Strong finish lifts Bethel Park into WPIAL girls soccer playoffs

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Saturday, October 23, 2021 | 11:01 AM


The turnaround began last year and continued into this season.

After sitting out the WPIAL soccer playoffs from 2015-18, the Bethel Park girls team qualified last year with a 6-4-2 section record, then continued the process in 2021 in a hard-fought battle with rivals Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair.

The Black Hawks went 5-1-1 down the season’s home stretch to wrap up the playoff berth with a 6-5-1 record in Section 2-4A, tied for third place with Mt. Lebanon

Back-to-back shutouts Oct. 11-13 against USC (1-0) and Baldwin (9-0) clinched an appearance in the postseason for the Bethel Park girls.

Senior captain Lily Gaston, a Johns Hopkins recruit, peppered in four goals from her forward position against Baldwin while freshman forwards Grace Ferency and Sydney Felicetti, juniors Eva Blatz (MF) and Meghan Tischler (D) and sophomore Olivia Dawson (MF) added one apiece. Felicetti netted her first varsity goal.

Along with the goal-scorers, other contributors against Baldwin included seniors Julie Heh (D) and Macy Mathias (MF); juniors Marena Chernicky (D), Kristen Horgan (D) and Lauren Heh (F); plus sophomore Alexandria Francus (GK) and freshmen Freya Blatz (GK) and Keira Mehalo (MF).

Julie Heh netted the game-winner against USC off a cross from Gaston in the 53rd minute. Blatz recorded the shutout as the back line of Heh, Tischler, Chernicky and Horgan held the Panthers to zero shots on goal.

Bethel Park also defeated South Park (3-0), Mt. Lebanon (3-2) and Norwin (3-0) in October, lost to Canon-McMillan, 1-0, and played to a 1-1 tie with Peters Township.

The Black Hawks ended the regular season with a 10-5-1 record; they finished 6-5-2 overall in 2020.

Moon (10-1-1), Peters Township (7-2-3), Bethel Park and Mt. Lebanon finished as the top teams in the section. USC (5-5-2) narrowly missed out on the postseason, while Canon-McMillan (4-8) and Baldwin (0-12) rounded out the standings.

Bethel Park opened the season with a pair of victories in the Avonworth tournament, defeating North Hills, 8-1, and South Fayette, 5-1.

The Bethel Park girls enjoyed their home-field advantage in 2021, losing only once in nine games on their home turf and racking up a 7-1-1 record with five shutouts.

The Black Hawks enjoyed their home-field advantage, losing only once in nine games on their home turf and racking up a 7-1-1 record with five shutouts.

Bethel Park enjoyed a 21-4 scoring difference at home. In fact, they did not allow more than one goal in any home game all season.

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