Springdale girls soccer team building on last season’s success

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 | 9:11 PM

The Springdale girls soccer team is the hunted this season coming off of what it did last year as a WPIAL Class A finalist and a PIAA quarterfinalist.

The Dynamos, the No. 1 team this week in the TribLive HSSN Class A rankings, also is a team with a target on its back for how it has rolled through the early portion of its season. They have outscored opponents 45-4 through six games en route to a 6-0 overall record (5-0 in Section 1).

“(The ranking) is definitely cool, but we know we can’t get cocky or overconfident about it,” said junior Molly Hurley, a team captain this year with senior Ashley Ross and junior Brooke Taliani. “We can’t let that affect us in any bad ways. We can’t get complacent. We have to keep working hard and know that teams are coming for us to knock us off.”

Springdale lost 10 seniors, talent all over the field, from last year’s team, which battled Freedom in the WPIAL title game before falling 3-0. Included in those losses was All-­WPIAL forward Grace Gent, who is a freshman on the women’s team at Chatham.

The Dynamos knocked off District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep, 2-0, in the first round of states. Their run ended in the next round at the hands of section rival Greensburg Central Catholic.

“There were a lot of expectations coming into this year because of what all of us can do,” said Hurley, who owns six goals and five assists. “We knew we had a few starters back, and there were younger girls ready to step up and fill the holes left by those who graduated.

“We knew that we would have to work hard in the offseason to put all the pieces together, and we did that because we didn’t want this run to end.”

Springdale is keenly aware of a big test Thursday in what is expected to be a celebratory atmosphere at Riverside Park in Oakmont.

It is the first meeting between the Dynamos and River­view, (6-1, 4-1) led by senior goal-­scoring machine Lola Abraham. The game is set for 6 p.m. and is part of Riverview’s series of homecoming games under the lights. The Riverview and Springdale boys play at 8 p.m., and the Riverview football team hosts Frazier on Friday evening.

The Riverview girls’ lone loss is a 4-3 setback to Greensburg Central Catholic in the section opener Aug. 28.

“I think everyone is going to show up and really support both teams,” Hurley said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re going to have to be at our best because Riverview is playing very well. We understand it’s not going to be an easy game, and we have to be focused and prepared. We know they have talent everywhere. That just increases our determination and motivation.”

The Dynamos made the WPIAL stand up and take notice with seven goals scored in a 7-2 win over Class 2A Deer Lakes in their opener Aug. 26.

Junior Briana Ross picked up right where she left off last year when she scored 19 goals and added 17 assists.

Ross tallied five goals and an assist to pace Springdale against the Lancers. Ashley Ross and sophomore Hailey Marchlewski added goals, and Taliani and sophomore Ariana Caltagarone provided assists.

“It really gave us a lot of confidence going into the next few games as we started section matches,” Springdale coach Marc Bentley said.

“Last year, we played them in one of our first games, and they beat us 2-1. I said later on in the season that it was one of the best things that happened to us because it helped us build and eventually get us to Highmark. This time, we came out confident, and the girls played super well against a strong, well-coached team.

“It was important to see how we would come out because we had new players in the lineup and other girls playing new positions. That game really helped us figure things out and settle in.”

Springdale built on the win over Deer Lakes with a 3-0 shutout of section rival Greensburg Central Catholic four days later.

“I was really proud of everyone on this team for that win,” said Hurley, who scored a goal and added an assist in the game.

“It was definitely a whole team effort, and it needed to be.”

Briana Ross, the team leader in goals (17) and assists (10), scored twice and helped produce another against the Centurions, and junior goalkeeper Baileigh Haas produced a clean sheet.

It is one of three shutouts for the Springdale defense this season.

“Baileigh made a huge save to keep it at 0-0 in the first half,” Bentley said. “We had Brooke Taliani and (sophomore) Lacey Shondeck move to center back. We lost one of our center backs from last year to graduation, and the other decided not to come back this year. They started in an unfamiliar position, but they’ve been outstanding.

“They are cornerstones of the defense. Having Hailey Marchlewski playing in front of them, they’ve been solid. To shut out a team like GCC is really impressive.”

Thursdays game with Riverview starts a gauntlet that continues at Aquinas Academy on Saturday, at OLSH on Monday before the section rematches with GCC on the road and Seton LaSalle at home.

Springdale defeated Seton, 3-1, when the teams met Sept. 6.

“We talked about this important stretch of games,” Bentley said.

“We’re definitely going to learn more about ourselves and who we are this season. We’re looking forward to matching up with some really good, well-coached opposition.”

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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