Plum girls soccer prepares for showdown with Oakland Catholic

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Sunday, September 29, 2019 | 6:17 PM


The Plum girls soccer team last captured a section championship in 2016 when it tied Fox Chapel for the top spot of Section 3-AAAA.

The Mustangs hope to have that title feeling again, and Monday’s Section 3-AAA rematch with Oakland Catholic will go along way in determining that.

The Eagles and Mustangs play at 7:30 p.m. at Plum. Oakland Catholic, at the top of the section standings at 6-0, won the first game 3-0 on Sept. 7 at Highmark Stadium. Plum is one-half game back at 6-1.

“We’ve been waiting and anticipating this game since the first time,” said Plum junior midfielder/forward Gina Proviano, who is tied with freshman Kaitlyn Killinger for the team lead in goals with 10.

“We have the home-field advantage. We’re all really excited, ready to dig deep and get a win out of it.”

Sophomore forward/midfielder Marissa Liberto (seven), junior midfielder Emily Kirkpatrick (five) and junior defender/midfielder Jamie Seneca (five) also are near the top of the goal-scoring list for the Mustangs.

The defense, including the goalkeeper combination of juniors Erica Taylor and Kelly Kvortek, has four shutouts this season.

“We have the student section involved,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s a blackout theme. It should be a great atmosphere.”

Plum not only hopes to tie Oakland Catholic in the standings but also hold off Thomas Jefferson, which begins the week in third place at 5-2.

The Mustangs bounced back from their loss to the Eagles with a 6-1 triumph over the Jaguars four days later.

“We were frustrated (heading into Thomas Jefferson),” senior defender Katie Patton said. “We stepped up and played faster with quick touches up the middle. We’ve been that way the past couple of weeks.”

Plum is 6-0 since the Oakland Catholic loss and has outscored opponents 39-6.

“Every game is important, and every game we have to go and play hard,” Plum coach Jamie Stewart said. “We didn’t look ahead at any time. After Wednesday’s game (8-0 win at Obama Academy) was over, then the focused turned to Monday.”

Plum’s preparation for Monday’s rematch included reviewing of parts of the game film from the first match with Oakland Catholic as well as the Thomas Jefferson match.

“We saw how we can improve from the first time and saw what we can take advantage of,” Kirkpatrick said. “We then took it to practice. We know they’ve improved, too, so we have to be ready.”

The team gathered Sunday evening for additional preparation.

“The second time you play a team, it’s a different game. They learn, and we learn,” Stewart said.

“I think it will be a close game. Both teams played well the first time. They play a good defensive game with a lot of counter-attacking. We hit the post and just missed the goal a couple of times, and their keeper made some great saves. If one goes in, it might have changed the momentum of the game. But that’s in the past. We have a great chance Monday to get a big win and keep our chances alive for a section title.”

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

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