HAWLEY — For a total of 77 minutes, the Patriots were able to keep the Buckhorns from scoring. However, a span of three minutes midway through the first half proved to be the difference.
Wallenpaupack’s Skylar Wirth scored a pair of goals in a three-minute span to drop Pittston Area, 2-0, and from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 2 Class AAA girls soccer championships on Tuesday. The Patriots were looking for their second consecutive trip to the district finals. The team won the District 2 title last season.
“They are a really strong, aggressive team and have a lot of strength on the ball,” Pittston Area head coach Nicole Tieso said of the Buckhorns.
Wirth scored after a corner kick with nine minutes remaining in the first half. Three minutes later, she hit a laser from 25 yards out for her second goal.
On the edge of Lake Wallenpaupack, the Patriots offense was stagnant most of the game. Pittston Area’s only shot came when Maddy Mimnaugh’s shot from just outside the box was a bit too high. Wallenpaupack outshot the Patriots, 12-1. Taryn Ashby made seven saves in the loss.
The Patriots also failed to garner a corner kick. Wallenpaupack went on to play Williamsport in the 3A final on Thursday, Nov. 5.
For the Patriots, this marks the end of a successful season.
Heading into this season, Pittston Area was tasked with replacing five senior starters from last year’s team: Allie Barber, Katelyn Pugliese, Megan Karuzie, Liz Waleski, Madison Cardinale and Carly Filipski. They replaced those experienced players with some experience of their own.
“Losing six seniors everyone thought we wouldn’t make it this far,” Tieso said. “It was a real successful season for us and to have a winning record in such a tough Wyoming Valley Conference league made us happy.”
Mimnaugh, Samantha Mayers and Tiffany Tubioli, along with keeper Taryn Ashby, were key factors in last year’s district run. Seniors in 2015, those three players helped Pittston Area outplay many expectations.
Pittston Area earned the fourth seed in the seven-team field of District 2. Wallenpaupack received a bye after finishing the regular season 14-2.
On Thursday, Oct. 29, Mimnaugh scored four goals in a 5-1 win over Delaware Valley to propel the Patriots into the semifinals. Pittston Area was the final soccer team in the Greater Pittston area eliminated from District 2 championship contention.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Tieso said. “They played hard.”
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-602-0178 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick