Girls’ Soccer wins first ever WPIAL title

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Girls’ Soccer wins first ever WPIAL title

Joey Pail, Staff Writer

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On Nov. 1, the girls’ soccer team traveled to Highmark Stadium to face Freeport in the final round of the WPIAL playoffs. To get to the end of their long trek to the WPIAL Championship, the girls had to face two other teams in the second and semi-finals of playoffs, along with a bye week in the first round. All of which started with their first practice in the beginning of August.

The beginning of the game was in Bulldogs’ grasp, as they took an early lead in the first half. They continued to control the ball on the Yellow Jackets side of the field, with their offense and midfield, all while being supported by the defense. Freedom had finally found a rhythm, that had been slightly out of arm’s reach in the earlier games, which stopped them from controlling the game. This time was different and by the end of the first half they were leading with the score of 2-0.

Both teams entered back on the field with a clean slate on their minds and a clear goal in sight, being the 1st place team. This time, however, Freeport scored the first goal of the second half, but this was not taken slightly and the Bulldogs scored right back.

For another 20 minutes, neither team scored, and it was just a back-and-forth game of defense. Then, in the last few seconds, the whole stadium roared as all the Freedom fans counted down the last 10 seconds of the game. The Freedom girls’ soccer had just won the WPIAL Championship game, and kept their undefeated season of 20-0.

The team they played in the second round were the Avonworth Antelopes, who they had defeated before. This time, the Bulldogs didn’t have their center back and were trying to fill the gap with another player. This was the closest game all year that Freedom came to losing. The game continued to be 0-0 throughout the first half, second half, first overtime and the second overtime.

It came all the way down to a penalty kick shoot-out of five goals. Freedom was first up and was able to sink the first ice-breaking goal. Then, Avonworth responded with a goal of their own, then Freedom and then Avonworth right after that. Finally, it was Avonworth’s fifth time to shoot. The ball crashed right into the crossbar and went up, ultimately missing the goal. All Freedom had to do was score one more goal to win, and they did just that.

“As soon as I walked up to the line to take my shot I started to get a little nervous. After I took my shot, however, I was so relieved that I just stood there and when my team huddled around me, it was definitely one of the most exciting moments we have had this season,” junior Taylor Petroff said.

Their semifinal game was against Highlands at North Allegheny. This game wasn’t as close as the past Avonworth game, however, and ended in a score of 1-0.

“[Avonworth] was the hardest game because we were so anxious to play… and that got to us on the field. Also, we had a lot of time off before that game,” sophomore Alexsia Barlamas said.
The girls’ team had a whole two weeks before their game against Avonworth, and, after that, all other games followed within another week, so their bye week may have caused more harm than good. No matter, the girls still played their game and ended up still undefeated after winning WPIAL’s.
On Oct. 11, the girls took on Mercyhurst Prep, a private school from Erie, who finished as the runner-up in District 10 of Region 6 in the PIAA’s AA classification. The Lady Bulldogs continued their struggles against private schools from years prior, as they failed to score in regulation despite having a majority of the possession. Once overtime arrived, the Lady Bulldogs began to see less and less of the ball until Mercyhurst eventually put a goal away in the first period of overtime to end Freedom’s run.

Despite the loss, the girls became the first non-track and field team from Freedom to win a WPIAL championship, as well as becoming the first Freedom team from any sport to reach the state playoffs with an undefeated record.

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