Springdale girls soccer makes statement with strong start

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021 | 5:37 PM


The Springdale girls soccer team opened some eyes Sept. 4 when it toppled perennial Class 2A playoff contender Deer Lakes by a 7-3 score at Lancers Stadium.

The Dynamos followed up that victory with an 11-1 rout of Class 2A Highlands.

Springdale wasn’t done as it won a low-scoring 2-1 game last Thursday against Freeport, another playoff contender in Class 2A.

Coach Marc Bentley said that despite the strong start, the Dynamos players are not taking anything lightly.

“We knew there were going to be some tough tests early on that would help us see where we stood, but I was confident in what we had coming into the start of the season,” said Bentley, whose roster includes just three seniors all the way down to a group of freshman which, he said, are making an impact right out of the gate.

“The girls really worked hard in the offseason and in preseason practices to improve and be ready. We could really tell coming in that we have a good team spirit. Everyone wants to work hard for each other. The practices have been more competitive. We just had a good feel about the team.”

With those three nonsection games behind them, Springdale opened up Section 1-A play Tuesday evening at Ligonier Valley.

“There is such a strong bond among the team that I haven’t seen before,” senior Lilly Iadicicco said. “Whether you are starting or coming off the bench, everyone supports each other. We need to keep that closeness going if we are going to be successful this season.”

The Dynamos host 2020 WPIAL quarterfinalist Serra Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Thursday . before Saturday’s 11 a.m. home contest against last year’s WPIAL champion and PIAA finalist Greensburg Central Catholic.

“We just want to keep it rolling in section play,” Bentley said. “The girls have taken the attitude of, ‘Yeah, we won our first three games, but we haven’t really done anything yet.’ The section games are what we are really focusing on now to keep that momentum going. There’s always going to be tough games in our section.”

Springdale didn’t waste any time against Deer Lakes, putting four goals on the board in the first half to take a 4-0 lead into halftime.

“We were just more ruthless in front of the goal than we have been in the past,” Bentley said. “It was 4-0 at halftime, so it was a great start to the game and a great start to the season. We let them get back into it at 4-3, but we then showed a lot of resilience and character to score those last three goals.”

Junior Grace Gent scored five goals against the Lancers, and freshman Brianna Ross added two in her varsity debut.

Senior Isabella Walsh provided two assists, while juniors Alana Rudolf, Georgia Dale and freshman Carissa Walsh added helpers.

“Since our freshmen year, (Deer Lakes) has been a difficult team to beat,” Isabella Walsh said. “But we were confident. We were making the passes and were doing a lot of the little things we needed to get the win. I think we really made a statement against Deer Lakes.”

Gent and Iadicicco each scored twice to lead the Dynamos to the win over Highlands.

Springdale fell behind Freeport within the first minute of last Thursday’s matchup at Freeport. The Dynamos responded with a goal from Iadicicco about five minutes before halftime. They got what turned out to be the game winner from Ross with about 20 minutes left in regulation.

The goal was Ross’ fourth of the season to go along with two assists.

“That was a really good feeling to help the team get the win like that,” Ross said. “I don’t think people expected that from me when I first came to the team. But I just want to help the team any way I can. The more games we play, the more confidence we (younger players) have.”

Sophomore Ashley Ross and junior Mikayla Dileo provided assists against the Yellowjackets.

Freeport, with several dangerous offensive weapons, pressed in the stretch run to get the equalizer, but the Dynamos defense and junior goalkeeper Caity Stec stood tall.

“The girls just did a really professional job of closing out the game,” Bentley said. “Going down 1-nil so early, it would’ve been easy for them to lose their heads. But we dug in. Caity made a couple of big saves for us. We kept possession well, and that often is the best form of defense. I told the girls after the game that they defended like warriors.”

Springdale is gunning for its fifth straight trip to the WPIAL playoffs. Last year, after a regular season of covid unpredictability, the Dynamos defeated Bentworth, 4-1, in the first round before falling to GCC in the quarterfinals.

“All throughout the team, all the girls have worked to be able to contribute,” Bentley said. “There is a long way to go, and we just have to knuckle down and keep grinding so we’re ready to meet all the goals and expectations we’ve set for ourselves.”

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

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