Waynesburg girls soccer ends Freeport’s season
The Freeport girls soccer team hoped for a repeat performance.
The Yellowjackets’ run to last year’s WPIAL Class AA title game included a victory over Waynesburg in the semifinals.
The teams met again in the semifinals, but Monday’s rematch from 2016 was a different story.
The Lady Raiders scored three goals in the first half and added four over the final 40 minutes to post a 7-0 victory at Moon High School.
Waynesburg (18-1) was off and running after scoring its first goal just 4 minutes, 50 seconds into the game.
“That first goal is always the most dangerous,” Freeport coach Brittni Grenninger said. “They are a phenomenal team, and it was so tough to fight back.”
Freeport (16-3-1) was shut out one other time this season, but it wasn’t a loss. The No. 2 Yellowjackets played to a scoreless tie with section foe Springdale on Oct. 9.
Waynesburg, the No. 3 seed, had 130 goals in 18 games through their 5-0 quarterfinal victory over Avonworth. The Lady Raiders defense had been stout as well as it had surrendered only 12 goals.
Waynesburg will play in the WPIAL title game against No. 1 Freedom, a 3-0 winner Monday over No. 4 Yough, in the second Class AA semifinal at Moon High School.
That championship contest will be at Highmark Stadium, but a date and time has yet to be determined.
Because only two teams in Class AA advance to the PIAA tournament, Freeport’s season is over.
“Beating a good team like Freeport is huge for confidence,” Waynesburg coach Joe Kijowski said.
“We have to approach (the WPIAL title game) the same way we have all season: like we’re always the underdogs.”
Freeport established early possession and recorded a corner kick one minute into the contest. The corner was cleared away by the Waynesburg defense.
Three minutes later, Raiders sophomore midfielder Kaley Pell gave her team a 1-0 lead.
Freeport junior keeper Jenna Manke came out to defend the Waynesburg offensive rush and was knocked off balance. The Yellowjackets defense tried to get into position, but Pell was able to finish the play.
Freeport then re-established possession and recorded several scoring chances, including two off of free kicks and a second corner kick.
Perhaps the best chance of the first half for the Yellowjackets came at 24:59 as junior midfielder Abby Bastaja came down the left wing and fired a shot from 13 yards that skimmed off the cross bar and out of play.
Waynesburg weathered the Freeport offensive storm and made it 2-0 at 18:11 on just its second shot of the game as Pitt commit Madison Clayton crossed the ball to Rhea Kijowski, who pulled the ball in and fired it home.
The goal for Kijowski was the first of her four goals in the game. She has 36 goals on the season.
Kijowski tallied her second goal with 6:21 until halftime. Waynesburg finished the first half with three shots, and all were goals.
“Our girls played really well in the first half, and it was tough to see the score on the scoreboard,” Grenninger said. “That kind of took the wind out of our sails. We were hoping to get a bounce to go our way. (Waynesburg) then came out in the second half and still was aggressive. We tried to come back but just couldn’t get anything going.”
Sophomore Kylie Sinn scored a pair of goals in the second half to help extend the Lady Raiders’ advantage.
Fourteen seniors put on a Yellowjackets soccer uniform for the final time Monday.
Over the past four years, Freeport compiled a 52-22-5 overall record with a 32-8-2 mark, two section championships, one WPIAL finals appearance and a trip to the PIAA tournament in 2016.
“These past two seasons especially have really helped to define this program,” Grenninger said.
“The seniors the last couple of seasons have left a foundation for us to build on. They finished with 16 wins this year, and it was one of the best seasons in program history. The seniors this year will leave some big shoes to fill, but hopefully we can keep the younger girls engaged and wanting to continue the success.”