Freeport advances to 1st WPIAL girls soccer final with win over Waynesburg
Freeport didn’t feel pressure in its WPIAL girls soccer semifinal against Waynesburg on Saturday. The Yellowjackets applied it — relentlessly.
A swarming Yellowjackets attack dominated possession and frustrated Waynesburg, leading No. 2 Freeport to a 3-1 victory in a Class AA semifinal Saturday afternoon at Elizabeth Forward and the school’s first trip to the WPIAL championship game.
“Our girls were pretty pumped for this,” Freeport coach Brittni Grenninger said. “They’d never been this far before, let alone a championship, and I told them if they came out shooting, they’d have a very good opportunity to win this game.”
The Yellowjackets (16-3-1), who will play No. 1 Freedom in the WPIAL Class AA final at Highmark Stadium at a time and date to be determined Nov. 3-5, beat Waynesburg by playing a simple game of keep-away.
As it did in many of its games throughout the season, Freeport kept possession in Waynesburg’s defensive end, using its speed and passes to open spaces to counteract the Raiders’ defense. It led to early goals in both halves and an easy victory.
“We want them to be able to move the ball with speed and with control, and they’re just able to do it,” Grenninger said. “We have some great athletes, and we just have speed all over the field.”
No. 3 Waynesburg (16-3) didn’t get its first shot on goal until more than halfway into the first half.
“The teams start getting more physical, and there are more fouls,” said Freeport senior Cameron Lindsay, who had a goal and an assist. “That’s how you break teams down. You do one-touch passes, possess the ball the entire game, and they get frustrated and start playing stupid.
“That’s one of our strategies: passing, passing, passing, and once you see the pass go up forward, that’s when you go.”
Freeport struck just over 3 minutes into the game when junior Piper Claypool’s shot from about 30 yards went over goalkeeper Emily McCarty’s head and just underneath the crossbar.
Lindsay took advantage of a Waynesburg mistake to double the lead 4 minutes after halftime. McCarty came out of the box to attempt to clear, but she whiffed on her kick, leaving Lindsay to dribble in and shoot into the open net.
Five minutes later, Lindsay set up junior Kaylee Comperatore in front of the net for Freeport’s third goal.
“We stressed the importance to them because quick goals can take the wind out of the other team’s sails,” Grenninger said. “We knew the quicker we scored, the better off we would be. We keep that momentum going, and they play a little looser.”
Waynesburg ended Freeport’s five-game shutout streak with about 5 minutes remaining. Madison Clayton took a long pass on the sideline, beat defender Kim Mixon and put a bad-angle shot off Yellowjackets goalkeeper Cassie Suran and into the net.
“Their effort was definitely there,” Waynesburg coach Joe Kijowski said. “Did we play mistake-free? Not so much. We made some mistakes that aren’t characteristic to the way we normally play, and it cost us today. They’re too good to make mistakes against.”
Freeport, which also clinched a PIAA playoff berth with Saturday’s victory, can become the Alle-Kiski Valley’s first girls soccer champion since Springdale in 2009.
“Even hearing those words, it gives me chills,” Lindsay said of a potential title. “If you would have told me this my freshman year, I would have thought you were crazy. We just work so hard and we’re finally here, and it just feels so great.”