Yough girls soccer team spoils Mt. Pleasant’s night

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021 | 8:45 PM


Finally, a one-goal finish Yough can get behind.

In a girls soccer game that carried more importance in the Section 3-2A standings for Mt. Pleasant, it was Yough that showed greater urgency down the stretch Tuesday evening at sun-splashed Cougar Mountain Stadium.

The fourth-ranked Cougars delivered a tight, 2-1 victory to spoil the No. 3 Vikings’ section title hopes in the teams’ final tuneup for the WPIAL postseason.

“My athletic director (Scott Morrison) had asked me if we wanted any more games added to get ready for the playoffs,” Yough coach Dann Appolonia said. “I told him, we already have one on the schedule. Our girls came out and played a really good game.”

Mt. Pleasant (12-5, 8-2) needed to win or tie to either claim the section title outright, or share it with No. 2 Southmoreland (11-1-2, 8-1-1).

The Vikings have not celebrated a section championship since 2016.

Instead, third-place Yough (12-3-1, 7-2-1) did itself a favor by earning a split with the Vikings and perhaps give its seeding chances a slight boost.

The WPIAL will announce playoff pairings Wednesday, and tournaments could begin play by the weekend.

“Mt. Pleasant had a lot to play for so we figured they’d come out guns a-blazing,” Appolonia said. “I thought they actually had the better of the play, but our girls defended when they needed to. It’s nice to get a win in one of these one-goal games.”

All three of Yough’s losses are by one goal: Burrell (2-1), Southmoreland (4-3) and Mt. Pleasant (2-1).

Yough and Mt. Pleasant have young lineups and could be in this position again next year. Same goes for Southmoreland. The young players are providing big contributions right away.

Freshman Kendalyn Umbel pocketed the winner this time, winding up and blasting a 30-yard shot past keeper Jenna Piper with 18 minutes, 7 seconds remaining to make it 2-1.

“I saw an opportunity and took it,” Umbel said of her 16th goal of the season. “We wanted to win this game for our seniors. It (could be) their last game on this field. It was for them.”

Umbel also scored against Mt. Pleasant in the teams’ earlier meeting off a rebound.

While Mt. Pleasant started well, its opportunities faded as play wore on.

“We didn’t play well,” Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland said. “There was no enthusiasm. Sometimes things don’t work out the way they ought to.”

Mt. Pleasant struck first at the 11-minute mark of the first half when freshman Rylin Bugosh crept her way behind three Yough defenders and touched in a shot past Marin Sleith.

Sophomore Riley Gesinski assisted the score.

Five minutes later, Yough tied it. After a handball in the penalty area on Mt. Pleasant, Yough junior McKenzie Pritts converted a penalty kick left and low past Jenna Piper to make it 1-1.

The score stayed that way until halftime.

Bugosh nearly put the Vikings ahead with 26:53 to play when her charging attempt clipped the post and drew side spin, nearly trickling over the goal line before Sleith corralled it to keep it a 1-1 score.

“We didn’t combine well in front,” Garland said. “It’s not our game to high press and scare the defense into mistakes. We build it up to something. We didn’t do that well tonight.”

Umbel finally broke the tie with her low-rising blast that sent the Cougars on their way.

The defense did the rest.

“That was quite a shot from distance,” Garland said. “She’s a ninth grader. She’s the real deal.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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