for the second overtime, our seniors said ‘we are not done,' ” Norwin coach Lauren Czapor-Karcher said. “We shut them down in the second half and the first overtime. (The players) said they knew we'd get one in. And we did.”
After battling to a stalemate in the first overtime, Lexie Kolano scored off a cross 1:20 into the second overtime for the win.
Norwin (23-0) previously defeated the Raiders twice this season, 1-0 on Oct. 9 and 2-0 on Nov. 2 in the WPIAL semifinals.
Seneca Valley struck first just 6 minutes in when a cross from the left was knocked out by the Knights defense, but Cassidy Testa collected the rebound and buried it in the back of the net. Just under 10 minutes later, Sarah Anderson scored to make it 2-0.
Norwin's best opportunity to score in the first half came in the final two minutes when a Jess Boytim free kick from 40 yards out was collected by Alexis Kendro, but the sophomore's shot went out of bounds.
“To play a team three times like that is tough, and Seneca Valley is not as easy team to play,” Czapor-Karcher said. “Coming into this game knowing we just played them, we knew they'd be coming out stronger than before. They didn't want their season to end either.”
Emily Harrigan got the Knights on the scoreboard as she split a pair of Raiders defenders and buried the ball into the corner of the goal with 32:31 left in regulation. Harrigan added her second goal with 2 minutes, 35 seconds to play after Norwin reversed field quickly on Seneca Valley's attacking play.
“She is a phenomenal player,” Czapor-Karcher said. “She plays with ease whenever she steps on the field. She doesn't panic. She will take her shots whether they are good ones or not.”
It was the first time this season Norwin gave up more than a single goal. The Knights entered the game outscoring opponents 125-4, but a mix of injuries and using different combinations led to early miscues.
“Defensively they did maintain their composure,” Czapor-Karcher said. “They had a couple of breakdowns. Seneca Valley has a great team and quick forwards. (Goalkeeper) Sam (Wexell) is a smart player and played a great game.”
Norwin will face Downingtown West, which defeated Conestoga Valley, 3-1, in the quarterfinals Saturday at a time and site to be determined.
It was the fourth straight appearance in the PIAA playoffs for the Raiders (17-5). Seneca Valley coach Dave Sylvester declined to comment after the game.