South Fayette nets golden goal in OT to dethrone Moon in Class 3A girls soccer

Saturday, November 4, 2023 | 4:02 PM

The nerves of playing in the WPIAL Class 3A girls soccer championship game Saturday at Highmark Stadium didn’t rattle Mia Deramo.

The South Fayette sophomore forward has played plenty of high-level games at the venue as part of the Riverhounds’ developmental program. Before Deramo scored the game-winning goal with 1 minute, 55 seconds left in the second overtime, she wasn’t beset by nervous energy.

“No, this is my home field,” Deramo said. “I’m used to the width. I play for the Hounds. I’m used to the size of the field. We went over the dimensions of the field. We watched film on this field. We wanted it a lot.”

Deramo hammered in the game’s only goal, a rocket off a failed clearance that touched the top of the net before bouncing down to give South Fayette a 1-0 win and its first WPIAL title.

“I was wide open and it was rebounding back and forth,” Deramo said. “The goal was frantic, and we only had three more minutes and I shot it.”

The Lions (15-4-2) had found a lot of success against Moon, which had won consecutive district championships in two different classes. During the regular season, the Lions ended Moon’s 48-game unbeaten streak when Alex Delaney scored the winner Sept. 13.

The teams drew the other time they met in section play.

South Fayette coach Nicholas Rosser was pleased with the victory. Until close to the game day, he was unaware the Lions hadn’t won a WPIAL title before.

“I didn’t even know it was the first time,” Rosser said. “I’ve been with South Fayette for about seven years. It’s just outstanding. It’s an epic situation. It riled everyone up to try and get that win too.”

Moon (15-2-2) had its fair share of opportunities to break through. The Tigers had nine corner kicks, including five in the second half.

Moon put seven shots on goal, led by three from Marina Mollica.

“They put a ball away. We didn’t,” Tigers coach Bill Pfeifer said. “It was that simple. We had our chances and played well. I knew it was a game that would probably be 1-0 at the end.”

Both teams had few clear shots on net. The Lions finished with a 10-7 edge in shots on net. Both teams hit many shots from harsh angles that landed outside the net. South Fayette didn’t want the match going to overtime.

“I told the girls the whole time regulation is where we are going to have to beat them,” Rosser said. “I’d rather win in regulation.”

Late in the second overtime, South Fayette had a chance to put things away. The Lions swung a corner kick into the box that Moon keeper Serayah Leech punched up in the air. After the scramble, Deramo got on the end of the winning goal.

“It means a lot,” Deramo said. “We worked hard all year, and it feels amazing. From the beginning, we really wanted it. I think it showed a lot who wanted it more.”

Pfeifer was proud of his team for earning another trip to the title game.

“For us to get back down here is an accomplishment to these kids,” Pfeifer said. “It’s not the same team as last year or the year before. It’s a completely different team, and I’m proud of them.”

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