Southmoreland girls soccer team advances to WPIAL quarters

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 | 9:32 PM

The Southmoreland girls soccer team defended its home turf and showed why it’s the No. 2 seed in Class 2A with a 6-0 victory over West Mifflin on Tuesday night at Russ Grimm Field in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

The Scotties (13-1-2) play the winner of Tuesday’s late game between Mt. Pleasant (12-5-0) and Beaver Area (9-4-0) on Saturday in the quarterfinals. The game will be played at Southmoreland, but the time is yet to be determined.

“I will be anxious to see who we are playing, but we will be ready for either one,” Southmoreland coach Josh Pajak said. “You always want to play at home. It is kind of unique, last few years they are having the first couple of games at home, but you want to take advantage of that.”

The Titans’ season comes to an end at 4-13-2.

“Our keeper is one of our leaders, and we knew we could rely on her to be a big leader for our team,” West Mifflin coach Molly Peddicord said. “We expected kind of the situation to happen today, as it did, but this is our first time making the playoffs since 1999. They showed up and played their best, and we are very proud of them. Our goal was to make playoffs, and we accomplished that goal. Good luck to them, and hopefully, they do well, and we couldn’t be more proud of our team this year.”

It didn’t take the Scotties long to crack the scoreboard as Amanda Hoffer scored off a rebound at 36 minutes, 57 seconds of the first half.

“Getting a goal early was key because their keeper was phenomenal,” Pajak said. “I thought West Mifflin played well. Physically, they are a strong team.”

Southmoreland scored again off a rebound as Olivia Cernuto’s first shot was stopped by Titans keeper Emily Beck, but the second went into the net for a 2-0 lead at 29:16 of the first.

Beck kept West Mifflin in the match with a save on a 29-yard free kick by Kendall Fabery at 27:45 of the first.

Cernuto had three shots on target stopped by Beck. The Scotties also had four corner kicks in the first half, but Beck made three saves and the Titans’ backline cleared away the fourth opportunity.

Beck made 12 saves in the first half, including several point-blank stops. She stopped 24 shots overall.

Autumn Bartos’ quick pass set up Cernuto for the goal at 14:40 of the first and a 3-0 advantage for the home team. Southmoreland held a three-goal lead at the half.

“It was nice to see everybody contribute and everybody score,” Cernuto said. “It was a great team effort. Our backline played great tonight and didn’t let anything through. We really don’t care who we play next. We will be ready.”

The Scotties had two opportunities for a 4-0 edge early in the second half as Taylor Klingensmith fed Cernuto with a perfect pass, but the shot went over the net. Fabery also had a shot go high.

Klingensmith had a shot go off the post at 33:25 of the second, but Cernuto was able to cash in and score at 32:36 of the second and a 4-0 lead. Cernuto’s third goal of the night was her 23rd of the season. Fabery assisted on Cernuto’s tally.

Southmoreland scored on its sixth corner kick as Kylie Queer redirected Gabby Fabery’s shot at 21:08 of the second for a 5-0 advantage.

West Mifflin’s Jaliyiah Grzyb took a corner kick with 19 minutes left, but the Scotties cleared before a shot on goal was taken.

Southmoreland keeper Kaylee Keys made her lone save with 13:54 left, when she stopped Adrianna Johns.

“We defend well as a team,” Pajak said. “As soon as we lose the ball, we try to gain it back. We try to gain it back in their end, obviously. As soon as we lose the ball, we defend, and we’ve done that.”

The Scotties’ Kayli Redmond closed the scoring at 9:01 of the second.

West Mifflin was issued a yellow card with 25:24 remaining after Bartos was hit hard in the back. Bartos was able to get up and walk off the field.

“(Bartos) was able to get off the field, but I will have to get with her mom and see if she is OK,” Pajak said. “I’m really not sure at this time.”

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