South Park falls to Bedford in shootout in PIAA girls soccer semfinals
SOMERSET — South Park and Bedford played a classic in freezing conditions Tuesday night in the PIAA Class AA girls soccer semifinals at Somerset High School.
The winner would move on to the state championship game. Unfortunately for South Park, the Eagles headed home.
“I’m proud of our effort,” South Park coach Shelly Thropp said. “It’s tough to lose.”
Bedford’s Taylor Downs fired a high shot past South Park goalkeeper Ali Miklos to lift the Bisons to a 5-4 advantage in a penalty shootout after the teams played to a 2-2 tie.
District 5 champion Bedford (21-0) will face District 3 runner-up Lewisburg (13-8-3) in the PIAA championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.
Lewisburg defeated Boiling Springs, 1-0, earlier Tuesday in the other Class 2A semifinal at Hamburg High School.
“It’s a great feeling for these kids, man. They deserve it,” Bedford coach Jeff Thomas said. “They’ve worked hard ever since last year. Nonstop.”
Bedford and South Park (21-3) connected on their first four penalty kicks after battling to a stalemate through two regulation periods and two overtimes.
Following a scoreless first half, Taylor Glowa and Haleigh Finale scored second-half goals for South Park to force overtime after Bedford opened the period with a pair of goals.
Amber Thomas got credit for the first Bisons goal at the 37:17 mark on a shot that deflected off South Park’s Grace Albitz and into the net past Miklos. Robyn Casalena made it 2-0 with a goal six minutes later.
“Just whatever we were doing in the first half wasn’t working,” Thropp said. “It’s hard to come back from 2-0. I’m happy that we did. We made a few changes, and they worked so we stuck with it through the overtimes. Thought we could have gotten a third (goal). We had some opportunities to get a third, but unfortunately the shootout didn’t go our way.”
Glowa, Cassidy Zandier, Avery Miklos and Finale scored during the penalty shootout for South Park, but the Eagles came up short after Bedford goalkeeper Lindsay Mowry stopped Nicole Clydesdale’s shot on South Park’s fifth attempt, paving the way for Downs’ game-winning tally.
“It’s a long time coming,” Jeff Thomas said. “We’ve been here in the semis four times, and we finally got over the hump.”
Dave Mackall is a freelance writer.