Riverview settles for silver after falling to Dock Mennonite in PIAA Class A girls soccer final

Saturday, November 18, 2023 | 12:41 PM

MECHANICSBURG — The Riverview girls soccer team’s history-making postseason run ended one win short of PIAA gold.

District 1 champion Dock Mennonite (21-1-2) scored twice in the in the first half and three more times over the final 40 minutes to finish off a 5-1 victory in the Class A title game Saturday morning at Cumberland Valley’s Eagle View Middle School Field.

“The girls had an amazing season,” Riverview coach Sean Abraham said.

“We just got outplayed today. There were some calls that didn’t go our way, but that happens. The girls came out wanting to play the best soccer they could. It seemed like they wanted it more than we did. Again, that happens.”

The contest marked the first PIAA championship game appearance for both teams.

The most successful season in program history concluded with the Raiders, the WPIAL runners-up, holding a 22-4 record.

“These girls accomplished a ton this season, from where we were at the start, putting the pieces together and having a number of freshmen play big roles,” Abraham said. “The girls came together and played really good soccer, and I am really proud of them.”

Dock Mennonite (21-1-2) finished its run to the title with a 21-game unbeaten streak since starting the season 1-1.

The Pioneers girls join their boys counterpart as state champions. The Dock boys won four PIAA soccer titles from 2002 to 2009.

“This is the first state title win for any girls team at Dock, so it is pretty exciting,” Dock coach Stacey Vaitis-Dubost said.

“We called it in the preseason, that it was going to be a good year. We were injury-free for most of the year, which was something different than last year. We also focused a lot on mental health. The girls did all they needed to do, on and off the field, to be prepared to win every game and get this far.”

Dock added on to their halftime lead with 20 minutes, 9 seconds left in the second half on a goal from freshman standout Ashley Brown.

Brown finished with four goals. She ended her debut varsity season with 41.

She also scored twice in the semifinal win over District 11 champion Moravian Academy.

“As a freshman, she comes into each game a little nervous, but you would never know that with the way she plays,” Vaitis-Dubost said.

“She’s comes up big in each game for us, especially in the postseason.”

The Pioneers finished with an 18-3 advantage in shots, 14-2 in shots on goal.

They also led in corners, 8-0.

Junior Chiara Brun made nine saves for the Raiders.

Despite the three-goal deficit, Riverview kept battling and generated a push with just under 12 minutes left. It resulted in a goal by freshman Mary Quinlan. It was her 16th goal of the season.

But Dock answered right back with 10:39 to play, regaining the momentum on a score from Brown for the hat trick. She recorded her fourth goal with 8:21 left.

The Pioneers maintained a majority of the offensive possession from the start.

Dock got on the board seven minutes into the game on the 20th goal of the season from senior Ashley Lapp. Brown’s first came at 12:10 until halftime to make it 2-0.

Riverview’s first shot came with about seven minutes left in the first half. Senior Lola Abraham’s attempt rolled about 4 feet to the left of the Pioneers goal and out of play.

She tallied the Raiders’ first shot on goal with 30:08 left in the second half. With a half dozen defenders collapsing toward her, Abraham was able to get free and fire off a shot from about 20 yards that landed in the hands of Dock sophomore keeper Emily Markel.

“She is one of the best players I’ve seen, technically, at this age,” Vaitis-Dubost said.

“She will have some great days at Pitt. Any game we’ve played, there’s been that one player. We’ve learned who can match up well. I didn’t make any switches until the second half. When we got the lead, we started to mark her tighter.”

Abraham finished the season with 77 goals and her three-year career with 176.

Riverview is young with just two seniors — Abraham and Georgia Tsambis — on the roster. Several freshmen were featured in the starting lineup.

Coach Abraham feels the team’s future is bright.

“I know this was a loss, and it was disappointing, but with the young girls, it is a learning moment for them,” he said.

“We have some young girls coming up, too. They all will be hungry to come back and hopefully do it again. I am happy with where the program is and where it can still go.”

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


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