The USC girls soccer team knew they had a difficult task in Wednesday night's playoff game, but the girls had confidence that they would provide a tough challenge of their own. They were facing the number 2 ranked team in the WPIAL and came into the evening with only one loss on the season and a 17 game winning streak.
Held at West Allegheny High School stadium on a comfortable autumn evening, the match turned into a real heavyweight fight. This was one of the most physical games the girls would play all year.
From the opening whistle, the Seneca Valley Raiders went right to work with some strong runs toward the Panthers' goal. Throughout the first half, the Raiders made inroads towards USC's half of the field, but the defense continually held off the Raider attack, including some nice saves from goalkeeper Jocelyn Alfera.
At half, the game was scoreless, with USC feeling pretty good about weathering the initial storm.
The second half play was very even, yet scoreless until with 22 minutes left the Panthers' landed the first punch. Brianna Erdman knocked in the game's first goal from a Julia de la Parra corner kick. There was much rejoicing and the girls grew in confidence.
Seneca Valley, however, grew even stronger and began throwing more attackers at the Panthers. It was a strategy that would eventually pay off for the Raiders. Seneca Valley scored twice in the following 12 minutes on two nice runs by the Warrior forwards.
In such a physical game the Panthers eventual wore down due to the size and physicality of the Seneca Valley players. Sami Witsberger, a defensive midfielder, was injured midway through the first half and would not return. Olivia Belack, outside midfielder, was clearly injured on a play which caused her to miss some action during the game. Many other players also got knocked down or pushed throughout the game—all eventually taking a toll on the players.
That said, the girls fought valiantly up to the last tick of the scoreboard clock. A season wrap-up will be published in a blog in the near future. Until then, we commend the seniors for their contributions and leaving their mark on USC's distinguished girls soccer program. You should be quite proud of your accomplishments and growth during your four years. Best wishes to you.