Mars edges Radnor in double overtime to secure PIAA girls soccer 3-peat

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Saturday, November 20, 2021 | 7:20 PM


HERSHEY — Mars won its third straight PIAA Class 3A girls’ soccer title, but Saturday’s win held as much drama as the first two championships combined.

The Planets defeated Radnor, 2-1, in double overtime at Hersheypark Stadium on Aly Cooper’s goal, assisted by Brooke Hamlet, 7 minutes, 28 seconds into the second extra period.

“It feels just as good as the first time,” said Cooper, who was a starter on all three championship squads. “It being my last season may have made it more emotional.”

Cooper got a one-one-one opportunity with the Radnor goalie when Hamlet set her up and one of the Raptor defenders fell down.

“I was in shock,” Cooper said. “I was, ‘did that just happen?’ Then I turned and everyone was running at me, and I realized I did that.”

With its third straight PIAA title — only the third PIAA three-peat in Class 3A girls soccer history — the Fightin’ Planets (20-0-1) put themselves on par with any program.

“It involves a lot of dedication from the families and players, the occasional bounce, and focus to keep at a high level no matter who graduates,” Mars coach Blair Gerlach said.

Mars had to fend off some big Radnor opportunities late in the first overtime. Hamlet cleared a shot off of a corner play from the right post to maintain the 1-1 score. Two minutes later, goalkeeper Katherine McEnroe made a save on the ground at the left post on a 35-yard free kick attempt by Emily Daiutolo.

The Raptors (20-5) took a 1-0 lead just 5:48 into the game. Ivy Chaskelson played the ball to the left to Selah Koleth, who dribbled forward into the box and scored from 12 yards out. It was the first goal the Planets had allowed in the state tournament, and only the second time all season they were behind in a game.

Mars had one of its best chances to even the score right off the next center-field touch. The Planets had a corner in moments, but after a scramble in the box, a shot went over the crossbar.

The Planets threatened again directly off the opening touch of the second half when a long kick was mishandled by Raptors goalie Mallory Toomey, but no Mars player got control of it.

However, Mars finally leveled the match when Reese Dunaway scored on a header with 25:54 remaining in the second half, making it 1-1.

“I saw people scrambling,” Dunaway said. “I was just there to finish it.”

The best chance for either team to take the lead in regulation after that came with 13 minutes to go, when Addison Girdwood got a nice shot off in the box, but it was stopped by Toomey. There was a rebound and several touches by other Mars players, but Radnor defenders were in the way of each.

Mars had nine shots on goal and two corners. McEnroe made four saves.

Radnor put five shots on net and took three corners. Toomey made seven saves.

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