Shady Side Academy girls soccer makes goal count in shutout win over Burrell

Monday, September 27, 2021 | 9:30 PM

The defending Section 2-2A champion Shady Side Academy girls soccer team scored just one time in Monday’s Section 2-2A contest on the turf at Burrell’s Buccaneer Stadium.

But that one score near the midway point of the first half was all the Bulldogs needed for a 1-0 victory.

“We knew coming in that it would be close and competitive,” Shady Side Academy coach Mary Lynch said. “Burrell always gives us a tough game. We knew it was going to be a faster-paced game than some of our recent games. I was really proud of the way our team possessed the ball in the first half and controlled the play. We certainly got a lot of shots off.

“Burrell played a little more defensive in the first half, and we talked at halftime about expecting they would come at us more in the second half, especially with it being a one-goal game. Our kids did a good job adjusting to that.”

Shady Side Academy improved to 4-0 in section and 4-1 overall. The Bulldogs visit Freeport on Wednesday. Burrell fell to 6-2-1 overall, 3-1-1 in section play.

The game’s lone goal came off the foot of Bulldogs senior captain Gabby Hill-Junke, who fired off a shot from about 28 yards that rocketed past Burrell junior keeper Ali Hughes with 23 minutes, 44 seconds left on the first-half clock.

“We knew coming in they were a high-powered offense,” Burrell coach Frank Nesko said. “We looked at the scores they were putting up, their game with Fox Chapel aside (1-0 Fox Chapel win).

“They were winning 4-1, 6-1, results like that. We knew to survive we would have to play a defensive game. We came out with that plan. That was just a great shot (by Hill-Junke). I tip my cap to her. She created a little bit of space and hammered it home.”

Burrell didn’t get its first shot on goal until 21:19 left in regulation.

Burrell finished with four shots, and two were on goal. Erin Vanetta picked up the win in net for the Bulldogs.

The Bucs had a direct-kick opportunity with 2:49 left in regulation, but the attempt from about 22 yards was gobbled up by Vanetta.

Shady Side Academy finished the game with 18 shots, 12 of them on goal. Hughes finished with 11 saves.

Burrell now is 4-1 in games decided by one goal. The Bucs came into the game off a scoreless section tie with Valley on Saturday.

Shady Side Academy pressed early but didn’t get its first shot on goal until the 11th minute. The Bulldogs got a second shot on goal about 20 seconds later, but Hughes was right there to stop both attempts.

The third shot on goal was the Hill-Junke game winner.

The majority of play continued in Burrell’s half of the field for the remaining portion of the first 40 minutes, but the Bucs were able to keep Shady Side off the scoreboard.

Burrell did make a brief push and set up for an indirect kick from 35 yards with 14 minutes left in the half, but sophomore Leah Brockett’s play-generating kick was turned away by the SSA defense.

A second push by the Bucs with seven minutes left got inside the Bulldogs’ 18 but did not bear fruit.

The Bulldogs finished the first half with 10 shots overall. Six were on goal.

Burrell and Shady Side Academy are set to play again Oct. 6.

Burrell steps away from section play Tuesday against Yough before a section match with Highlands on Thursday. The Bucs and Winchester Thurston will meet in nonsection play Saturday.

“We’ll take tomorrow as we always do, one game at a time and go from there,” Nesko said. “When we have time, we’ll look at the tape of this game, and we’ll see what we need to fix. I expect (Shady Side Academy) to come out and be just as good the next time as they were tonight.”

Shady Side Academy swept Burrell last year, winning 3-0 and 2-1 en route to a 10-0 section record, a 12-1 mark overall and a spot in the WPIAL semifinals.

The setbacks were Burrell’s only two in section play. The Bucs ended 7-2 in the section and made it to the WPIAL quarterfinals, finishing 8-4 overall.

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

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