Norwin peppers Penn-Trafford to win girls soccer showdown

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Monday, September 23, 2019 | 10:09 PM


Norwin’s gameplan was to bombard Penn-Trafford with shots in the girls soccer teams’ first Section 3-4A meeting of the season.

The second-ranked Knights followed their assignment perfectly to lay the groundwork for a 2-1 victory over No. 4 Penn-Trafford on Monday night at Norwin Knights Stadium.

Pitt recruits Katelynn Kauffman and Lacey Bernick each scored and the Knights (8-1, 6-0) outshot the Warriors (7-3, 5-1), 18-5, in another physical matchup.

Penn-Trafford’s Sarah Nguyen blasted in a score with just more than a minute to play to trim the margin to 2-1 before the fast-paced Knights held on.

“It’s never over when you play Penn-Trafford,” Norwin assistant coach Leslie Kaminski said. “Even when it was 2-0, we weren’t comfortable. We had to make some adjustments and our girls followed through. We know our strengths.”

Norwin head coach Lauren Karcher is out on maternity leave.

The neighboring rivals came in with similar bodies of work. Norwin had 37 goals and allowed six, while the Warriors outscored their opponents, 35-5. Both were coming off their first losses, Norwin 4-3 against Seneca Valley and Penn-Trafford 2-0 to Canon-McMillan.

After a scoreless first half, Kauffman opened the scoring with a header in the 55th minute — her ninth goal of the season — on a well-placed free kick by William & Mary recruit Anna Durmis.

“We really stepped it up and played as a team and played as a unit,” Kauffman said. “To get those two goals against Penn-Trafford … that was amazing. Our energy was there. We were so ready for this game. Our goal was to get as many shots off as we could and I think we succeeded.”

An array of shots kept Penn-Trafford goalkeeper Megan Giesey busy. She made 15 saves but could not stop Bernick’s point-blank shot with 2 minutes, 34 seconds to play. Megan Dietz bent in a corner kick and Giesey tried to bat away the ball. Bernick alertly corralled the ricochet and fired past Giesey to make it 2-0 with her 10th goal of the season.

“It’s always a good game versus P-T,” Bernick said. “We just really put our all into it until the very last second. It’s good to get a win against a big team like P-T.”

With the ball primarily on Norwin’s side of the field for most of the second half, the Warriors’ chances were fleeting. But Nguyen made it interesting late with a sudden laser past Liz Waszkiewicz to make it 2-1. The Akron recruit struck from around the 20-yard line to force Norwin to squeeze out another 80-plus seconds of keep-away defense.

“Norwin is a good team with a lot of speed,” Penn-Trafford coach Jackie Bartko said. “We need to work on some things and be ready for the next one. We played with so much heart, and I am proud of my girls.”

The them-or-us section rivals always cast a shadow in the standings. Norwin moves a game ahead for first place.

Norwin has won three in a row in the series and will try to sweep the Warriors when they play later this season in Harrison City. Norwin has swept in 2015, ‘16 and ‘18. Since 1997, Penn-Trafford has 10 section titles and Norwin has nine.

Norwin won WPIAL titles in 1996, ‘97, 2015 and ‘16, while Penn-Trafford won the district in 2003 and ‘17.

Waszkiewicz made three saves for Norwin.

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

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