Springdale girls soccer team trips Greensburg CC after going a player down in final minute

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | 10:18 PM

Playing 10-on-11 didn’t sit well with Springdale.

The thought of being a girl down in overtime against Greensburg Central Catholic in an emotional section game that pitted 1 vs. 2 made the Dynamos nervous.

So sophomore Brooke Taliani took that nervous energy and made sure the game ended in regulation and in dramatic fashion on her home field.

Calmly, Taliani took a cross from sophomore Briana Ross, just seconds after senior Georgia Dale left the game after her second yellow card, and scored past GCC sophomore keeper Leah Jones with 28 seconds remaining.

The thrilling goal gave No. 1 Springdale a 3-2 victory over No. 2 GCC in a Section 1-A girls soccer game Wednesday night.

Dale would have had to sit out overtime, giving GCC an extra attacker. The Dynamos somehow had extra energy in the closing seconds.

Short-handed goals are rare in high school soccer, but Springdale (8-1, 7-0) celebrated one that extended its winning streak to seven and earned it a sweep.

Springdale also beat GCC (6-3, 5-2), 3-2, in the section opener.

“It was pretty stressful there at the end,” Taliani said. “We had to pick up our heads and keep playing. We knew it wasn’t over. Bri sent a cross, and it came to me and I finished. It was all her.”

The teams had as many yellow cards as goals, combining for five — three on Springdale — with all of them coming in the second half.

“We fought to the very end,” Springdale coach Marc Bentley said. “Briana slid a perfect pass to Brooke. Those girls worked hard for each other. It was a great performance.”

GCC lost standout senior Sara Felder, a Youngstown State commit, to a leg injury with 20 minutes to play. She did not return.

Springdale dominated possession with Felder out, tilting the field with its high press and possessing the ball as it worked for shots.

The Dynamos somehow got the ball into the final third in the closing seconds to stun GCC, which had a five-game winning streak end.

“We got caught flat-footed at a bad time,” GCC coach Kara Batey said of the go-ahead goal. “We knew this was going to be a battle. All it takes in games like this is one slip-up. But I have nothing negative to say about our girls. This will prepare us for big games down the road.”

Sophomore Sophie Fisher gave GCC a 1-0 lead on a goal eight minutes in.

Springdale rallied to tie GCC twice. Freshman Hailey Machlewski sent a slow-rolling ball toward the right post, and Jones leaned over to get her hands it and tried to roll the ball forward. But some sidespin on a soggy grass field made for a strange turn, and the ball trickled in to make it 1-1 with 17:44 to play in the first half.

Sophomore Riley Kerr dribbled straight at Dymamos senior keeper Caity Stec in the 25th minute. Stec made a save on Kerr’s attempt, but freshman Jiana Patterson was there to put back the rebound for her second varsity goal to make it 2-1, which was the halftime score.

Springdale was quick to respond, scoring two minutes into the second half on a 20-yard blast by senior Grace Gent.

Felder had her right leg wrapped in ice after the game.

“Once Felder was taken out, we knew we had to pick it up,” Taliani said. “We want to control possession against them and that is what we did.”

Batey was pleased with her team’s effort in such a hostile environment against an opponent of Springdale’s ilk.

“After the game, the girls had something positive to say,” Batey said. “They did the talking. It wasn’t me. Our girls have heart, and they will bounce back. We did a good job controlling the controllables until we couldn’t control the controllables. We still have some things to learn.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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