Shady Side Academy earns spot in WPIAL Class A girls soccer finals

Monday, October 28, 2019 | 10:09 PM

Callie Davis had a hat trick and Melissa Riggins scored twice as No. 3 Shady Side Academy scored a 5-1 victory over second-seeded Bentworth in a WPIAL Class A girls soccer semifinal matchup Monday night.

The Bearcats (18-2) scored the opening goal of the game 14 minutes in before the Indians (16-1) netted five unanswered goals and never looked back, clinching a spot in the WPIAL title game for the third time in the last four years.

“I thought they actually had a lot of trouble with us in the first half. We even had a lot of the possession and I thought we limited them a lot,” Bentworth head coach Tyler Hamstra said. “Their second goal was tough, going right into halftime as it makes you come back down to reality a little bit. They’re a really good team and when they went up, we had to push numbers up and it left us vulnerable.”

With the win, Shady Side Academy will face No. 5 Greensburg Central Catholic at Highmark Stadium at a date and time to be determined. GCC defeated top-seeded Freedom, 4-3, on Monday.

“I am super proud of this group of girls for the work they have done this season,” Shady Side Academy head coach Mary Lynch said. “I don’t think we had our best first half, but I think we came out, settled in and played more of our game, possessing the ball really well.”

As she has done throughout the WPIAL playoffs, Jocelyn Timlin provided an offensive boost early for the Bearcats.

Timlin scored the game’s opening goal, her seventh of the playoffs, by taking a pass from Paige Marshalek, deking around a pair of Shady Side Academy defenders and blasting a shot past goalkeeper Molly Skvorak for a 1-0 Bentworth lead.

“That was big. I think you saw everybody take a boost and look up a little bit more after that,” Hamstra said. “I thought that really needed to happen. It led to 50 to 60 good minutes there.”

Shady Side Academy was quick to respond to Timlin’s first goal.

Less than four minutes later, Davis beat goalkeeper Jasmine Manning from in close after receiving a cross from Riggins to tie the game at 1-1.

The Indians came away with what ended up being the game-winning goal with four minutes left in the first half. A Davis free kick led to a header by Riggins that got past Manning, giving Shady Side Academy a 2-1 halftime lead.

“I think that was a little bit of a wake-up call for us when they scored first.” Lynch said. “To be able to get the equalizer and then go up 2-1 at halftime, that was huge for us.”

Riggins netted her second goal of the game with just under 20 minutes to go on a shot from about 20 yards out. Davis finished off the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final 17:07 of the game.

“Both of them have been leaders on and off the field all season,” Lynch said. “Callie has an amazing ability to score goals and Melissa has a great ability to set up her teammates. In the second half, they were really able to do those things and were able to connect with one another.”

Bentworth was limited to just one shot in the final 40 minutes as Shady Side Academy dominated possession and made things tough on Timlin and Marshalek’s ability to generate offense.

“Obviously we went away from our game a little bit and it’s tough,” Hamstra said. “If you’re waiting until the semifinals where your better athletes are matched with just athletes just as good, it can be frustrating. There aren’t many times our top players see players that are as good as them.”

Bentworth will play Freedom in the third-place game with a spot in the PIAA playoffs up for grabs. That game will take place at a date, site and time to be determined.

“They have to have a short memory on this one,” Hamstra said. “They can’t let this one affect the next one.”

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