Lady Eagles fall in first round of states
BY JOHN LUND
For the second straight game, the Mountain View girls’ soccer team found itself trailing early, but was unable to recovering this time around.
The Lady Eagles fell to Halifax, 2-0, in the PIAA Class A first round at Wallenpaupack High School Tuesday night and finished the season at 15-1.
“We needed to score and we couldn’t,” Mountain View head coach Errol Mannick said. “It was one of those nights and things just didn’t go our way. That’s part about being in states, you’ve got to be able to score and we couldn’t put one away tonight.”
Halifax (21-1) started the game off with intensity and worked the ball around Mountain View territory unti Halifax’s Kayla Kelley fired a shot from about 40 yards out that soared toward the top of the goal at the 11 minute mark.
Mountain View goalie Jaye Winemiller, who had been a rock for the Lady Eagles in the net all season, made the leaping save to send the ball to the top of the net.
Halifax fans celebrated what they thought was a goal, while the Lady Eagles prepared for the ensuing Halifax corner kick.
It wouldn’t take long for an actual Halifax celebration, as Kelley knocked in a perfectly placed ball from the corner that gave the Wildcats the early 1-0 lead.
That’s when Halifax gave Mountain View a taste of its own medicine.
Less than two minutes later, Kelly again found herself with an opening and fired a shot from 20 yards away that found the left goal post and bounced into the net past Winemiller, who finished the game with six saves.
“The first goal we whiffed,” Mannick said. “We usually come out on corners and should have cleared it but they got that one and it was our fault. The second goal was just a great shot and there was nothing you could do about that.”
In the blink of an eye, Halifax had built a 2-0 lead, much like the Mountain View had done to countless opponents throughout the year.
“I thought we responded favorably and we didn’t get down and played hard right to the end,” Mannick said. “We took some bad outside shots early and we had to buckle down once we saw that the keeper was going to be able to save them. We did toward the end but didn’t do it fast enough and at that point it was too late and we couldn’t finish any of them.”
After a slow start, the Mountain View offense showed life, and had its best opportunity to score with about 16 minutes remaining in the half.
Jenny Molenko, who had provided a spark for the offense all season, finally broke away from Halifax defenders and managed a shot, but Wildcats freshman goalie Brianna Turner made one of her 11 saves.
On the next Mountain View possession, Molenko got the ball again and blasted a shot but found the top of the crossbar.
It was another Mountain View missed opportunity, and it woulfn’t be the last.
Though the Lady Eagles’ nerves may have impacted the earlier part of the game, their halftime spirits showed confidence.
“You could tell we were a little nervous in the first half,” Molenko said. “In the second half we had more possessions but we couldn’t put it in the net.”
In the second half, the Lady Eagles attacked the Halifax zone the best they could, and outshot the Wildcats for the game, 15-10.
With ten minutes remaining, Molenko once more had a chance to cut into the lead, but her shot found the crossbar yet again, and Ally Showalter’s rebound from the front of the goal was deflected away by Turner.
“We knew we had to put everything on the field and give it our all,” Molenko said. “If we played hard enough we knew we could get those goals and that we had a chance but we couldn’t do it today. It just wasn’t our game.”
Mountain View, who had outscored opponents in the regular season 110-11, was unable to find the net and was shutout for the first time since its 1-0 loss to Christopher Dock in the state quarterfinals last year.
“Besides this game we had a heck of a season,” Molenko said. “I would rather keep the season that we had than to lose this game because nothing can compare to the family that I had behind me.”
Molenko finished her career as a Lady Eagle with 122 goals, one shy of the school record set by Whitney Williams in 2006. This season she earned 40 goals and 13 assists, with 11 goals and four assists coming in the district playoffs.
Though his program fell short of its final goal, Mannick couldn’t help but smile looking back on what Mountain View was able to accomplish this season.
“I told them after the game that there was nothing to be ashamed of and I have no regrets about this season whatsoever,” Mannick said. “We played hard for 80 minutes and sometimes things don’t roll your way. I try to tell them that this sport is about life. You’re learning preperation, planning, teamwork and day-to-day hardwork and responding to that success. And now here’s the last lesson, how do you respond to failure. It’s the hard part but it’s part of the deal.”