SV girls beat Norwin, 4-3

October 29, 2021 Cranberry Local Sports

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Seneca Valley's Olivia Kamarec (10) looks to clear the ball against Norwin's Evelyn Moore (21) at Seneca Valley's NexTier Stadium Thursday.

JACKSON TWP — When Seneca Valley and Norwin got their WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinal matchup underway Thursday night, both teams might as well have been getting buckled in for a rollercoaster ride, too. Thanks in part to a pair of late goals by senior Zoe Simpson, the Raiders emerged victorious in overtime, 4-3. The Knights boarded the bus out of NexTier Stadium, their fun over.

The hosts' Julia Lozowski got things going about a minute and a half into the match, taking an errant pass in Norwin's half and speeding forward before flicking it past the Knights' goalkeeper.

Just getting on the board has shown to be a good omen for the Raiders this year.

“We haven't lost this year in any game we've scored in,” SV coach Mark Perry said.

Seneca Valley’s Chloe Leonard (36) boxes out Norwin’s Julie Bursick (9) at Seneca Valley’s NexTier Stadium Thursday.

Norwin punched back before long, with midfielder Julia Bursick dishing the ball to forward Evelyn Moore, who booted the ball in the direction of SV's net. Goalkeeper Virginia Fronk froze for a moment, appearing to think it would roll harmlessly wide. The wind helped it curl just inside the right post, leveling the scoreboard.

In the 19th minute, SV's Olivia Kamarec fired off a shot that was blocked by a defender. Senior forward Liv Senff gathered it back up and rocketed it in to take back the lead. The Raiders would enter the intermission up 2-1.

Then in the second half came a string of chances for Simpson and Lozowski. Two minutes gone by in the frame, Simpson had a shot saved. Shortly after, she had another two denied, the latter of which was rebounded by Lozowski while Norwin goalie Riley Morningstar was on the ground. Her subsequent shot was shielded by a Knight. In the 48th minute, the duo had two more chances thwarted.

A tick over 53 minutes in, the Knights' Paloma Swankler, a Robert Morris commit, shook loose of the SV defense and put a marker past a fast approaching Fronk.

Swankler was fouled in the 66th minute, awarding a penalty kick to Youngstown State pledge Emma Rigone. The senior midfielder converted, depositing the attempt into the top right corner and quieting the away crowd.

Seneca Valley’s Liv Senff (16) pushes past Norwin’s Reese Aquilio (14) at Seneca Valley’s NexTier Stadium Thursday.

“They made the call and you've got to live with it,” Perry said. “You just have to keep fighting,” Perry said. “You're just trying to survive and play for the next game.”

As deflating as the goal was for the hosts, Simpson found a way to restore hope. In the 72nd minute, she kicked the ball from the left of the net. A diving Morningstar mistakenly let it deflect off of her hand and past her for a score.

“I wasn't expecting a goal,” Simpson said. “I was just trying to cross it and it was just a lucky tap-in.”

The teams headed to overtime, where Emily Ehrman's shot three minutes and change in almost finished the visitors off. It sailed just high of the crossbar.

Not three minutes after that, Simpson struck again, putting an end to both the dramatic contest and the challengers' season.

“Usually if the ball goes out wide, I try to make a diagonal kind of run to the middle for an open pass,” Simpson said. “My teammate, Natalie Matthews, just passed a perfect ball right in front.

“We got beat by (the Knights) in the regular season and it was just nice to come back and get a win on them.”

The Raiders move on to play Fox Chapel, who upset top-seeded North Allegheny in the second round of a penalty kick shootout. The Tigers were two-time defending WPIAL champions.

“It's memorable for the seniors,” Perry said. “This is it for them and this something they'll never forget. This (was) the last game they'll play on this field. What a way to end for them.”

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