Persistence pays off
The Mt. Pleasant boys soccer team got off to a bit of a slow start offensively in Tuesday's Section 1-AA game against visiting Derry, but Gio Orozco found the net twice in the second half to lift the Vikings to a 2-0 win.
Mt. Pleasant is one of five section teams locked in a close battle for a playoff spot, making every game crucial. Despite the Vikings' failure to score in the first period, coach Roy Olinger said he was pleased with the way his team played.
"I thought they played really well," he said. "We played in our half of the field for practically the entire game."
Matt Remaley, Orlando Orozco and Gio Orozco sparked Mt. Pleasant's offense early in the game as they each tested Trojans goalkeeper Luke Niezelski in the opening minutes. Derry's Justin Rectenwald ventured into the Vikings' end of the field briefly, but Shawn Driscoll was quick to clear the ball. Eric DeLaGarza and Nathan Bundy made a couple of nice defensive plays, but Trevor Cutlip, Nick Marhefka and Luke D'Amico all had some scoring chances. Niezelski withstood them all, sending the game into the break in a scoreless tie.
Olinger worried that inclement weather moving through the area would hit, forcing the game to end in a stalemate, but his fears were groundless. Mt. Pleasant began to buzz around the Trojans' (3-14, 1-11) net almost as soon as the second period began, and eventually, that persistence paid off. Gio Orozco angled the ball into the net from the right side about 10 minutes into the half.
Marhefka, Orlando Orozco and several of their teammates immediately looked to give the Vikings (11-6-1, 7-4-1) a two-goal advantage, but it took another 20 minutes to get past Niezelski. Cutlip gained control of the ball near the left sideline and passed it to Gio Orozco, who booted a hard shot straight at the net and past Niezelski.
The insurance goal turned out to be unnecessary as Driscoll and Dylin Maust helped to stifle Derry's offense, and goalie Joey Fearer earned his fifth shutout of the season.
Mt. Pleasant will finish the regular season with games against Belle Vernon and Southmoreland. Olinger said both match-ups will be tough, but he expects Matt Riggs and Kurt Olinger to return from injuries.
"That will give us our whole team back, which we haven't had all season," coach Olinger said. "If we're firing on all cylinders, we could be a tough team to beat."