Pine-Richland looks to copy winning formula in playoffs
Friday, October 19, 2018 | 7:34 PM
With a 13-3 overall record and a 9-3 mark in Section 1-4A, the Pine-Richland girls soccer team brought another successful regular season to a close, and the Rams are looking toward a hot start to the WPIAL playoffs.
The postseason future for coach Jodi Chmielewski’s team should be bright if Pine-Richland can manage to replicate the brand of soccer played over the last month of the regular season. The Rams won 10 of their past 11 games.
“I think we’re playing really well. I think that’s the level you want to be playing at heading into the playoffs,” Chmielewski said.
“We had a rough first week of the season. Then we went on a pretty solid stretch of play after that. There’s still some things we want to tighten up but overall, I’m pleased with the level of play.”
The Rams’ second-place finish in Section 1 led to a No. 5 seed in the WPIAL playoffs and first-round home game. They were scheduled to play Hempfield (6-8, 6-6) on Saturday after deadline for this edition.
In the playoffs, Pine-Richland hopes its a combination of reliable goaltending, tough defense and a solid attack continues to be a recipe for success.
With strong play in the midfield by Alaina Kalin, Caroline Swan and Izzi Boyd bolstering the defensive presences of Abbie Waryanka, Katie Rishel and Ally LeDonne, opponents have found goals against the Rams hard to come by this season.
In goal, sophomore Katharine Kelly has stood tall and recorded seven shutouts in 16 games.
Offensively, Megan Donnelly has led her team in goals for the second consecutive season. Not far behind is Allie Malobicky, and right behind them is a logjam of teammates providing the Rams with plenty of potent scoring options, which is just the way coach Chmielewski likes it.
“It’s almost like we’re at a point where everybody is doing their job, which is helping us be successful overall. I wouldn’t say it’s one aspect of the team in general. Your goal is to make a lot of growth and progress as the season goes on, and I’ve been pleased with that,” she said.
“Still, I feel like that perfect game, or that moment where you up every element together — it’s still on the forefront for us. I feel like we’re peaking at the right time.”
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.