Freeport girls soccer team edges Valley to take sole possession of 4th in Section 2-2A

Monday, October 18, 2021 | 9:26 PM

The Valley girls soccer team came into Monday’s Section 2-2A finale against Freeport at Valley High Memorial Stadium needing to defeat the Yellowjackets to clinch a WPIAL playoff spot for the first time since 2016.

But Freeport had other ideas.

Katie Borromeo scored from 28 yards off an assist from Emma Check with 23 minutes, 3 seconds left in the second half to lift the Yellowjackets to a 1-0 victory over the Vikings.

Freeport, now 4-10-1 overall, finished in sole possession of fourth in the section at 4-5-1. The Yellowjackets also defeated Valley, 4-2, last Thursday at Freeport to clinch their ninth straight trip to the WPIAL playoffs.

“We’ve been working hard all season, and it felt really good to get another win tonight,” Borromeo said. “We have the talent and the ability. We just hadn’t been getting the results we wanted. We feel we are now going into the playoffs with some momentum. This win gives us a nice confidence boost.”

Valley, which swept Highlands, tied Burrell and lost four section games by two goals or fewer, finished section play at 2-7-1. The Vikings are scheduled to wrap up the season Wednesday against Penn Hills.

Deer Lakes and Burrell settled second place in the section Monday. The Lancers scored a 4-3 victory to finish with 21 section points (7-3) to Burrell’s 18 (5-2-3).

Shady Side Academy, at 9-0-1, wrapped up its second Section 2 title since joining the section last year.

Freeport started to tip the field in its favor in the first part of the second half, but Valley was able to move the ball into Yellowjackets territory several times and generate some chances.

Freeport’s winning goal came just 17 seconds after the Yellowjackets took a corner kick that was cleared by the Valley defense.

Valley’s Natalie Beckes took a direct kick from about 20 yards with seven minutes left, but the ball sailed through a pack of players in front of the Freeport net and went out of play.

A quick run by Alayna Carlisle three minutes later was stopped by Freeport keeper Maddie Zarichnak, who came off her line to make a save before a shot could be attempted.

“We have a wonderful group of girls who have worked hard, have done everything we’ve asked and give everything they have in every practice and every game,” Valley coach Tim Beckes said.

“They feel bad right now, but they hadn’t been in a position like this (battling for the playoffs) in a long time. They fought so hard tonight. One rebound a different way, and there might have been a different outcome.”

Freeport, which finished with a 9-6 shot-on-goal advantage, owned the majority of possession early on, but the play evened out as the first half progressed.

The Yellowjackets set up for a free kick with 26:37 left in the first half. The kick from Check was on point, but Valley keeper Tori Johnson was there to take control of the ball.

Beckes nearly gave Valley a 1-0 lead with 18 minutes left in the half as she arced a shot from 35 yards that had designs for the upper center of the Freeport goal. But Zarichnak stretched to make the save and keep the game scoreless.

Valley’s Taylor Heuser took control of the ball and raced 60 yards on a breakaway with three minutes left in the first half. With two Freeport defenders trailing her the whole way, Heuser got off a shot from about 8 yards, which Zarichnak was able to control for the save.

Freeport’s Aleah Parison fired off a shot from 10 yards with less than 20 seconds left, but Johnson hauled in the shot to keep the game 0-0 heading into the half.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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