Mt. Pleasant girls soccer team ekes out victory over Beaver

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 | 10:16 PM

A driving, sideways rain made it hard for the teams to concentrate on each other Tuesday night at Mt. Pleasant.

Marissa Garn clearly was focused on giving her team the lead, though, and moving on in the bracket. She blocked out the wet and wind and extended her team’s season.

The junior defender recovered a bouncing ball in the box and scored the go-ahead goal with 9 minutes, 5 seconds remaining to propel No. 7 seed Mt. Pleasant to a 2-1 victory over No. 10 Beaver Area in a WPIAL Class 2A first-round playoff game at Viking Stadium.

“We knew the conditions weren’t going to be great, so we just tried not to worry about it and focused on the game,” Garn said. “We were ready.”

The Lady Vikings (13-5) advance to play at No. 2 Southmoreland (13-1-2) in the quarterfinals Saturday. Southmoreland blanked West Mifflin, 6-0.

“Our girls are a disciplined group,” Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland said. “They executed much better in the second half with the wind versus the first half. We didn’t break down much, staying focused on what we were trying to accomplish.”

Mt. Pleasant had two shots on goal, and they both went into the net.

Garn’s opportunistic goal allowed the Vikings to get a rematch with the rival Scotties, with whom they split a pair of Section 3 matches.

“It came up, and it was wet and slippery,” Garn said. “It had a weird bounce, but I just kicked it and it happened to go in. We knew Beaver was a very good team, and we’d really have to compete.”

For about 38 minutes in the first half, very little happened. Then, in a span of less than two minutes, fireworks.

Mt. Pleasant senior defender Allison Bailey was in the right place at the right time after freshman Rylin Bugosh sent a ball to the far post off a short corner kick and deflected off a defender. The ball came to Bailey’s toe, and she bumped it in past keeper Ava Avdellas for a 1-0 lead.

But Beaver answered the score quickly when Sydney Chontos ripped a 20-yard shot past Jenna Piper to tie it in the 39th minute.

Garland said he wasn’t surprised to see two goals come from his back-line players.

“I never know where our goals are going to come from,” he said. “The forwards are always working hard and creating chances. Once we collapse on the goal and frame it, anybody is going to have an opportunity to put the ball in the back of the net. Kudos to those girls on that short corner to recognize so quickly to get to Ally and finish it.”

Now the Vikings will get another shot at Southmoreland with a chance at the semifinals on the line.

“Now we’re going to go there and see if we can scrape one up,” Garland said. “We know what they are, they know who we are, so we’ll prepare and give it our best.”

Beaver, which had posted seven shutouts in a tough Section 1 that included top-seeded North Catholic and No. 6 Avonworth, had a late goal waved off because of an apparent handball.

The Bobcats had four shots, but Piper stopped three of them.

“They’re a dangerous team,” Garland said. “What they lack offensively they make up for in aggression.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .

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