HUGHESTOWN — It was a bit of a struggle this season for the defending Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 2 Class AAA champion Pittston Area girls soccer team. But its rally to another district title got off to a good start.
Pittston Area, on the back of four goals from the Patriot senior Maddy Mimnaugh, eliminated Delaware Valley from the PIAA District 2 Class AAA girls soccer championships with a 5-1 win in the quarterfinals Thursday in Hughestown.
Mimnaugh recorded a hat trick in the first half, but attributed most of her success to the teammates around her.
“We all work really well together and we know how to move the ball around,” Mimnaugh said. “We’ve been playing with each other for so long we just click up front.”
The Patriots (9-6-1) advance to take on top-seed Wallenpaupack in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. But first, the Patriots had to get through Delaware Valley, and they did. According to Pittston Area coach Nicole Tieso, the Patriots were happy to get off to a fast start.
“Scoring has been one of our downfalls this season and it’s what we struggle with,” Tieso said. “We seem to dominate possession and not put it in the net. Coming out strong is very important to us.”
Mimnaugh echoed those words.
“It really boosts your confidence when you get out in front that quickly,” she said.
Just three minutes into the game, Mimnaugh and the Patriots got on the board. Pittston Area’s Kayla Hogan took a cross in front of the Delaware Valley net. She worked around a defender and slipped a pass back to Mimnaugh for a one-timer and a Pittston Area lead.
Just 10 minutes later, Mimnaugh was back at it again. In a crowd in front of the net, the Pittston Area senior found daylight to make it 2-0.
In the final third of play of the first half, Mimnaugh allowed some of her teammates to get in on the action. Senior Samantha Mayers got a feed from Mimnaugh and knocked one in with her right foot into the left side of the net.
The prettiest goal of Mimnaugh’s day came midway through the second half.
The Patriots were awarded a direct kick from near the right sideline from about 40 yards out. Mimnaugh retreated to the sideline and let her shot scream past the Warrior defense and past DelVal goalie Sara Burns.
“She played an all-around great game,” Tieso said of Mimnaugh. “She was making great runs and getting herself open. She took some great shots and I’m happy she got them to fall in today.”
Delaware Valley got on the board just seconds after Mimnaugh’s direct kick when Reilly Henry cashed in on a feed from Olivia Kelly. DelVal’s only other scoring chance was just before halftime when Pittston Area keeper Taryn Ashby rushed away from the net. But time expired in the half before the Warriors could get a clean shot off.
Warriors knocked out by Dallas
In the opening round of the Class AA playoffs, Wyoming Area was eliminated by Dallas with a 5-0 loss.
The Warriors got off to a good start on Tuesday, but three second-half goals lifted the Mountaineers to the next round. Dallas scored twice within an 8-minute period in the second half to secure the win. The Warriors were unable to get a shot off agains the stout Dallas defense.
In the loss, Wyoming Area’s Caitlin Butchko had eight saves.
The loss signifies the end of the Warriors’s season. Wyoming Area finished the year 5-8-2.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick