Southern Columbia tops Freedom in PIAA Class A girls soccer championship

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Friday, November 18, 2022 | 12:50 PM


MECHANICSBURG — Entering halftime of the PIAA Class A girls soccer final, Freedom was down but hardly out.

Southern Columbia held a 3-2 lead, but after an action-packed opening 40 minutes, that advantage looked slim.

However, the Tigers’ Loren Gehret scored the third of her four goals just 26 seconds into the second half, and the Bulldogs spent the rest of the game fighting uphill.

Southern Columbia won its third straight state championship 5-3 over Freedom on Friday morning, ending the WPIAL champ’s run with silver medals.

“I told the girls just to be proud we were here,” Freedom coach Colin Williams said. “It just got to be too much for some of the younger players. … I would have liked a little more consistency for us. We gave the ball up a little more than I would have liked, but none of that takes away from the year they had. Still a young team.”

Down 4-2 moments into the second half, Freedom (22-5) showed fire straight through to the end.

Shaye Bailey had two opportunities shortly after Southern Columbia’s quick strike. One time she dribbled into the box, but Tiger goalie Quinn Johnson came out to make a tackle-save. The next, her crossing pass from the right side went through the goalmouth but untouched.

Bailey did pull the Bulldogs within 4-3 with 18:15 left in the game with a touch near the right post between the goalie and a defensive back. It was Bailey’s fifth goal in the last two rounds of the state tournament.

The Bulldogs’ best chance to tie came with 11 minutes to go when Julia Mohrbacher played the ball downfield to Bailey, who got a step on her defender. Again, Johnston challenged to prevent a goal.

Gehret, who has 139 goals in her career, iced the Tigers’ win with a breakaway goal with 7:46 on the clock.

“We just wanted to contain her,” Williams said. “But she took some shots from a distance, and she got that one goal by us to set us back.”

Both sides showed offensive fireworks right from the start, with each team tallying a goal in the opening 10 minutes.

Gehret assisted on the first goal that put the Tigers (18-6-1) up 1-0 just 7:40 into the game on a corner, touched in by Ava Yancoskie.

Freedom responded with its own 100-goal scorer, Mohrbacher, evening the score 91 seconds later.

Bailey put the Bulldogs ahead with a touch from the left side of the net with 19:00 left in the first half. But from then until halftime, Gehret had control.

Gehret took a free kick from about 30 yards out that hit the crossbar but came down past the goal line to even the score 2-2 with 9:55 left in the half. Then she put the Tigers back ahead with 5:18 remaining in the half when she received the ball past midfield, settled the ball on the right side and scored into the right edge of the goal.

Freedom finished with eight shots on goal and two corners. Both corner chances were in the first 20 minutes of the game. Goalie Trinity Vojtko made three saves.

Southern Columbia had eight shots on goal and seven corners. Johnston made five saves.

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