Riverview, Springdale girls soccer teams hit reset button for PIAAs; rematch could await

Monday, November 6, 2023 | 7:17 PM

The Riverview and Springdale girls soccer teams could meet for a third time this season Saturday afternoon, provided they take care of business against district-champion opponents in their PIAA Class A first-round matches Tuesday.

Raiders coach Sean Abraham and Dynamos coach Marc Bentley said their teams are not looking ahead to a potential rematch, knowing they will have their hands full once they complete long bus rides to their respective game sites.

“That would be nice to see them again Saturday, but we can’t afford to not concentrate on what we have right in front of us,” Bentley said.

“We hope to play well tomorrow and get a winning result, and then we can look to the next round.”

Riverview (19-3) hopes to bounce back from a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Freedom in Friday’s WPIAL title game at Highmark Stadium when it visits District 5 champion Conemaugh Township (19-1).

Tuesday’s contest is the Raiders’ first PIAA playoff game.

“I felt we dominated the better part of the (WPIAL title) game with possession,” Abraham said. “There was just that one unlucky bounce with the ball getting through.

“We had a practice (Sunday), and the team was in pretty good spirits. We talked about some things we did wrong against Freedom and a couple of mental letdowns we had in the game. They know they have a great opportunity in the state tournament.”

Springdale (14-4) will make a two-hour trip to Erie’s Seneca High School to face the undefeated District 10 champion Bobcats (17-0).

The Dynamos hope to build on last Thursday’s 7-0 triumph over South Allegheny in the WPIAL third-place game.

“It felt really good,” junior forward Molly Hurley said.

“We knew we had to put (the Freedom loss) behind us and get our heads back in the game. There were some nerves knowing we had to win, but we just had to stay confident. We were also just excited to be in that position with a chance to go to states.”

Briana Ross scored five goals in the win, and Kai Williams added two scores. The five goals give Ross a team-best 46 on the season.

Seneca defeated Mercer to claim its first District 10 championship. The Bobcats had lost in the title game the past three years.

Junior midfielder Olivia Pikiewicz scored all four goals against Mercer.

The Seneca defense has allowed only four goals all season.

“They have a lot of talent, and we expect it to be a tough game,” Bentley said.

“(Pikiewicz) is a strong player for them, but to go undefeated the way they have, it’s not just about one player. We know they will have quality all over the field. It will be a good challenge to play a new team, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Springdale is making its second consecutive appearance in the state tournament. Last year, as the WPIAL runner-up, the Dynamos ended an 11-year PIAA drought and defeated District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep, 2-0, in the first round.

Conemaugh Township’s only loss this season came in overtime to District 5 rival Windber, 4-3, in the regular season. The Indians avenged that loss, 3-2, in the District 5 title game last Wednesday.

It ended Windber’s two-year title reign.

“We did find a little info on them and know they have some talented goal scorers,” Abraham said.

“It would be nice to know a little bit more about them, but if we go in and play the game we know how to play, the way we’ve been playing all year, possessing the ball and taking care of the ball like we should, I feel we’ll be OK.

Conemaugh Township outscored its opponents 22-4 in three District 5 playoff games and is averaging 6.3 goals a game. They are led by a junior 1-2 punch of Izzy Slezak (49 goals, 19 assists) and Ashlyn Fetterman (39 goals, 28 assists).

This is the first trip to the PIAA playoffs for the current Indians players. Conemaugh Township last played in the state playoffs in 2019 and fell to Freedom, 6-1.

“Obviously, we didn’t get the result we wanted against Freedom, but we all recognized that getting to that point to play for a WPIAL title was a great accomplishment,” senior Lola Abraham said.

“We all collected ourselves and realized we have something bigger to play for with the state playoffs. If we continue working together as a team like we know how to do, I think we will see even more success.”

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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