Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, Yough slug it out in intense girls soccer section
Tuesday, September 13, 2022 | 11:01 AM
One goal is impressive.
Two goals? It’s like you’re getting away with something.
When Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland and Yough play each other in Section 3-2A girls soccer games, offense is minimal because defense disrupts momentum, talent cancels out talent, and a playoff atmosphere rings out.
It is a three-way rivalry that very few sections can match.
The dust-ups have a different feel, a different energy. They hurt more the day after, but they also leave the teams feeling an extra sense of accomplishment.
Don’t expect anything different this year as the top three contenders in the section beat up on one another in what amounts to terrific soccer — a purist’s delight.
“Mt. Pleasant and Southmoreland are always very challenging games,” Yough first-year coach Mike Veychek said. Southmoreland, ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL in 2A, edged Yough, 2-1, on Monday as the three-team, six-game section series began.
Kendall Fabery netted both goals for the Scotties, in less than a minute’s time, in the second half.
The Scotties overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit and the loss of star forward Olivia Cernuto, who was injured with about 23 minutes to play and did not return.
“It’s never easy in these games,” Fabery said. “Sometimes, there are casualties. You can’t overlook any team in our section, really.”
Last year, the teams produced five one-goal games and a 0-0 tie in seven matchups.
Southmoreland beat Yough, 4-3, and the teams played to a scoreless draw.
The Scotties won two out of three against Mt. Pleasant, including a 1-0 win in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
Mt. Pleasant won 1-0, and Southmoreland picked up a 2-0 win in section play.
Yough and Mt. Pleasant split a pair of 2-1 games.
“Traditionally, those games decide the section,” Southmoreland coach Josh Pajak said. “Defensively, you have to be more sound. You have to mimic their pressure.”
Mt. Pleasant is ranked No. 3 and will host Yough on Sept. 19 and visit Southmoreland on Sept. 21.
“It will be very tight, and like last year, might come down to the final section game to get a section championship,” Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland said of the matchups with the Scotties and Cougars.
“Southmoreland still is the favorite with most of their pieces back in place, but Yough has some significant talent that will make those contests very competitive. I think the section championship will come down to the team that can stay healthy and play the best defense.”
Yough only has 13 players, so staying healthy is critical.
“Depth could be a problem for us,” Veychek said. “We have players rotating to different positions and playing multiple spots.”
Garland said the teams that stay true to their formations and don’t press too soon likely will have the most success.
“There are goal scorers throughout the section,” he said. “But the team that is most organized defensively will win a championship.”
“It has allowed us to play faster and challenged us before we open section play,” Garland said.
Mt. Pleasant has some injuries, so the Vikings are starting five freshmen.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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