CHARLEROI – After giving his team the weekend off, Charleroi High School girls soccer coach Tom Cameron spoke with the players before their Class A Section 2 match against Waynesburg on Monday.
He wanted to run a scheme past his team to try something different, and understandably so considering the first time the two teams met Waynesburg defeated Charleroi, 6-1, on Sept. 14.
Charleroi’s team captains, Bella Carroto and McKenna “Boots” DeUnger, looked at Cameron’s plan on how to mark Waynesburg senior Ashlyn Basinger, a Maryland commit, and agreed with it, with the team running the plan to “perfection,” according to Cameron as the Cougars pulled off a 4-2 upset and hurt Waynesburg’s section title hopes in the process.
“This was probably as close to a perfect game as we could play, and I am proud of them,” he said. “This is a great win for these kids, they came to the locker room focused and ready to go.”
Waynesburg coach Greg Basinger shared his thoughts after the game.
“Charleroi played hard, and I give them credit,” he said. “They have some dangerous players, had a game plan, we were off ours and they did what they needed to do to make it difficult on us.”
Cameron wanted to mark Ashlyn Basinger and when he spoke to DeUnger and Carroto, it was DeUnger who spoke up.
“Boots said she could handle it, and Bella agreed,” Cameron said. “(Basinger) is one of the best players in the WPIAL, regardless of class. She is exceptional, and Boots did a great job on her.”
“As soon as Coach told me I had (Basinger), I wasn’t going to let her score,” DeUnger said. “We had a lot more intensity this time, wanted to win and showed up to play.”
DeUnger did her part by marking Basinger the entire night, but this left a void up front as the junior had a team-leading 22 goals on the season coming into the match.
“When I didn’t have Boots (up front), I knew I had to step up,” Carroto said. “If she was going to shut down (Basinger), I had to do my part.”
Carroto recorded her 17th career hat trick to carry Charleroi (6-4, 8-6) offensively, and the junior has 24 goals this season and 71 for her career.
“The girls made all the plays tonight and made me look smart,” Cameron said with a laugh. “They deserve all the credit.”
Carroto opened the scoring with 36:36 left in the first half, but Basinger scored on a penalty kick a little more than four minutes later (24:32) to record her 106th career goal, and the score held at 1-1 into the second half.
Lake Litwinovich gave Waynesburg (9-2, 11-3) a 2-1 lead with 33:22 left off an assist from Rylei Rastoka, but Rhianna Grogan tied the match off a Carroto assist with 19:29 to go.
Carroto scored the game-winning goal with 11:40 to play off a pass from Taylor Ramsdell and then finished the scoring with 6:51 to go off an assist from Grogan.
Despite the win, Charleroi has not clinched a playoff spot yet and has work to do.
“This is our biggest section win, and while we are enjoying it, we have to get back to work and prepare for South Allegheny,” DeUnger said.
Charleroi heads there Wednesday for a key section match while Waynesburg returns to action when it hosts Brownsville Thursday before returning to section play, needing help to share the section title with Chartiers-Houston. The Bucs, who defeated Monessen 10-0, moved into sole possession of first place in the section.
“We will work on simple soccer and first touch,” Greg Basinger said. “All of their goals were off turnovers. We have to be patient with the ball, find feet and just play simple soccer.”
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