Lady Barons’ run halted in States

By on November 16, 2016
Manheim Central freshman keeper Mia Reed (11) makes a diving stop, one of her eight saves in the game, to keep Moon’s Emily Orr off the scoreboard in the first half of last Saturday’s State playoff game. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Manheim Central freshman keeper Mia Reed (11) makes a diving stop, one of her eight saves in the game, to keep Moon’s Emily Orr off the scoreboard in the first half of last Saturday’s State playoff game. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

The Hollidaysburg High School stadium field didn’t hold a lot of fond memories for the Manheim Central girls soccer team.

It was there two years ago where the Lady Barons suffered a 1-0 loss to Montour in the final 23 seconds in the PIAA State AA quarterfinals.

The State’s Elite Eight was the furthest that MC had advanced in program history.

Last Saturday, they were back in that some position and — with a berth in the PIAA’s Final Four at stake — looking to make history.

In Hollidaysburg, of all places, where Manheim Central was trying to reverse its fortunes.

Unfortunately for the Lady Barons, District Seven champ Moon needed just 59 seconds to take the upper hand on a goal by Lauren Baumgartner, and it was a lead they never relinquished while cruising to a 4-0 shutout of Manheim Central in the State Triple-A quarterfinals.

The Central girls, who captured their first-ever District Three crown just two weeks ago, finished the season with a 19-5 record.

“We had a fantastic year,” said assistant Brad Weaver, stepping in for boss John Shetromph, who missed the game due to a previous commitment. “We were the first team ever from Manheim Central in soccer history to in a District championship and we talked (afterward) about, ‘Let’s celebrate the season. There’s no reason to hang our heads low.’ The seniors provided such excellent leadership the entire season. We’re happy the way the season went, we’re not happy the way the season ended.”

Four different players found the back of the net for a Moon team which proved opportunistic while frustrating the Lady Barons with relentless pressure.

“Moon is a very good, disciplined team,” Weaver said. “They move the ball very well. They put a lot of pressure on us and we never got into our flow that we’ve been accustomed to playing. Hats off to them. Just a well-coached, well-disciplined team.”

The Lady Tigers set the early tone as Kristi Kania, off a restart, passed the ball to Baumgartner, who sent a long, arching shot toward the net from about 40 yards out. With MC keeper Mia Reed possibly distracted by a Moon player trying for a header in front, the ball found the left corner of the goal with 39:01 left in the half.

“There was a little confusion on the play,” Weaver acknowledged. “Talking to the girls, they thought there might have been someone in an offside position. (It’s) no reason to not continue to play the play out to the whistle, and again, they got ahead quickly and it just added to their momentum and maybe put us back on our heels a little bit more.”

While building a 17-4 advantage in shots in the game, Moon continued to carry the play. Attacking at every turn, they forced the Central girls into errant passes and never allowed them to find a rhythm.

Manheim Central earned its first corner kick with 14:30 to go on the first-half clock, but came up empty. Less than a minute later, Moon countered, as junior forward Delaney Snyder got the ball on the left side, dodged an MC defender and broke in alone against Reed before depositing the ball into the right corner of the net for a 2-0 Lady Tiger lead with 13:41 remaining in the stanza.

Later, Reed, who finished with eight saves, robbed junior midfielder Emily Orr with a diving stop to keep it 2-0 at the half.

But with just 2:57 elapsed in the second, Orr would not be denied, connecting from close range to make it a three-goal advantage.

At the 32-minute mark, Manheim Central had one of its best scoring opportunities on a free kick by sophomore Maddie Carper, who blasted a shot just barely high over the crossbar.

“We asked her to drive it high,” Weaver said, “she did that and unfortunately for us, it went a little high.”

For the game, the Lady Tigers had a 5-2 edge in corner kicks, and Manheim Central got the final of those with 20:15 remaining, but couldn’t convert.

Finally, with the outcome all but decided, Moon senior midfielder Emma Thomas added an insurance goal with in the 36th minute to wrap it up.

“We were prepared to play the game and we just for whatever reason couldn’t get settled,” Weaver said. “So congratulations to (Moon).”

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