Plum girls soccer defeats Latrobe in overtime thriller

Monday, October 2, 2023 | 10:14 PM

The Plum and Latrobe girls soccer teams needed overtime to decide their Section 3-3A matchup Monday evening at Plum’s Mustangs Stadium.

Freshman Emily Grubich made sure the homestanding Mustangs came away with the crucial three points.

She raced down the middle of the field, possessed the ball after passes from seniors Ava Weleski and Rayla Smith and deposited a shot in the back of the Wildcats net from about 20 yards with 3 minutes, 8 seconds left in the first OT to give Plum a 3-2 victory.

“I could see it setting up when Ava gained possession,” said Grubich, who also scored in the first meeting with Latrobe, a 3-2 victory for the Mustangs on Sept. 6.

“Rayla did a great job of finding me in that space, and I took the shot. It felt really good coming off my foot. It was a great feeling to turn around and see all my teammates running towards me. It was incredible.”

The win kept Plum undefeated in Section 3 play at 9-0 and improved its overall mark to 11-0-1.

“The message in between regulation and overtime was to continue to do the things we were doing,” Plum coach Jamie Stewart said.

“We were getting opportunities. They were, as well. That was a really beautiful play and finish by Emily at the end. It was a great way to win a game. Latrobe is such a great opponent. We could definitely see them again in the playoffs.”

Latrobe fell to 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the section. Despite the loss, the Wildcats clinched a WPIAL playoff berth with Gateway’s loss Monday to Franklin Regional.

“It’s an unfortunate loss for us and a game that we didn’t want to give, but it’s not the end of things by any means,” Latrobe coach Jamie Campbell said.

“We have to turn around, move forward and keep our eyes focused on what we have coming up. We have a lot to still play for in the section, and we want to be playing our best as we get closer to the playoffs. We have to overcome hurdles and be our better selves. The girls will learn from this and be better.”

Junior Robin Reilly, a recent verbal commit to West Virginia, was hobbled by an ankle injury late in regulation. She was on the sideline as the final minutes of regulation ticked off the clock, but she returned to the field for overtime and had a good chance a minute into OT, but her shot went just wide right.

“She got repeated tackles to her ankle, some of which were called and some which weren’t,” Campbell said. “But she is a fire pistol, and she wants to be out there and be a difference maker for her team. She’s a baller. There is no holding her back. She will fight every time to be out there, no matter what has happened.”

Ava Yurko, who scored on a free kick to tie the score with 3:23 left in regulation, had another free kick with 6:50 left in the OT period, but her shot sailed high.

The teams played to a 1-1 tie through the first 40 minutes.

Plum gained a 2-1 advantage six minutes into the second half as sophomore Gianna Revetta took a shot from about 30 yards. The ball found the upper right hand part of the goal past Latrobe keeper Corinne Brunetto.

Latrobe countered and had chances to tie it with a number of scoring opportunities. A free kick and regular shot from Robin Reilly and another from Bri Hoffer in the second 10 minutes of the half didn’t yield a score.

Maddy Petruzzi unleashed a shot with four minutes on the clock, but Malayna Smith dove to her left and punched the ball out of danger.

But a foul called on Plum led to a free kick from 22 yards with 3:23 left.

Yurko took the kick. The ball never left the ground, but it found its way through the Plum defense and into the net for the score.

“Once we scored, I knew what they had, and that’s a lot of talent,” Stewart said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy to hold them off. That’s what our girls understand. They fought back with some good chances and then got that goal with a really nice kick from (Yurko). We talk about it all the time that we can’t give up free kicks inside the 25 to 30.”

It was a back-and-forth, up-tempo, and frenetic pace throughout the first half, but both teams got on the board in the first 10 minutes.

Ava Weleski found the back of the net for Plum as she took a penalty kick and finished a rebound off a save from Latrobe Brunetto.

Wildcats senior Regan Reilly took a corner-kick opportunity and delivered for her team.

Plum’s Rayla Smith gained control of a loose ball in the 16th minute and moved in while being closely marked. She broke free long enough to get a shot off from 12 yards. The ball rolled two feet wide of the Latrobe left goal post and went out of play.

Weleski and Grubich followed with strong chances.

Annalyse Bauer countered with a strong shot of her own for Latrobe with 16 minutes left in the first half. But junior Makenna Anderson was right there to make the save.

Robin Reilly also got free for a shot for the Wildcats, and Emerson Shine’s header from close range off a corner kick was pulled in by Anderson.

Dangerous chances from Mia Nardo and Smith were close to giving Plum the lead, and Weleski’s crossing shot from the left side to the far right post rolled just wide with 5:30 on the clock.

Regan Reilly struck the ball well from 25 yards with two minutes before the break, but the ball glanced off the cross bar and continued out of play.

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

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