Mt. Pleasant girls blank Freeport, advance to WPIAL Class 2A semifinals

Saturday, October 29, 2022 | 6:09 PM

Marissa Garn wears No. 99.

The Mt. Pleasant senior soccer player has her reasons for the unique jersey number.

“I can’t wear 100,” Garn said. “I used to wear No. 1 in youth soccer. I am a faithful Christian, and I believe in giving 100 percent. I know God has the other 1 percent — 99 and 1. It’s all very personal to me.”

Fair enough.

Freeport had 99 problems in Saturday’s WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinal at Viking Stadium, and Garn was one of them.

Garn had two goals and an assist for the second-seeded Vikings, who blanked No. 7 Freeport, 4-0, to advance to the semifinals for the first time in program history.

“We picked it up, started communicating and connected, and the girls did what they needed to do,” Garn said.

Mt. Pleasant (18-1) advanced to play No. 6 Shady Side Academy (10-5) or No. 3 South Park (13-5) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at a site to be determined.

Freshman Morgan Gesinski had a goal and an assist in the victory, and freshman keeper Laurel Rummel made five saves in Mt. Pleasant’s 14th shutout in 19 games.

The Vikings finished 10-0 at home this season.

Freeport (14-3) was seeking its second semifinal trip in four years but could not score against a sound defensive unit that complemented the usually fast-paced offense. Or was it the other way around?

“The defense is maturing every game,” Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland said. “We stayed organized after giving up too much possession early. We did what we needed to do to win.”

Junior Riley Gesinski opened the scoring with a top-corner goal from 30 yards in the 20th minute, and Garn followed with her first score about five minutes later on a cross from Gesinski.

It was 2-0 at the break.

“Our sharpshooters gave us some early breathing room,” Garland said. “Freeport was a tough team. They came to play.”

Mt. Pleasant had to work for shots and took some time to gain spacing against the Yellowjackets, who got eight saves from senior goalkeeper Olivia Giancola.

“We needed to put one in in the first 15 minutes,” Freeport coach Joe Treglia said. “The first 15 to 20 minutes, if we score, it changes the whole complexion of the game.

“Mt. Pleasant is a great team, and we knew that coming in. They crash the net and create opportunities. Our goal was to win the battle in the midfield.”

Gesinski, who was coming off a seven-goal game in a 12-0 first-round win over West Mifflin, sent a corner in to Garn, who converted again to make it 3-0 in the 57th minute.

“Last year we lost to our rivals (Southmoreland) in (the quarterfinals), so it’s great to be able to keep going,” Garn said. “It’s very exciting.”

Garland said the Gesinskis work tirelessly on set pieces in practice.

“A lot,” he said. “They have a new one every practice.”

Freeport moved its three forwards ahead to press for a goal, which gave Mt. Pleasant more chances.

Garn crossed to Morgan Gesinski, who finished to make it 4-0 in the 78th minute.

“Our girls should be super proud for getting here,” Treglia said. “They had a great year.”

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

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