Southmoreland shuts out Mt. Pleasant
A power outage in late September at Russ Grimm Field forced Southmoreland to reschedule the first of its two girls soccer games against Mt. Pleasant until the end of the season.
For the Scotties, it was worth the wait.
Junior center-midfielder Haley Skovira scored late in the first half and added another early in the second to help Tribune-Review No. 3 Southmoreland to a 3-0 victory over rival No. 2 Mt. Pleasant on Thursday.
Southmoreland (12-1-0, 11-0-0) now has a one-game lead in Section 1-AA.
It was the first loss of the season for Mt. Pleasant (13-1-0, 10-1-0) and the first time the Vikings were shut out in 20 games since the Scotties did the honors Oct. 10, 2009.
"We felt we were ready then," Southmoreland coach Bob King said. "I think we're playing better now as a group than we were then, and it definitely helps."
Because of the early season electrical failure, the two teams will play twice in five days, with the rematch at 7 p.m. Monday at Mt. Pleasant.
"I'm sure they're going to come at us come Monday again," King said.
Junior Shelby Hawkins didn't see many shots, but she stopped the few that came her way, posting her fifth consecutive shutout and eighth of the season. Southmoreland hasn't allowed a goal since a 3-1 victory Sept. 27 at Yough.
"It's our team as a whole because I don't leave it on my defense or leave it on my keeper. But they're playing fantastic now, and I like the way they're playing," King said. "Our outside midfielders are coming back and playing defense and so are the midfielders, so it's been a total team effort."
Because of the way Southmoreland has been shutting down its opponents' attack, Hawkins has had several easy outings. Though she admits that, of the two shots she faced, one was a challenge.
"We've been working really well and working for each other and really relying on each other," Hawkins said. "We're trying to become a state champion, so we're working hard together to win."
What also has helped is that Southmoreland has been scoring goals in bunches.
During their shutout streak, the Scotties have outscored their opponents, 34-0, and are getting goals from unlikely sources like Skovira, who only had four all season before the two she scored against Mt. Pleasant.
"She's got a powerful shot from the outside, but she's one of those ones who always wants to set it up perfectly," King said. "We don't change our philosophy and don't try to go defensively, but it's a good feeling to know when we put the girls out there that it's going to be OK."