A-K Valley high school boys soccer notebook: Plum slays Class 3A giant in second meeting
Thursday, October 1, 2020 | 10:45 PM
The No. 3 ranked Plum Mustangs feel like they can compete with anyone.
Their confidence never wavers, even when they were facing a top-ranked team in Franklin Regional who had won the past two WPIAL Class 3A titles, hadn’t lost a regular season game in 45 matches and have basically kept other teams scoreless the past three seasons.
In fact, the Panthers had only allowed two goals in 2020 heading into Monday’s matchup with Plum.
Still, the Mustangs weren’t fazed, and they had dropped a 4-1 contest to the Panthers on Sept. 21. On Monday, Plum proved that they weren’t a team that was going to back down either.
Plum midfielder Luke Kolankowski netted a corner kick rebound in the 44th minute and then D.D. Flowers tallied his seventh goal of the season in the 57th minute to push the Mustangs ahead for good and knock off the giant of Class 3A.
“Playing a team like Franklin that hadn’t lost a regular season WPIAL game in like three years, it was nice to come in and win,” Plum coach Raf Kolankowski said. “We played them twice in two weeks, and we got a chance to split with them.”
The Mustangs then extended their winning streak to four Wednesday when they defeated Kiski Area in overtime on their senior night.
The teams played a tightly contested battle throughout the night. Kiski Area dropped back into a defensive front that didn’t allow Plum much of anything, other than controlling the possession. At one point, Kiski Area coach Sean Arnold had five defenders on his back line and Coach Kolankowski responded with four attackers.
Nothing came to fruition in regular time, but in the first few minutes of overtime, junior defender Mike Weleski sent a long ball over the top of the Kiski Area defense and senior forward AJ Koma settled it, took a touch and fired it into the back of the net for the equalizer.
“At one point they had like seven or eight guys in the box and it’s really hard to play against that,” Kolankowski said. “Basically, their plan was to counter or get one of those set-piece goals, but I think we had like 80% possession or something like that. We found a way, and that’s all that matters.”
The perfect start
After losing five seniors, four of whom were top scorers last year, you’d think that the Springdale Dynamos might take a step back in 2020.
Don’t tell Springdale that.
Through six games this season, the Dynamos are undefeated. They’ve recorded three clean sheets, scoring 32 goals and only allowing five. They’ve scored nine or more goals twice.
The Dynamos didn’t reach the 32-goal mark until their 10th game last season when senior Mike Mitchell and Ephrain Duku went on to score a combined 39 goals.
Last season, the Dynamos received a boost from Mitchell’s little brother Chris, who went on to score eight goals and tally seven assists as a freshman. Chris is back this season and has four goals and seven assists, but freshman Will Lawrence is leading the way for the Dynamos. He’s scored a team-high 11 goals and has also recorded two assists.
All year long, the Burrell Bucs (2-1, 2-1) have been waiting to play on their brand-new turf field at the high school. On Saturday, they’ll have the opportunity to be the first Burrell team to break in the new accommodations when they play Derry at 1 p.m.
Up until this point, the Bucs have played all their games on the road. They opened their season with an 8-0 win over Derry, then traveled to Ligonier Valley, who they beat 11-0. On Monday, they suffered their first loss against WPIAL Class 2A runner-up Deer Lakes, 4-1.
In just their second season as a program, the Leechburg Blue Devils are making strides.
In their two losses, which came against No. 2 Deer Lakes and No. 4 Shady Side Academy, the Blue Devils looked for the positives. Against the Lancers, Leechburg struck first as Ashton Redmond scored four minutes into the game. They kept it close in the first half and only trailed 2-1 heading into halftime before Deer Lakes scored seven more goals.
Shady Side scored its three goals in the first half, and Leechburg kept it close in the second half.
Ashton Redmond leads the Blue Devils with four goals.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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