Neighborhood rivals Riverview, Springdale to battle for 3rd time in PIAA quarterfinals

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Friday, November 10, 2023 | 6:39 PM


The Springdale and Riverview girls soccer teams both had to make long trips to earn victories Tuesday in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.

The WPIAL runner-up Raiders traveled 84 miles east toward Johnstown and came away with a 5-3 victory in a back-and-forth game against District 5 champion Conemaugh Township.

The Dynamos had an even longer trek north to Erie to face District 10 champion Seneca. Springdale made the most of its journey with a 4-0 victory to propel them into the state quarterfinals.

Springdale and Riverview knew wins would put them on the same field for the third time this season, and the section rivals don’t have far to go for Saturday’s rematch.

They each will go about seven miles to Plum High School for the noon kickoff.

“The girls were in really good spirits coming back from Erie on Tuesday,” Springdale coach Marc Bentley said.

“It was a great feeling for everyone to go up there and play really well against a team which was undefeated to that point. Now, it will be nice for everyone to be able to play so close to home, about 20 minutes or so away. It should be a pretty special atmosphere (Saturday).”

Springdale’s game with Seneca ended before Riverview’s matchup with Conemaugh Township concluded, so the Dynamos players and coaches were checking out social media to see if the Raiders were winning or had won.

When the final horn sounded on Riverview’s victory, thoughts for both teams turned to Saturday’s game. Riverview swept the section series, winning 4-0 under the lights at Riverside Park on Sept. 21 and then 3-2 at Springdale on Oct. 16 in a game than clinched the outright section crown for the Raiders.

“We expect it to be another really fun game, everything everyone expects it to be,” Riverview coach Sean Abraham said.

“The girls are anxious and excited. They want to make even more history. The crowd will be there, and the energy will be high. We know how good Springdale is, and they are playing really good soccer. We have to go out and play the game we know how to play. I’ve been saying that all year. Hopefully, we can be the one to advance to play Freedom or (District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle).”

Riverview continues to venture further into uncharted territory. It won its first section title and played in its first WPIAL title game and state playoff game.

Springdale has a deeper history in the PIAA playoffs. The Dynamos also found success in last year’s first round as they took down District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep. They hope this year’s quarterfinal game is not like last year’s where they fell to Greensburg Central Catholic in the round of eight.

“We know what Riverview brings with all of their talented players,” Bentley said. “We just have to be ready to play our best game Saturday.”

Riverview jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Conemaugh Township with the first goal of the season from junior Lyla Flanick and the 10th from freshman Hannah Hudack.

Conemaugh Township tied the score late in the first half and took momentum into the break.

But Riverview was able to finish off the win over the final 40 minutes on the strength of another hat trick from senior Lola Abraham.

The three goals give Abraham 15 in the playoffs and 71 for the season.

“Throughout that game, we had to continue to work to not play (Conemaugh Township’s) game,” Hudack said. “We were starting to play the exact same type of game as them. When we started passing it better and played the same game we always play, we got the goals we needed. It allowed us to calm down more.”

Junior Briana Ross was her usual goal-scoring self Tuesday with all four goals for Springdale against a Seneca team that had given up just four goals in 17 games heading into the state tournament.

The hat trick, plus one, put Ross at 50 goals for the season.

Junior Brooke Taliani tallied two assists, and senior Kai Williams and junior Molly Hurley each added a helper.

Junior keeper Baileigh Haas recorded the clean sheet for the Dynamos. It was Springdale’s 11th team shutout this season.

“It felt great and such a relief to get that win,” Springdale senior Ariana Feizi said.

“We came off the bus ready to play and do the best we could. Against any team in any situation, the best we can do is just go out there and play our game and trust that we can do the things that have made us successful all season.

“We are really excited, and everyone on the team is eager to get out there and get another shot at Riverview with a chance to redeem ourselves. They are our rivals, so to be able to play them again and in a game as big as this, it’s pretty special.”

The wins for Springdale and Riverview were part of a successful first round for girls soccer teams from the WPIAL. The WPIAL went 11-1 overall with the only loss being South Fayette in a game against WPIAL foe Montour.

Springdale will be without senior captain Ashley Ross on the field Saturday after she suffered an ankle injury in Tuesday’s win.

“I have been coming to the practices, and I will be at the game wearing my jersey and cheering on my teammates,” Ross said. “I am confident we can come together, play well, and get this done.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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