Soccer stock image

The success of Trinity High School’s girls soccer program has come incrementally.

The Hillers made the postseason for the first time in school history last year. And on a brisk Thursday night, they got their first playoff victory.

On the strength of a four-goal first half, Trinity ripped Laurel Highlands, 6-0, in a WPIAL Class AAA preliminary round game at Hiller Field.

The Hillers (8-7-1), the fourth-place team in Section 3, will play at Mars Monday night at 8.

The Mustangs, who tied for third in Section 2, ends the season with a 7-11 record.

“It was nice for the seniors to walk off the field with a win,” said Trinity head coach Dave Sinclair. “It was nice to win one on our home field. I think the program is going in the right direction. We have a good core of girls and they all work really hard.”

Four different players scored in the decisive first half. Olivia Maura got the first on a nice cross just four minutes in. Courtney Lowe, who was replaced by Mauro when she was shaken up, came back to score the second goal at 28:29.

Hannah Abbondanzo made it 3-0 when she lobbed a shot over the head of Mustangs’ goalkeeper Bella Wilson at 14:17 before halftime. Alyssa Clutter sent a sizzler past Wilson at 5:33 to make it 4-0.

“We had trouble executing our offense and Trinity’s defense was a very good defense. You can’t take that away from them,” said LH head coach Dave Sohyda. “The plan was to do what we did all season. We made the playoffs the past four seasons. Before that, I think it was 17 years before we made the playoffs.”

Abbondanzo got her second goal of the game with 18:59 to play. Ten minutes later, Courtney Dahlquist scored.

Ellis School, 5-1

At first glance, the soccer net seems to provide plenty of room to score.

To Beth-Center, that space must have seemed no bigger than a shoe box.

The Bulldogs again had trouble scoring and dropped a 5-1 decision to Ellis School in a WPIAL Class A preliminary round game at Hiller Field Thursday evening. Miranda Lightner had a hat trick and Vivian Davison added two for Ellis.

“That’s been our nemesis. We haven’t scored a lot. When we win, we hold the other team to one or no goals,” said B-C head coach Mitch Ankney. “It was a successful season. I have eight seniors and they made the playoffs three of their four seasons.”

The Ellis School, which finished in fourth place in Section 4, moved its record to 6-9-2. The Tigers play Freedom next week. This was their first postseason appearance in school history.

“We don’t have any seniors,” said Ellis head coach Tim Howard, “except our manager.”

Beth-Center, which finished in fourth place in Section 2, ended the season at 8-10-0.

Ellis scored four minutes in when Lightner sent a shot from about 20 yards that glanced off the hands Mikayla Kanalis and bounced twice before going into center net.

Lightner got her second goal 22 minutes later when she rifled in a shot 15 yards to the left of Kanalis.

Ellis made it 3-0 when Vivian Davison was left alone in front and tapped one in at 12:20.

Davison got her second of the match when the ball caromed off her face and into the net at 15:15.

Lightner earned the hat trick at 2:02 with a laser kick that whipped past Kanalis.

Beth-Center avoided the shutout when Ella Boothe scored from 30 yards at 7:34.

Assistant Sports Editor

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling.

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