Clearfield upends St. Marys
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
ST. MARYS - It was a tale of two halves Monday at the St. Marys Middle School in the District 9 Class AAA girls soccer playoffs.
But it was the second half that really told the tale.
After running to a 1-1 deadlock with the host Lady Dutch in the first 40 minutes of play, Clearfield took complete control. The Lady Bisons dominated possession and scored a pair of second-half goals on their way to a 3-1 semifinal round win.
"At halftime I told the girls that St. Marys was playing like they wanted it more," Clearfield head coach Jen Wright said. "We had maybe two or three girls that wanted it in the first half. I told them they had 10 minutes to go out and prove to me that they wanted this game, and that's what they did. The intensity really picked up.
"I just said, ‘ladies, you can't hold anything back, you have to go for it,' and they did. In the playoffs anything can happen. It comes down to the gut-check, and who wants it more. St. Marys didn't let up. They wanted it. You have to want it. There are no second chances in the playoffs. It was a great effort. It was a fun game. But it was scary at times."
Clearfield grabbed the momentum from the second-half kickoff, working the ball into the Lady Dutch end and keeping it there for nearly the entire first 20 minutes of play after the break. The Lady Bisons' dangerous duo of B.J. Bowman and Brooke Mohney kept constant pressure on Lady Dutch keeper Becky Aul, and midfielders Katlyn Reddinger, Julia Ammerman, Abby Fishbone and Nichole Powers supported the forwards and helped to lock the ball in the attack zone.
"Power and Fishbone and, at times, Mohney were playing the inside and helped us keep our shape," Wright said. "The outside mids (Ammerman and Reddinger) were giving us good runs and crosses. And what can you say about Bowman and Mohney up front? And (Jess) Maines was up there in the first half and played well, too."
The Lady Bisons had numerous scoring chances before Bowman, who scored Clearfield's first goal, gave the Lady Bisons the lead at 47:19.
Bowman buried the ball in the back of the Lady Dutch net after taking a perfect cross pass from Mohney. Bowman was a driving force for Clearfield all game long. She led Clearfield with seven shots and had a couple near misses in addition to the pair of goals.
"She wanted it," Wright said of Bowman. "She came out and told the girls, ‘let's go,' Leadership like that from a freshman ... you can't ask for anything more. She did not stop. She went to the ball, and she was bound and determined. She played hard and aggressive, solid soccer."
Mohney gave the Lady Bisons a two-goal cushion at 59:22 when she broke in behind the St. Marys defense on a though ball and dribbled in all alone on Aul before beating the Lady Dutch keeper to her right.
Moments after the Mohney score, St. Marys' Kayla Hoohuli broke into the Clearfield end with the ball and appeared to have a breakaway opportunity. But sweeper Lisa Bumbarger got to Hoohuli just before the Lady Dutch forward took a shot. Hoohuli had to make a move to avoid Bumbarger and sent a weak shot to the net that Clearfield keeper Brandie Centi handled with ease. Centi made 10 saves in the contest.
"Brandie had great hands and didn't give up any second chances," Wright said. "And Bumbarger, (Janell) Zalno, (Emily) Barger and (Courtney) Morgan were all solid on defense. They really picked it up a notch in that second half."
The Lady Bisons held St. Marys to just two more shots the rest of the way.
St. Marys opened the scoring at 15:10 when Hoohuli got loose on a breakaway and booted the ball by Centi.
"We got beat by a through ball, and Hoohuli finished it well," Wright said.
Clearfield got the all-important equalizer less than nine minutes before the half when Bowman jammed the ball into the net from very close range. Aul had made the initial save on Bumbarger's direct kick but couldn't control the ball. Bowman seized the opportunity by following the shot and drilling the ball home.
"We keep telling the girls to follow up the shots," Wright said. "You never know when the keeper may mishandle or bobble the ball. B.J. was at the right place at the right time.
"That goal changed the momentum and helped us get back into the game. Set pieces are important. They are key at this level of soccer. We capitalized on it."
Clearfield improved to 7-11-1 with the win. The Lady Bisons are back in action Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Brockway in the District 9 Class AAA title game. They will meet DuBois, which beat Bradford, 5-0 in the other semifinal, on Monday.
"It's great to be back in the finals," Wright said. "We haven't been there for a couple seasons. For a young team, it will be a great experience for them."
Clearfield 3, St. Marys 1
1. Kayla Hoohuli, SM, (unassisted), 15:10.
2. B.J. Bowman, C, (Lisa Bumbarger), 31:25.
3. Bowman, C, (Brooke Mohney), 47:19.
4. Mohney, C, (unassisted), 59:22.
Shots: Clearfield 24, St. Marys 11.
Saves: Clearfield (Brandie Centi) 10, St. Marys (Becky Aul) 12.
Corner kicks: Clearfield 5, St. Marys 2.