Loveland sisters lead Springdale
A combination of the Loveland sisters and a solid defensive effort gave Springdale a 3-0 victory over the Sewickley Academy Panthers in a Class AA girls soccer quarterfinal match at the Mars Athletic Complex.
A pair of goals by Brittany Loveland and another from sister, Breanne, proved to be the difference in Thursday night’s victory.
The win advanced the Dynamos (16-1-2) to the semifinals Wednesday night against Center at a site and time to be determined. The Trojans routed Mount Pleasant, 8-2, in their quarterfinal contest. The victory also secures a berth in the PIAA playoffs for Springdale, which begin Nov. 10.
The loss ended the season for Sewickley Academy at 15-4-1.
Brittany Loveland took a pass in and outraced two Sewickley defenders nearly 40 yards, blasting a shot past Panthers goalkeeper Erin Keller with 1:50 left in the first half.
“We needed that goal,” said Springdale coach Jerry Concannon. “We had been putting a lot of pressure on them, and we seemed to have a lot of energy. That goal really gave us a big boost of confidence.”
Sewickley coach Jessica Peluso was impressed with the winners.
“Springdale’s a very dangerous team,” Peluso said. “The second you’re not paying attention, they have good transition, and that’s exactly what happened.”
The Panthers nearly broke the scoring ice earlier in the half. A shot by Chloe Zomnir hit off the hands of Sabrina Adams and ricocheted off the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
“What made me most proud of our team is how we were disprupting their passing in the first half, and we knew that’s what we needed to do,” Peluso said. “If we had scored, it might have gone differently, but it is what it is.”
Brittany Loveland then scored on a header off a pass from Alexa Sarsfield with 36:30 left to put the Dynamos ahead, 2-0. Sarsfield soon after had a goal disallowed because of a push, but Springdale was in control by then, and the defense did the rest.
Nudge Vaccarelli twice tried to get Sewickly Academy on the scoreboard midway through the second half. The first drive was stopped by Kaitlyn Koontz, and the second, after Vaccarelli hesitated too long, and Adams was able to make the save.
Sara Cook also got open near the front of the goal box, but Adams came sliding out toward the ball before Cook could get a shot off.
“We made a few adjustments on the field and some support adjustments,” Concannon said. “Sometimes, when you generate offense, you can generate some pressure on their backs, and their focus shifts there.”
Junior Breanne Loveland got the final goal on an assist by sister Brittany with 5:12 to go, concluding the scoring.
Brittany Loveland now has 35 goals on the season.