Berwick never quite found offensive continuity throughout the second half. Its final hope came with 1:16 remaining when Karleigh Hartman made a strong run down the right side only to be stopped well before the 18-yard line.
Even so, Berwick gained the respect of Mechanicsburg.
“Berwick certainly seems like a team that plays really, really hard and never gives up,” Mechanicsburg coach Tony Lougee said. “We knew that about them going in.”
Berwick could have. Like last year’s 4-0 loss to Manheim Township, Berwick was in a hole very early. Just 1:41 into the game, Meghan Ross popped in a rebound for a 1-0 Wildcat lead.
Davenport, though, stuck less than two minutes later to tie the score. Olivia Conklin sent a long pass to Davenport, who got around her defender in the penalty area.
But once again Zelenky came up big. She and Sheptock, considered by most coaches as the Wyoming Valley Conference’s best defender, were running stride-for-stride at the left post. Zelenky pulled up about 10 yards from the goal, giving her a split second to fire in another goal.
Sheptock got some revenge in the 30th minute, starting a scoring play with a long direct that resulted in a goal by Hartman and a 2-2 tie.
“I felt when we got the second goal and tied, we got a lot of confidence,” DiPippa said. “And we played with a lot of confidence. I felt we were the more physical team than them. But their passing on the ground just ate us up.”
PIAA Girls Soccer First Round
Mechanicsburg 3, Berwick 2
First half: 1. MEC, Meghan Ross (Holly Burgard), 2nd min; 2. BER, Caty Davenport (Olivia Conklin), 4th; 3. MEC, Natalie Zelenky, 18th; 4. BER, Karleigh Hartman (Abby Takacs), 30th; Second half: 5. MEC, Zelenky (Katelyn Bohn), 43rd.
Shots: MEC 26, BER 15; Saves: MEC 10 (Shelby Koch), BER 14 (Sarah Wilczynski); Corners: MEC 5, BER 1.
Article by Jill Snowdon, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
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