Plum girls soccer reaches Class 3A finals with another 1-0 win over West Allegheny
Wednesday, November 4, 2020 | 9:37 PM
It was déjà vu for the Plum girls soccer team.
For the second year in a row, the Mustangs topped West Allegheny, 1-0, in a WPIAL Class 3A semifinal. With Wednesday’s home victory, they now will get another crack at winning the program’s first WPIAL championship.
“There’s literally no better feeling than to get this win in our final home game,” said senior Gina Proviano, whose goal with 17 minutes, 34 seconds left in the first half turned out to be the game winner.
“Last year, we won (the semifinal game) at Mars, and that was amazing, but this feels 10 times better begin able to finish it out where it all started.”
Plum will get its rematch against No. 1 Mars (15-0) for the WPIAL championship and a berth in the PIAA tournament at noon Saturday at North Allegheny.
The Planets punched their ticket to the finals with a 6-0 victory over No. 13 Montour on Wednesday. Mars defeated Plum, 4-0, in last year’s title game at Highmark Stadium.
“Mars is going to bring it Saturday, and we have to be ready for it,” Plum coach Jamie Stewart said.
Plum, now 16-0 on the season, has not allowed a goal in eight straight games since giving up two to North Hills in a 6-2 win Oct. 3.
West Allegheny, a PIAA qualifier last year as the third-place team from the WPIAL, will not get the chance to play for another state berth. Because of covid safety concerns and logistics, only the WPIAL champion will advance to states. The Indians wrap up their season at 11-4.
“I don’t think we played great in the first half,” West Allegheny coach Dave Tissue said. “We came out a little nervous. But the second half, they came out and busted their butt. They played hard.
“It was tough after the game, especially for the seniors. They’ve done so much for this program.”
Each team fired off a pair of shots on goal over the first 20 minutes, but the shots were stopped by the respective goalkeepers — West Allegheny sophomore Kayla Howard and Plum senior Erica Taylor.
Proviano’s goal, her team-best 20th of the season, came from 30 yards and sailed into the back of the net just over Howard’s outstretched hand.
Junior Marissa Liberto provided the pass that set up Proviano’s goal.
Liberto knows what it’s like to record a playoff point against West Allegheny. She had the lone goal in last year’s win.
Both teams finished with six shots on goal, and four of West Allegheny’s six came in the second half.
The Indians applied increased pressure over the final 15 minutes as they attempted to score the equalizer.
Pitt commit Mackenzie Evers and Akron commit Morgan Shansky had solid scoring chances within the box with 10 and eight minutes left, respectively, but Taylor stopped both.
The Plum defense turned away a West Allegheny offensive attempt off a corner kick with 6:30 left and then denied a free kick from 20 yards by Duquesne commit Mackenzie Taranto with about a minute remaining.
“We knew coming out in the second half they were going to put up a fight,” Stewart said. “That last 15, there was a lot of pressure in our end, but the defense stepped up again like they have all season and stood the test from an amazing team. West A is awesome with a lot of extremely talented players. ”
Plum had a couple of chances at an insurance goal in the second half.
Senior Jamie Seneca almost gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead with 27 minutes left in regulation. She corralled the ball at 10 yards and lifted a shot that deflected off the football cross bar about a foot above the soccer goal.
A free kick for Plum with 15:30 left was turned away by a West Allegheny defensive blockade.
“We were all hoping to get another one in the second half, but we were able to do a good job of holding off their scorers, and the one was all we needed,” senior defender and team co-captain Abby Lewis said.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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