Charleroi upset bid slips away
CHARLEROI -- The Charleroi Area High girls' soccer team was five minutes away from ending a disappointing season with a big win over rival Monessen Monday.
Instead the Lady Cougars had to look back on a tough 2-1 Class AA Section 6 defeat.
"Our girls have refused to lose in so many games that we could have lost," said Monessen coach coach Bill Hughes Jr. "This was another one and we were able to pull this one out. But I have to give Charleroi credit. They beat us in every possible way in every facet of the game in the first 75 minutes."
"We played well for most of the game," said Charleroi coach Denver Byron. "But when you don't play all out for the full 80 minutes, well, look at what happened tonight. Against a team as good as Monessen, you can not let up."
Alyssa Marks scored in the 16th minute to give Charleroi (4-12-1, 2-9-1) a 1-0 lead.
"Alyssa is a really good player," said Hughes Jr. said. "She is very fast and can control the ball."
Ironically, after Marks used her speed to score the opening goal, it was Monessen's speed that eventually would give provide the win.
Byron pointed out the speed of the Lady Greyhounds' Carly Cocciolone, Breane Minardi, Melissa Popovich and Simone Stepoli.
"Their whole team is fast, but those four are lightning fast," he said. "They can run all day and not get tired."
From Marks' goal until Monessen finally scored with 5:09 remaining, both teams missed numerous opportunities to score.
All year long, it has been the tandem of Carly Cocciolone and Breane Minardi doing the majority of the scoring for Monessen (12-5, 8-4) and the last five minutes was no different.
Minardi fed Cocciolone on both goals, including the game-winner with 57 seconds left.
"Minardi is so unselfish," said Byron. "She could have tried to force it and attempt to score, but she is a team player."
Monessen hosts Trinty today in a playoff tuneup and will set a school record for most wins in a season with a victory.
Byron looks for Monessen to make a good showing in the post-season.
"They have the recipe for doing well in the playoffs," he said. "They have two scorers, a solid defense, and a heck of a goal keeper in (Kelly) Mornack. They will be a tough out. I really believe that."