Mt. Pleasant girls soccer team has eye on 1st section title in 5 years

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Monday, October 18, 2021 | 4:26 PM


Mt. Pleasant’s motivation for Tuesday’s 5 p.m. Section 3-2A girls soccer finale comes prepackaged and free of charge.

“The girls are all well aware,” said Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland, whose third-ranked Lady Vikings (12-4, 8-1) need to win or tie at No. 4 Yough (11-3-1, 6-2-1) to take their first section championship since 2016. “They’re excited to be in this position.”

But “this position” seemed like it might present itself further down the road because of Mt. Pleasant’s young lineup that features only six seniors and 17 underclassmen.

“Yes, we’re young,” Garland said. “But we’re playing as a team. It’s been a team effort.”

The meshing of different grade levels can be a work in progress, but that is not the case at Mt. Pleasant.

“I have been so impressed with our ninth graders and how they have performed,” senior captain and midfielder Carsyn Rivardo said. “They are definitely part of the team. We were excited to see their game.”

The Vikings start with defense, a Garland hallmark, if you will. Junior Marissa Garn, Garland said, has been impressive at center back, helping the team post eight shutouts.

Mt. Pleasant has allowed only four goals in section play, including a pair in a 2-0 loss at Southmoreland last week.

“We have denied a lot of shots,” Garland said.

The Lady Vikings offense, in turn, is deliberate and organized with an eye toward trading good shots for great ones.

“We’re not just banging it,” Garland said.

Freshman Rylin Bugosh has performed well at the top of the formation.

The more coordinated approach has led to balanced scoring.

Through 16 games, eight players have found the scoring column, led by Bugosh with 16 goals. Rivardo has 10 scores, sophomore Riley Gesinsky seven, junior Marissa Garn six and Adi Belanger five.

Last season, the Vikings scored 28 goals, and then-senior Mackenzie Leeder had 24 of them before she moved on to play at Duquesne.

“We are always working hard,” Rivardo said. “We run every practice. We love to run. We’re so excited see (Yough) again. Hopefully, we can beat them again and win the section.”

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

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