Mt. Pleasant girls soccer tops Bedford to earn 1st PIAA win in school history
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 | 9:29 PM
JOHNSTOWN — Maddie Barrick could see the ball come to her.
She could see the ball go into the net.
And she could see her team celebrate its first-ever win in the state playoffs.
About a month ago, the Mt. Pleasant sophomore midfielder could barely see at all.
She was hit in her right eye with a ball during a game against Ligonier Valley and lost her sight briefly.
On Tuesday night, though, “Goggles” Barrick scored her first goal since that game to jumpstart the Vikings to a 2-0 victory over Bedford in a PIAA Class 2A first-round game at Richland High School’s Herlinger Field.
“I went for the ball, and as soon as it hit me, I could not see,” said Barrick, who was diagnosed with a bruised retina. “I didn’t say anything and kept playing. They gave me these goggles to wear. I didn’t want clear ones, so they are like sunglasses. I’ve gotten used to them.”
Suddenly, Mt. Pleasant has its sights on a new goal: a state title.
The WPIAL runner-up, Mt. Pleasant (20-2) advances to play Fort LeBoeuf (15-1-2) in the quarterfinals Saturday at a time and site to be determined.
“It’s so surreal to be part of this win,” Barrick said.
Freshman Morgan Gesinski also had a goal on a penalty kick for Mt. Pleasant, which outshot Bedford, 12-4, and posted its 16th shutout of the season.
“It was touch-and-go there for a while,” Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland said of Barrick’s injury. “We’re glad she is OK.”
Garland was just as surprised as Barrick to see the sophomore who wears No. 71 — big Evgeni Malkin fan — open the scoring.
After multiple scoring chances missed in the first 40 minutes, Barrick took a cross from sophomore Rylin Bugosh and scored just out of halftime — in the 41st minute — to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead over the District 5/6 champion Bisons (16-4).
“We have 18 girls with points this season,” Garland said. “But yes, I was surprised it was Maddie who scored there.”
Bugosh had hit the crossbar and had two other close calls in the scoreless first half as Mt. Pleasant dominated possession. But she facilitated the first goal to break the tension and allow Mt. Pleasant to adjust to the state-playoff environment.
“Bedford is a good team,” Garland said. “Their center backs are really fast. We needed to get them to move more side to side.”
Bedford, the seven-time defending champion of its district, has lost three of four first-round games in the state tournament.
“The first goal was a breakdown by us,” Bisons coach Jeff Thomas said. “There wasn’t much defensive effort there. We could have done better. Our girls gave a great effort and didn’t quit. We felt a lot better with it 1-0. We felt like we had a chance.”
But a 2-0 cushion put Mt. Pleasant in the driver’s seat. Gesinski was fouled at the top of the box and swiftly buried the PK upper 90 with 11:23 remaining.
“I challenged them at halftime,” Garland said. “There was no passion in finding our opportunities. We had to go and take it. Our girls responded.”
The win was a nice gift for freshman defender Raygan Mizikar, who celebrated her birthday Monday.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
Tags: Mt. Pleasant
More High School Soccer Girls• Franklin Regional standout goalkeeper Aris Lamanna to play at Coastal Carolina
• Colleges lining up to offer Franklin Regional goalkeeper Aris Lamanna
• Westmoreland high school notebook: Hockey teams ready for next round
• A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Freeport’s Akina Boynton
• Latrobe’s Robin Reilly selected to U.S. Youth Soccer ODP national team