Franklin Regional blanks pesky West Allegheny in Class 3A girls soccer opener

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Monday, October 25, 2021 | 9:40 PM


Sydney Lindeman and her Franklin Regional teammates were wary of 14th-seeded West Allegheny in their playoff opener.

“They come from a tough section playing against teams like Mars so we knew it would be tough,” Lindeman said. “It wasn’t going to be easy.”

Concerning words? Maybe. But not when they come from “Jesus.”

That is the nickname given to her by her teammates. Why?

“She’s just that good,” Franklin Regional coach Scott Arnold said with a smile.

Lindeman did her best to make it tough for West Allegheny, too, in the team’s WPIAL Class 3A first-round game Monday at Panther Stadium. The senior Towson commit delivered two pinpoint assists as the third-seeded Panthers won, 2-0, to advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

“We had just won the section, which none of us had experienced before this year,” Lindeman said. “And we played a tough game against Latrobe before tonight. We were ready to play.”

The Panthers (14-3-1) advance to play No. 6 South Fayette (12-7) in the quarterfinals 6:30 p.m. Thursday at home.

“We knew (West Allegheny) did not concede a lot of goals,” Arnold said. “We’re a very good defensive team and we just had to be patient. They had a lot of girls back (defensively). I predicted a 2-0 score because I knew this would be a good defensive matchup.”

West Allegheny (6-10-2), which has been involved in 16 shutouts this season, only scored 14 goals in 18 games. But it isn’t because the Indians lack offensive chances. They were firing away from the start Monday, even outshooting the Panthers, 7-5.

Panthers’ sophomore goalkeeper Aris Lamanna made seven saves to keep the Indians off the board and help the Panthers ring up shutout No. 8 of the season.

The first goal was big. The second was huge.

Franklin Regional finally took a 1-0 lead late in the first half.

Lindeman dribbled wide up the left sideline with about a minute left before halftime, one-on-one with a defender. She spotted Abby Paterline running parallel to her and delivered a cross. The freshman finished to make it 1-0 with 46 seconds to go.

“I cut it back and saw (Paterline),” Lindeman said. “I thought about (shooting), but when I saw her open, I knew she could score.”

Franklin Regional, coming off its first section title since 2016, relied on its defense to keep the early lead intact. But opportunities developed out of the conservative approach and a two-goal lead relieved some stress.

The Panthers managed another nice hook-up at the opposite net in the 51st minute. This time, Lindeman touched to senior Sydney Kranick for the goal and a 2-0 advantage.

“If you look at a chart of all of our goals, a lot of them are in front of the net,” Arnold said. “That is where we get a lot of our goals.”

West Allegheny had a quality look on a direct kick stopped by Lamanna. The Indians kept possessions alive and produced more chances down the stretch, but to no avail.

“When things got a little bouncy there,” Arnold said, “we had to calm them down a little bit.”

Franklin Regional edged South Fayette in the first round last year, 2-1, and clipped the Lions earlier this season in overtime, 1-0.

“We have to come out hungry,” Lindeman said. “We need to score early and let our defense play.”

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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