Burrell beats buzzer to take OT win from Mt. Pleasant in WPIAL girls soccer playoffs

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | 9:32 PM

Despite being the higher seed, Burrell could not play at home in the first round of the WPIAL Class 2A girls soccer playoffs due to a track renovation at Buccaneer Stadium.

Instead, the Lady Bucs’ opening matchup against Mt. Pleasant was moved to their opponent’s home field.

Burrell, though, still lived up to its No. 6 seeding — in thrilling fashion — with a 3-2, double-overtime victory over the 11th-seeded Vikings on Tuesday night at Viking Stadium.

Junior Kaitlyn Postupack, playing her first game at forward, found the back of the net with 28 seconds left in the second extra frame to avoid penalty kicks and send the Bucs to the quarterfinals.

Freshman Leah Brockett assisted the game-winner, which happened in a flash with the game appeared destined for a shootout.

“I saw Leah so I knew I had to get back,” Postupack said. “I touched it over, got a foot on it and put in the corner of the net. I didn’t want to go to PKs. That’s what was going through my mind.”

Burrell (8-3) has eliminated the Vikings two years in a row, winning last year in the first round, 5-0.

Mt. Pleasant, which was looking for its first playoff victory since 2015, ends the season at 6-5.

The Bucs advance to play No. 3 North Catholic (10-2-1) in the quarterfinals at noon Saturday at Mars Athletic Complex. North Catholic defeated Freeport, 7-0.

“We wanted to get two girls wide. That was our game plan, but it hadn’t been working,” Burrell coach Frank Nesko said. “I didn’t think it would take until 30 seconds left (in double OT) for it to work.”

Mt. Pleasant came on late to force overtime. Senior forward Breanna Peck was in the right spot to deflect a long cross from Mackenzie Leeder into the net to make it 2-2 with 1:29 left in regulation.

“Mt. Pleasant really made some adjustments, and I hate to say it, but I may have been outcoached a little there,” Nesko said. “(Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland) did a nice job. It’s a coaching lesson for me.”

Nesko said the Bucs tried to forget about having to play on the road as the higher seed.

“It wasn’t about how they reacted, but how they responded,” he said about his players. “We knew to expect (Mt. Pleasant’s) very best.”

Said Postupack: “We had to come a long way to get here. We didn’t want to lose.”

Mt. Pleasant trailed 2-0 for a large portion of the game and made some second-half adjustments to kickstart the offense.

“We worked hard for it,” Garland said. “In the first half, we weren’t playing our game. We were giving the ball away and chasing. (Burrell) got loose there at the end, and we gave them a chance.”

Mt. Pleasant had few quality scoring chances for most of regulation but converted when it found one late in the second half.

Junior forward Carsyn Rivardo delivered an arcing cross deep in the end zone to junior defender Hannah Gesinski, who scored past Bucs goalie Ali Hughes to make it 2-1.

Gesinski was hobbled by a lower leg injury and was in and out of the lineup following her score.

Burrell took a 2-0 lead about 16 minutes in, as Postupack and Brockett scored goals five minutes apart in a light rain.

Postupack took a lead through ball and scored past Vikings junior keeper Jenna Piper at 29:36 of the first half before Brockett dashed ahead for a breakaway, taking on Piper one-on-one before finishing to make it 2-0 at 24:45.

Hughes made nine saves for Burrell, while Piper stopped five shots for the Vikings.

“We’ll learn from this,” Garland said. “We saw some good things. We’ll take it and get ready for next year.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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