End of the line

Girls’ WPIAL playoff run ends in consolation game

Joey Pail and Carly Park

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On Nov. 4, the girls walked off the field after the last game of their season, having lost to Shady Side Academy 3-2. The sight of depression in the girls’ faces could be seen by everyone and reached down to all the hearts of parents and students in the stands. Not a word was said when they collected their bags and belongings and walked to the bus. A few congratulatory words were called from those standing at the exit of the gate, but no acknowledgements were given back. It was like this to the bus and ride home to their last team bonding excursion, where they ate at Napoli’s Pizza.

For Sophomore Lynnsey Kauffman, the loss was most devastating, though every team member was struck by the ending of this game. Kauffman had the ball at the 40-yard line on Shady Side Academy’s side of the field. As she sprinted for goal to score the possible tying goal and send the teams to over time, she was caught by a defender of the other team. The “catch,” however, ended in a trip from behind at the 10-yard line, three yards in the 18 box, the larger of the two boxes around the goal.

A trip in the box should mean a penalty shot at the goalie, a one-on-one, just the goalie, the ball and the player. This easy goal would have tied the game at 3-3. The referee, however, marked the foul on the outside of the 18 box, which is just a regular kick where the other team can, and did, set up a wall in front of the goal. This is a much harder shot to make and did not end in the girls’ favor.

“It was disappointing that the ref made a bad call, but I feel that things would have been different if we would have put the game away sooner,” Kauffman said.

This game was a devastating blow for the girls’ team, as they expected a further run this year into states after winning sections this year. With a team made up of primarily underclassmen, making it this far into playoffs shows that the team has a greater chance in the future.

“Being a younger team feels like just a team with younger players. It doesn’t really affect [us],” Sophomore Jordan Hartle said.

This has been only the second year in Freedom history that the girls have made it to WPIAL playoffs. Along with this highlight of the year, Junior Alexa Schwab was able to break her old standing record of most goals in a season. It once stood at 35 goals and now stands at 37.

“I cannot score goals without getting passes,” Schwab said. “I’m excited about breaking the record, but my attention is looking forward to next season and what we can accomplish together.”

The girls ended their run in WPIAL playoffs in 4th place, losing to Shady Side Academy who knocked them out of the run for PIAA state playoffs.

The girls played their rivals from last year’s playoffs in the semi-finals game in this playoffs. Last year, they lost to Greensburg Central Catholic 9-1, in the game to decide who would move on to the championship. The girls won 3rd that year and moved onto states where they played Greensburg again for the second time, where they lost again at a score of 5-1. This score is a much smaller deficit to their earlier game that year. This year, however, the girls lost to them again with a score of 7-2.

Greensburg has one of the best players in the state playing offense for them. Their player, Bailey Cartwright, is ranked 180th in PA and makes them a hard team to beat. Greensburg also went on to win first in WPIALs, which shows how Freedom actually did against them.

The score of 7-2 would normally be nothing to be proud of but that is quite the opposite. Greensburg normally would beat their competition by a deficit of 6-9 goals, and sometimes even 11 or 12. They had one loss this year to a pre-season game against Rocky River, 3-1. Out of their 20 games up to and including Freedom, they had 12 shutouts against other teams, the other seven games they had only one goal scored on them. This makes their average goals let 0.35 a game. Freedom was able to score the most goals Greensburg had seen in their net this season with 2 goals against them. The girls may see this entire season as a crash and burn, but the stats say this is only the beginning of a great start.

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