BY JEFF FALK
SHILLINGTON – Goals are classified by degrees of probability.
The Cedar Crest girls’ soccer team entertained lofty goals coming into the District Three Class AAA tournament. Apparently, those goals were not only realistic, they were also attainable.
On Tuesday night at Governor Mifflin High School, Cedar Crest registered one of the most significant wins in program history, as the 15th-seeded Falcons shocked the second-seeded and unbeaten Mustangs 2-1, in an opening round contest in the D-III Class AAA playoffs. After struggling to find their way before halftime, the Falcons really got things going in the second half, in the form of goals from freshman Madison Brown and senior Cece Fiorentino, 2:06 apart.
Fiorentino’s game-winner came with 26:46 remaining, and resulted from a feed by Ariel Jones. All that was left for Cedar Crest and frosh goalie Desiree Leffler to do was weather Governor Mifflin’s season-ending storm.
Cedar Crest managed four shots the entire night, but half of them found the back of the net.
The result has the Falcons, who edged Ephrata 2-1 in Friday’s pigtail round, one more improbable victory short of attaining their post-tournament goal of reaching the PIAA playoffs. With four Class AAA teams representing District Three at states, Cedar Crest, now 11-6-3, will meet Conestoga Valley, a 1-0 winner over Cocalico in Saturday’s quarterfinal round, at a site and time to be announced.
With its first setback of the season, Governor Mifflin ended its campaign at 18-1-2.
“Our girls’ soccer team has never made states,” said Cedar Crest first-year head coach Jon Brubaker. “The goal at the beginning of the season and the goal coming into districts was to get there. We told the girls, ‘Let’s win as many games as we can’.
“Yes, this is absolutely an upset,” Brubaker continued. “Governor Mifflin is a fantastic team. That was pretty scary. They’re everything their seed said they were.”
Fiorentino’s goal was more about placement than it was about pace.
With the Falcons riding the momentum of Brown’s tally, and on the attack, Fiorentino corralled Jones’ ball played to the right wing. She took a couple of touches and then launched a perfectly placed right-footer that glanced off the crossbar and in.
“Cece had a great first couple of touches,” said Brubaker, “to set herself up, and she hit a perfect ball. It was a fantastic shot.
“I think we really started playing well at the halfway point of the season,” added Brubaker. “They’re (his players) playing as a team. They’re playing with each other. They’re playing for each other. We’re playing our best soccer of the season.”
Brown’s goal was more about pace than it was about placement.
In desperate need of a break, Cedar Crest got one on a ball that was crushed by Brown.
On a direct kick from 38 yards out, Brown’s big right foot was on net, but right at Mustang keeper Kira Hartman. But the pace of Brown’s blast may have taken Hartman by surprise, because it squirted through her hands – and her wicket – and into the goal.
“Maddie Brown is a freshman, and she had a fantastic game,” said Brubaker. “She can hit a ball 60 yards in the air. She was able to hit a great ball. Sometimes you get lucky.
“The message at halftime was just how disappointing it was that they (his players) didn’t come out and treat this like the most important game of the year,” continued Brubaker. “I had to remind them of the meaning of this game.”
While the Falcons certainly knocked the ball around with the Mustangs during the first half of action, they experienced difficulties generating any sort of offense. Actually, Cedar Crest’s first shot of the game came ten minutes into the second half – a rocket off the foot of Carli Wasson ticketed for the upper left-hand corner that was knocked away by Hartman.
Governor Mifflin’s goal was scored with 3:15 remaining in the first half, off a corner and a rebound. Mustang Zoe Galvin was turned away by Leffler from point-blank range, but teammate Cameron Bobb was there to collect the carom, and deposit it into the bank.
“I thought we played very passive the first 20 (minutes),” said Brubaker. “We settled in a little bit at the end of the first half. The key was the effort put forth in the second half. They (his players) allowed us to coach them.”
Governor Mifflin peppered Leffler with 13 shots. The Mustangs took nine corners compared to four for the Falcons.
“Desiree is a freshman and she’s filling in for Emma Peeler, who’s hurt,” said Brubaker. “It’s been shocking how great she has been playing. She’s made big saves.
“We didn’t play more defensively until about five minutes (left),” Brubaker added. “Governor Mifflin really re-upped the energy. They were all over us. But we held on. It was a great win.”
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2015 Cedar Crest Girls’ Soccer Results
|4:00 PM||L 0-1|
|10:00 AM||T 0-0|
|4:00 PM||L 0-2|
|7:00 PM||W 1-0|
|5:15 PM||W 3-0|
|4:00 PM||W 4-1|
|4:00 PM||L 0-3|
|4:00 PM||L 1-2|
|4:00 PM||W 3-1|
|7:00 PM||W 4-1|
|7:00 PM||W 1-0|
|7:00 PM||T 0-0|
|4:00 PM||W 2-1|
|7:00 PM||W 3-0|
|4:00 PM||T 3-3|
|10:00 AM||L 0-2|
|7:00 PM||L 0-1|
|7:00 PM||W 8-0|
|7:00 PM||W 2-1|
|5:00 PM||W 2-1|
Section One Standings