Latrobe tops Ringgold to pick up school’s 1st girls soccer playoff win ‘in style’
Monday, October 24, 2022 | 9:52 PM
From the inaugural Wildcat growl that greeted players and fans over the loudspeaker to open the game, to the final horn that ended it, Latrobe was focused on one goal: Make some noise in the WPIAL playoffs.
The Wildcats came in loud and clear in their historic postseason opener.
On the strength of a sprint-out attack that continually got behind the back liners of Ringgold, fifth-seeded Latrobe registered the first girls soccer playoff win in school history with a 6-1 first-round victory over the No. 12 Rams on Monday night at Rossi Field.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these girls,” Latrobe coach Jamie Morrison said. “Not only did they get the first playoff win, but they did it in style.”
Robin Reilly had a hat trick by halftime as the Wildcats (11-2-2) moved on to face No. 4 Thomas Jefferson (16-2) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.
Annalyse Bauer, Regan Reilly and Ella Bulava also had goals for Latrobe, which ran its unbeaten streak to 11, despite having its shutout streak snapped at seven.
“Winning has been our goal for a long time and we did it,” said Robin Reilly, wearing the team’s green hard hat as the player of the match after a three-goal, two-assist performance. “We saw that we might be able to score over the top and we had some success with that tonight.”
Latrobe was ready to play more of a possession style if needed but saw a chance to strike with through balls and run-outs against the Rams, who missed the playoffs the last two years.
Latrobe made the playoffs last year and had a bye to the quarterfinals, but lost 2-0 to Peters Township at home. The sting of that loss lingered for a year, until it was finally soothed Monday.
“Our girls had the belief they could win the first one,” Morrison said. “And we built off of that.”
Two Reilly goals that came in an 81-second span gave Latrobe a 2-0 advantage in the 22nd minute.
Ringgold caught the Wildcats off guard in the 31st minute when Imani Arnold slipped a shot past Sofia DeCerb to make it 2-1.
Katelyn Ferrence assisted the score.
That narrowed Latrobe’s focus from celebration to lock-down mode.
“We refocused ourselves at that point and played to our strengths,” Morrison said. “We know we’re going to get every team’s A game and we can’t take anyone lightly.”
Four unanswered scores followed, and the defense limited Ringgold’s chances.
Bauer gave the Wildcats a 3-1 advantage with 4:30 to play in the first half before Robin Reilly completed the hat trick with a penalty kick.
Rams’ keeper Emily Doleno collided with her in the box and received a yellow card.
Reilly calmly buried the try — and the do-over after Latrobe moved early — and it was 4-1.
“They’re just a great team,” Ringgold coach Olivia Wilkerson said. “They have solid players, high-caliber players. Most teams we see have one or two players like that. They have a bunch.”
Ringgold loaded the back line to try to slow the Wildcats, moving Morgan Walsh to the outside and switching Elizabeth Wilson from holding-mid to center-back.
The plan sacrificed some offense as the Rams only had three shots, two of which DeCerb stopped.
Regan Reilly scored in the 52nd minute before Bulava found the back of the net for a 6-1 lead with 23:48 to go.
“We have seen so much unselfishness in front of the goal,” Morrison said. “Our girls have done a great job moving the ball to create opportunities. We read the defense and found out what worked. We adapted the attack.”
Mackenzie Kubistek had an assist for Latrobe.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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