Fox Chapel ready for anything as girls soccer playoffs approach
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 | 7:47 PM
The Fox Chapel girls soccer team was less than two minutes away from going to overtime Monday with Class AAAA No. 1 North Allegheny in a Section 1 contest.
But the Tigers got the game winner with 1 minute, 45 seconds left to pull out a 2-1 victory and remain undefeated in section play (10-0).
Foxes coach Peter Torres said the game was an example of the competitiveness throughout the section this season and how it helped prepare his team for possible success in the postseason.
“We won’t be surprised with anything in the playoffs,” said Torres, whose team wrapped up a WPIAL berth with Saturday’s 4-0 win over Shaler. “We will have seen a lot of different formations and styles of play.”
The Foxes, 6-5 in section play and 8-6-1 overall, close out the section slate Thursday at 3:15 p.m. with a home game against a Seneca Valley team tied with Butler for second in the section at 7-3 with two games left.
“We’ve really improved in playing well together as a team, and that showed against North Allegheny,” said senior Blair Echnat, who scored twice in the win over Shaler and has six goals on the season, second on the team to junior Lucy Ream’s 10.
“The different parts of the team are blending really well right now.”
Fox Chapel found itself in a battle with Pine-Richland in the playoff race, and last week’s 3-2 win over the Rams was key in that it evened the season series and gave the Foxes an edge in the section standings.
The Foxes got first-half goals from Echnat, sophomore Kaylee Uribe and junior Emma Wecht and held off a Pine-Richland rally in the second half.
“The conditions weren’t that great. It was raining, and it was cold. But we really wanted that win, and we put everything we had into it,” Echnat said.
Torres said his team is playing with confidence because it is getting back to full strength after the injury bug struck throughout the season.
“We’re getting healthy as a team at the right time, and we’re coming together and playing well,” Torres said. “In Monday’s game in particular, we were in sync and locked in defensively in containing North Allegheny’s dangerous players.”
Six starters, Torres said, missed at least one game, and some were off the field for more than one contest. Torres said he saw players step up at different positions and take advantage of opportunities.
Sophomore Lauren Rabbit, who started the season on the JV team, scored the Foxes’ lone goal against North Allegheny.
“That was a big confidence builder for her,” Torres said. “That shows the girls that it doesn’t matter where you start the season. If you work hard, you can make a difference.”
Freshman Molly McNaughton, a starter in goal the past eight games since injury took junior Sam Dunlap out of the lineup, made seven saves against the Tigers.
Fox Chapel is 2-1-1 in nonconference games with wins over Penn-Trafford and Mt. Lebanon and a tie against Oakland Catholic.
“We’ve been well tested all season, in and out of the section, and the girls hope to build on that and make a run in the playoffs,” Torres said.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .
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