Montour Girls Win First Soccer Crown in Beating Mars

Saturday, November 1, 2014 | 9:45 PM

The Montour girls’ soccer team had no playoff victories in school history heading into the 2014 postseason, but the No. 5 seed Lady Spartans now have a WPIAL title trophy, as they knocked off second-seeded Mars 3-1 in the Class AA Championship match on Saturday at Highmark Stadium.

Montour jumped out to an early lead less than five minutes into the contest, as senior Lauren Gerstel’s free kick from beyond midfield fooled Mars’ goalkeeper Sammy Papik. Papik got a piece of the ball, but it bounced over her head and into the net to provide the early edge to the Spartans.

They would add to their lead with a flurry of offense late in the half, as Samantha White booted a free kick that again gave Papik problems. The Fighting Planets’ netminder made the initial save, but could not corral the ball, which allowed freshman midfielder Cassandra Schiffhauer to head in the rebound with just 4:21 left before halftime.

Exactly one minute later, Montour sophomore Kemper Foster booted a perfectly angled corner kick that was headed away by a Mars’ defender, but not before it had crossed the goal line.

With the commanding 3-0 lead, the Spartans (20-2) tightened defensively, limiting Mars to just one shot attempt in the opening 40 minutes.

The Fighting Planets (18-4), who have been in the WPIAL finals in four of the last five years, would not go quietly in the second half, however. Less than 10 minutes into the half, Tori Kopchak’s shot deflected off the hands of Montour netminder Aryana Jones and off the crossbar, back into play. Mars senior Sabrina Edwards followed up with a second-chance effort, and found the back of the net to pull her squad within two.

That would be as close at the Fighting Planets would get, though, as the Spartans protected their lead, with Jones contributing five saves.

Montour will enjoy its first girls’ championship, but both teams qualify for the PIAA postseason in Class AA, as will South Park, which triumphed over Yough in the consolation game.

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