Freedom offense dominates Bentworth for WPIAL Class A girls soccer title
Freedom put together a highlight reel of goals on the least likely of stages -- the WPIAL Class A championship game.
The Bulldogs captured their second WPIAL title in three years and its first in Class A - this year’s team was led in the playoffs by Myla and Jayden Sharpless, who each scored two goals in the title game to win 8-2 over Bentworth.
Freedom coach Colin Williams said they have been looking forward at another shot to win a WPIAL title since losing in the 2A championship game to Waynesburg in 2017.
“This is such a nice feeling,” Williams said. “Last year hurt, because we didn’t have Myla (Sharpless) in the midfield. I would have liked to play Waynesburg again last year with her healthy, but I’m so proud of what this team has done.”
Myla Sharpless returned to full action less than a month ago and has been a key player, along with her sister Jayden Sharpless, the WPIAL’s leading scorer with 57 goals.
“Getting back from a full year of recovery is insane, and this really is amazing,” Myla said. “I never doubted myself, but games like these are definitely why my comeback was so sweet. Playing with my sister has been an unbelievable experience. I’ve dreamed my whole life of playing with her.”
Freedom’s first goal was scored in the 14th minute on a corner kick from Jayden Sharpless. Her cross was redirected by Myah Hrinko who found the ball with a header.
Bentworth goalie Cande Kossel kept her team in the game early with seven consecutive saves, but the floodgates opened toward the end of the first half when Renae Mohrbacher, Michaela Watkins and Jayden Sharpless scored goals in a 12-minute span in that order to take a 4-0 lead into halftime.
“I felt really confident coming into the game with our ability to score goals,” Jayden Sharpless said. “I think we were all ready to score goals and play as a team.”
The Bearcats’ lone scoring chance in the first half came on a breakaway by Paige Marshalek who scored 31 goals this season. The Bulldogs’ goalie Cassandra DePoppe made a diving save.
Bentworth gained offensive momentum to start the second half, but the game was too far out of reach. The Bearcats utilized long passes to Jocelyn TImlin, who scored two goals by splitting Freedom’s middle defenders.
“I think we counterpunched all day and played better than we did in the semifinals,” Bentworth coach Tyler Hamstra said. “Their heart was excellent. They came out and never stopped believing. They could have put their head down, and they didn’t do that.”
Alexsia Barlamas, Jayden Sharpless and Myla Sharpless, with two goals, scored for Freedom in the second half to put an exclamation mark on the team’s championship effort.
“This is something that every soccer player in Western Pennsylvania dreams of,” Myla Sharpless said. “There’s no better feeling than doing this with my sister.”