North Catholic girls soccer falls in first PIAA championship game appearance

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Saturday, November 21, 2020 | 12:58 PM


North Catholic goalie Andrea Bean did everything she could during the Trojans’ first PIAA championship appearance on Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.

But with just under 20 minutes remaining in their contest against Bloomsburg, Panthers forward Rylee Klinger drew a penalty and Bucknell commit Paige Temple buried her attempt into the right corner to give the Panthers the only goal they would need in a 1-0 victory.

Bean made 14 saves on 15 shots in the loss.

“In my opinion, Andrea Bean was the player of the game,” North Catholic coach Emily Karr said. “Out of both teams, I think she was the storyline of the game.”

Throughout the first 61 minutes of play, Bean kept the Trojans (15-3-1) alive and made save after save as the Panthers (23-1) peppered the North Catholic goal with shots from far and near. The Panthers came close on multiple occasions before the penalty kick, and every time it looked like they might break through, Bean made the save.

The Trojans had only allowed 11 goals all season long before Temple’s penalty kick.

Bean, along with the five other seniors, have seen the North Catholic program grow from a team that struggled to make the playoffs to one that won its second straight WPIAL title this season. They were all a big part of that success, and Karr said they will be missed.

“My seniors that have been here for four years know the entire development that the program has had,” Karr said. “Their four years are a really good representation of that, and each year we’ve done better than the past, and the seniors encapsulate that.”

On Saturday, the North Catholic seniors’ run came to an end in a competitive battle between two teams that were making the first PIAA championship appearance in program history. The talent on both teams showed throughout.

Both teams created several opportunities throughout the first half as they looked for the go-ahead goal, and it seemed like at some point, the Panthers would find it. But the two teams went into halftime tied at zero.

When they came back from the break, though, the Panthers had a newfound energy.

“One of the things we do at halftime is we talk about what they are showing us and how we can exploit it,” Bloomsburg coach Aaron Flook said. “We’ve done that every game during the playoffs, and we started to really build an attack in the start of the second half, and we could feel something was coming.”

It came in the form of Klinger, a senior forward who won the battle for a ball in North Catholic’s 18-yard box and then drew the foul that allowed Temple to score the go-ahead penalty kick.

With the school’s first PIAA title on the line, Temple admitted she was a little nervous.

“I felt like I was walking on water,” Temple said. “I knew I had to finish it for everyone around me.”

Temple stepped to the spot and buried her kick. Although it found the back of the net, Bean almost punched it wide as she guessed the right side but just missed out on the save.

“No matter what the situation is, right call, wrong call, that’s a tough way to finish a season, on a penalty,” Karr said.

After Bloomsburg’s goal, the Trojans seemed destined to grab a late goal and even the score. Their pressure was up, they created a few more opportunities than they had in the first 20 minutes of the second half, and they almost found the back of the net with five minutes left in the game.

Senior Grace Billman sent in a corner kick from the left side and junior midfielder Jayden Sharpless got a head on it, but Bloomsburg goalie Abbey Gerasimoff was able to corral it to save the shutout.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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