Latrobe girls soccer team powers past Franklin Regional with 2 first-half goals

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023 | 10:55 PM


An airplane flew over Rossi Field early in the girls soccer game Wednesday night, descending slowly toward the nearby airport named after Arnold Palmer.

A short time later, Latrobe lifted off.

Junior Robin Reilly and freshman Emerson Shine netted first-half goals as the fourth-ranked Wildcats set down visiting No. 5 Franklin Regional, 2-1, in a Section 3-3A matchup.

Latrobe (4-1, 3-1), which swept the Panthers last year, controlled possession in the first half and held the Panthers (5-2, 3-1) without a shot on goal in the first 40 minutes.

After Franklin Regional cut the lead in half, the Wildcats held strong.

“I thought we played our game,” Latrobe coach Jamie (Morrison) Campbell said. “We settled down and found our feet. I felt a little energy in the air before the game tonight.”

Reilly, who had a couple of perfect setups early that proved fruitless, gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute. She outran a defender wide, 1-on-1, and struck from 17 yards away, far post past Panthers’ standout senior goalkeeper Aris Lamanna.

It was Reilly’s sixth goal in four games. The recent West Virginia commit missed the opening game as she worked her way back from a high ankle sprain.

“We moved on the ball and passed on their end,” Campbell said. “We read the game really well.”

In the 35th minute, Shine made it a two-goal lead. A harmless-looking but ideal pass led to the second score.

Junior Maddy Petruzzi threaded a grounder to the front of the net between defenders, and it came to Shine, who knocked a shot past a diving Lamanna.

With her assist and solid all-around play, Petruzzi was Latrobe’s self-picked player of the match. She got the green hard hat to prove it.

“We gave their defense a lot of looks, and I think that kept them out of rhythm,” Campbell said. “I wish we could have put a couple more (goals) in there.”

Franklin Regional picked up offensively after the break.

It shifted gears in the second half, eventually selling out on defense to try to score. But not before it produced a goal seven minutes after halftime.

Junior Eden Williams popped a 26-yard free kick past senior keeper Corrine Brunetto — bottom right corner — to make it 2-1.

It was identical to the goal she scored earlier in the season in a 1-0 win over Penn-Trafford.

“This game was fun for us,” Panthers coach Scott Arnold said. “I am proud of our girls for being resilient. The Reilly girls are always making plays for them.

“At halftime, we got more focused on the style we wanted to play, and I thought we did a nice job. It’s the first time through section (play). Win or lose, you want to get better.”

Franklin Regional, already down a key starter for the season in freshman Grace Copeland, who broke her leg, played without or missed full contributions from several players because of injury or illness.

Seniors Lily Funari and Paige McMillan were out, while senior Shaeley Reichenbaum played less than 30 minutes.

Junior Reilly Weaver also did not start and played sparingly.

Senior reserves Alana Otley and Annah Kunes also played reduced minutes.

Junior Reagan Weaver made her second career varsity start.

“Thank goodness it was a cool night with low humidity,” Arnold said. “Great soccer weather.”

Latrobe kept the Panthers’ scoring chances to a minimum down the stretch.

“I think there may have been about 30 seconds where we panicked a little bit,” Campbell said. “But cooler heads prevailed, and our girls showed excellent game management.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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