Lucas Toohey strikes twice to lead Mt. Pleasant past Burrell in WPIAL soccer playoffs

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Monday, October 26, 2020 | 9:00 PM


For about a two-minute stretch in the first half, the WPIAL Class 2A first-round matchup between No. 6 Mt. Pleasant and No. 11 Burrell turned into the Lucas Toohey show.

The senior midfielder scored a pair of goals two minutes apart late in the first half to put his Vikings (11-1) ahead for good in a 3-1 win Monday night to advance to the quarterfinals for the second time in three years.

“It’s our senior year. We start nine seniors, and it’s awesome to make a go at it,” Toohey said. “We feel like we have a team that can make a run at it. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

Mt. Pleasant will move on to the quarterfinals to take on No. 3 North Catholic, which beat No. 14 Leechburg, 2-0, on Monday. The teams will play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Mars Athletic Complex.

Through the first 30 minutes Monday, the Bucs (7-5) controlled the pace of play. They moved the ball around Mt. Pleasant’s defensive half and put pressure on the back line, but they couldn’t find a go-ahead goal.

“I would have to watch the film again, but I thought we played well,” Burrell coach Andrew Kariotis said. “There was just a counter-attack the other way. They caught us twice. I thought we were holding the play pretty well. It just wasn’t going in for us, and the counter-attack got us.”

Mt. Pleasant senior goalkeeper John Menefee and the experienced defensive line in front of him showed exactly why they only allowed two goals all season long. Their defensive effort led to the team’s offensive opportunities.

“They gave us a lot of fits all night long, and we had to make adjustments on the fly,” Mt. Pleasant coach Floyd Snyder said. “Fortunately, it worked out well for us. But that’s a good side that we’ve been playing for three years now. It’s a shame that one of us had to lose tonight.”

On multiple occasions, the Vikings broke out on counter-attacks after making a key stop in the defensive half. With just under six minutes left in the first half, Toohey found his first opportunity on net after a foul was called around the 14-yard line of the football field.

Toohey and Caleb Heiser both stepped to the spot. Heiser ran over it from the left and Toohey delivered a low strike through the wall that bounced off a defender and found its way into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal.

“I was trying to go top right, but it was a little wet and it kind of slipped,” Toohey said. “Deflections are big on days like this.”

Just two minutes later, Toohey struck again. This time he did it with an all-out hustle play and worked his way through three Burrell defenders before firing a shot into the back of the net for his second goal of the night.

“It was win or lose there, and I knew I was gonna give it all I had to get to it,” Toohey said. “I ended up beating the kid and put it bottom left.”

Both teams scored in the final 10 minutes of play. Freshman Luke Rivardo tacked on Mt. Pleasant’s third goal with about five minutes left and Nick Kariotis answered for Burrell with just under three minutes to go.

“Even when it was 3-0, our guys weren’t stopping,” Kariotis said. “They were playing ‘til the last whistle, and I’m proud of them.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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