Curwensville thwarts Brookville, moves to finals

BROCKWAY — The Lady Raiders of Brookville played a hard-fought, defensive game Tuesday in the District IX Class A soccer semi-finals against Curwensville.

Brookville had been on the losing end of two one-goal games to the Lady Tide during the regular season, and it turned out the same way for the Lady Raiders Tuesday. Curwensville found the back of the net just once, but that was enough to carry the Lady Tide to the championship game.

The Lady Tide controlled the ball for most of the first half, putting up two shots, but Brookville's defense was strong and thwarted several opportunities for the Lady Tide, and the game remained a 0-0 tie at halftime.

"That's what we've been hanging our hat on is our defense," Lady Raiders' head coach Chip Mason said. "We know if we can play solid defense and hang in there every game that sooner or later, we're hoping we're going to find the chance to get one past. Unfortunately tonight, it didn't work out for us."

Brookville's only shot of the game came during the first half as Lanae Newsome stepped up to challenge keeper Tiffany Carter, but Carter was able to easily scoop it up.

Mason said he knew Carter was a threat, but the Lady Raiders did have an offensive strategy heading into the game, which was to play along the sidelines and in the corners.

"Offensively, we tried to play the ball to the outside," Mason said. "They have a very good keeper; she comes out, and she gobbles up everything from about the 18- to the 25-yard line. We tried to work the corners."

In the second half, Curwensville dominated the opening 20 minutes, finding several opportunities in its offensive zone. The Lady Tide also earned three corner kicks in three minutes, which made Brookville scramble, Mason said.

With 11:01 left in the game, Curwensville was finally able to put in a goal after sophomore Tiara Bumbarger hit it to the left side of the box, and it was deflected in by Brookville's Sammy Byerly. Brookville keeper Madison Hill had her fingers on it but couldn't quite hold on, and the ball rolled to the back of the net.

"We were scrambling on a few corners, and it looked like they found an open person," Mason said of the goal. "(Bumbarger) got squared up on it, but the deflection was actually tough for Madison to recover from."

Brookville also earned a few chances from corner kicks as it had two in the final minute of play. Each of the corners were played well, but neither was enough to tie it up for the Lady Raiders, and Brookville went home disappointed.

Coming in as the underdogs, Mason said he expected a tight game and was pleased with the effort he saw.

"For the amount of youth that we have on the team, I'm not totally disappointed," Mason said. "We had only one starting senior on the team, and for these sophomores and juniors to step up the way they did, it can only go up from here."