PIAA SOCCER: Scranton Prep Falls To Villa Joseph Marie
WHITEHALL — It was a flawless display of finesse, skill and speed. It was also something Scranton Prep’s girls soccer team hadn’t seen from an opponent this season. Maybe any season. Villa Joseph Marie may have arrived late for Saturday’s PIAA Class 3A quarterfinal, but the Jems quickly showed why they’ve played in the last four state finals, dominating the Classics, 4-0, on a cold and windy afternoon at Whitehall High School. “They were hard to defend,” said Scranton Prep’s Rachael Rose, who had one of her team’s few scoring opportunities. They were all quick and they all moved without the ball real well, and we just couldn’t get the ball on our side of the field the whole game.” The Jems (19-3) set the tone with Katie Sullivan ripping a shot on net two minutes into the game, part of a 21-4 edge in shots. Scranton Prep countered and came through with a good chance, with Ione Fetsko leading Rose behind the defense in the 14th minute. However, Rose couldn’t get to Fetsko’s delivery before Villa’s keeper knocked the ball free. By the time Rose regained possession, the Jems were in back in good defensive posture. “It’s very frustrating,” Rose said. “The goalie played that real well. She couldn’t have played that any better and I just didn’t pick up on it. “They all got back quickly. Their offense, everyone was back.” That was the story of the day. “They played really fast and I think we’re not used to that yet,” said Fetsko, who had missed the Classics’ last two games while recovering from an appendectomy. “I think it just shows us what we really need to prepare for. Next year, we can come in and start playing faster. We know how to train for that now.” Fetsko had two scoring chances for the Classics, but Villa had many more. Scranton Prep’s Katherine Dzwonczyk cleared a ball out of the goal mouth in the 18th minute, but just as quickly, Sullivan got to the ball along the end line and made a perfect cross, which Reagan Riley headed home for a 1-0 lead. “I was impressed with their organization,” Scranton Prep coach Doug Knieser said. “They space the field well and they’re able to combine passes. “We haven’t seen teams that can string four, five, six passes quickly together the way they have, and to move the ball quickly down the field the way they did. To me, that was the big difference in the game. Fetsko was turned away on an 18-yard shot with four minutes left in the half. Villa precisely countered, with Sullivan sending Jillian Hunter in alone on Prep keeper Elisa Penetar. Hunter redirected the ball past Penetar to make it 2-0 with 1:43 left in the half. “That’s the challenge when you get this far,” Knieser said. “It’s that next level of speed and tempo. Can you play that quickly and still maintain your technique? To their credit, I thought they did a great job.” Sophomore Cecilia Collins took over in net for Prep in the second half, and despite several superb saves, the Jems were able to tack on two more scores, from Sam Agnew and Madison Crozier. “They’ve been here before, they know how to handle these situations,” Knieser said. “They were just a notch stronger, a bit ahead of us. But I don’t think the gap is that big. “Where we struggle is that we haven’t seen that quickness, that ability to pass consistently. Seeing that for the first time at this level is a difficult thing.” Contact the writer: email@example.com; 570-348-9125; @mmyersTT on Twitter Scranton Prep (16-4) 0 0 — 0 Villa Joseph Marie (19-3) 2 2 — 4 FIRST HALF: Riley Reagan from Katie Sullivan, 17:51; Jillian Hunter from Sullivan, 38:17. SECOND HALF: Sullivan from Sam Agnew, 43:07; Madison Crozier from Jacqueline Levins, 75:03. Shots-corners: SP 4-0, VJM 21-9 Saves: Elisa Penetar (SP) 4, Cecelia Collins (SP) 9.