Belle Vernon soccer team clips Connellsville |

Belle Vernon soccer team clips Connellsville

The Connellsville girls soccer team dropped a hard-fought, 1-0 decision to visiting Belle Vernon in Section 6-AAA action.

But it’s hard to imagine the Falcons giving a more spirited effort.

“The girls stepped up,” Connellsville coach Jeff Puskar said. “Our coverage was strong, and we marked really well. Belle Vernon tries to outnumber you, but the girls really stayed with their marks.”

Connellsville’s defensive strategy worked for most of the game. Belle Vernon (10-2-2, 8-0-2) had the majority of the scoring chances throughout, but Connellsville (7-7, 6-4) didn’t provide many clean looks at the goal.

“It was a very good game,” Belle Vernon coach Paul Sasko said. “Connellsville always plays us tough here. Their team is a different team when we play them here. They played physical, and they marked really tight. They played a great game.”

Earlier this season, Belle Vernon beat Connellsville, 4-0, but the Falcons were so strong defensively that they were able to keep the rematch close throughout.

“I’m just ecstatic,” Puskar said.

There were plenty of reason’s for Puskar’s excitement. The Falcons got great goaltending from Ashlyn Fratto. Plus, Mia Lonigro, Aria Kreinbrook and Kensey Durst all caught Puskar’s eye defensively.

“Ashlyn Fratto played great, and it extended out to Mia, Aria and Kensey,” Puskar said.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, one great play by Belle Vernon senior Kylee Heck was the difference.

Approximately 16 minutes into the first half, Heck, who played at Connellsville before she transferred to Belle Vernon after her sophomore season, grabbed a loose ball near midfield and was able to beat two Connellsville defenders. Heck raced in on goal and slid a low shot that beat Fratto for the game’s only score.

“Kylee made a nice play at midfield, and she had a good look, and she buried it,” Sasko said. “Big-time players score big-time goals, and she is a big-time player.”

The Falcons, despite giving up a goal, never gave in.

They continued with their defensive strategy and, occasionally, were able to generate a scoring chance. On two occasions, the Falcons just missed the net on good opportunities.

In the last seconds of the game, Allyson Panzella sent a header toward the Belle Vernon goal. However, Lindsey Lash, who wasn’t tested much, was in perfect position to make the save and preserve the win.

“We had three golden opportunities, and if we put any one of those in, maybe it’s a different story,” Puskar said.

Still, the Falcons likely gained a lot of confidence from this game, and they will try to apply it in upcoming section games against Yough, Waynesburg and Albert Gallatin.

“We still have to try to take care of Yough and Albert Gallatin and, hopefully, Waynesburg,” Puskar said.

Connellsville’s next game is Wednesday at Yough.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.