Oh so close
BEAVER — For nearly 100 minutes, Karns City’s girls soccer team stood toe-to-toe with WPIAL champion Freedom, but never got the chance to answer the Bulldogs’ final goal.
Junior forward Shaye Bailey found the net just over four minutes into the second overtime to earn for Freedom a 4-3 victory in Saturday’s PIAA Class 1A quarterfinal playoff at Beaver Area High School.
Bailey got behind KC’s defense and placed a shot past goalie Savanna Prescott into the left corner of the net.
It was Bailey’s third goal of the game and 21st goal in six postseason contests this fall.
Her first two tallies Saturday — scored just 28 seconds apart — gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead in the 50th minute.
“They gave us a good game,” Freedom coach Colin Williams said of the Gremlins. “I didn’t expect it to be as tight as it was.”
The Gremlins’ frantic rush to tie the game paid off when Sarah Dodd placed a shot just underneath the crossbar against Freedom goalkeeper Trinity Votjko with under two minutes left in regulation, pulling KC even at 3-3.
The Gremlins (18-5) were down 1-0 following Julia Mohrbacher’s score in the 14th minute, but began play in the second half with a renewed energy.
McKenna Martin got within 10 yards of Freedom’s net in the 48th minute. Votjko came off her line in an attempt to take away the angle, but Martin buried the equalizer.
Less than 90 seconds later, Emma Dailey’s shot from 25 yards to the right of the net also eluded the goalkeeper. Just like that, a 1-0 deficit had turned into a 2-1 edge for the Gremlins.
“It’s not good to be down 1-0, but sometimes it forces you to press harder to find the net,” said KC coach Tracy Dailey. “Our forwards came out strong in the second half, right out of the gate, which was huge.”
But KC’s lead would last just 36 seconds. Bailey scored to tie the game at 2-all, then gave the lead back to the Bulldogs soon after.
“We’ve done it before,” said Williams. “We get sloppy, lose our focus and give up a goal or two, but we tend to come back very quickly.”
Prescott faced the most heat she’s encountered in a number of games and responded with 15 stops.
“She made some spectacular saves,” said Coach Dailey. “It could’ve been a much different game without her.”
Votjko tallied four saves for the Bulldogs (19-4).
The 2022 season yielded a second straight District 9 title for the Gremlins, who were attempting to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 2015.
“It’s a special senior class,” said Coach Dailey. “A few of them are going to play in college, but for the others, this was their last game.”