Pine-Richland girls soccer rewarded for scrappy effort with playoff berth

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Friday, October 18, 2019 | 5:33 PM


For a number of weeks now, the Pine-Richland girls soccer team has found itself in an unfamiliar position.

In recent seasons, the Rams (8-6, 6-6) have coasted to a top finish in Section 1-AAAA. This year’s group had to battle for its postseason dreams with its back against the wall just to sneak into the WPIAL Class AAAA playoff field.

The team did manage to accomplish its goal of reaching the playoffs, earning a first-round matchup with Penn-Trafford on Monday night. After weathering the storm of an injury-plagued campaign, coach Jodi Chmielewski said she thinks her team entered the postseason prepared to play its best soccer.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year and we were inconsistent at times. We got to the point where we just knew we needed to get into the playoffs, regardless of the seed we received,” Chmielewski said. “There are probably seven or eight teams in Quad-A that could win it all this year, so we knew we could be competitive with anyone. It didn’t matter what seed we drew. We just needed to get in.”

While there were plenty of ups and downs throughout the regular season, one constant has been the strong play of midfielder Izzi Boyd. The senior captain and Ohio University commit has been a team leader and an instrumental contributors, according to her coach.

Pine-Richland had to cultivate a playoff mindset just to make a run at qualifying for the postseason. This mindset produced impressive results, as the team won its last three contests by a combined score of 14-0.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had to depend on things to fall our way in order to just get into playoffs. Since the second half of the season, we’ve had to have that playoff mentality and we’ve had to do everything we can just to get in,” Chmielewski said. “We’ve dealt with adversity and we feel like we’re stronger as a team now that we’ve come out on the other end of that. We’re trending in the right direction.”

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