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Women's Soccer Advances to AMCC Championship Match
Linsey Stack Slide
Linsey Stack

Linsey Stack's game-winning goal | Top plays and reactions

The AMCC tournament semifinals have always haunted the Pitt-Bradford women’s soccer team, so it was only fitting that the Panthers advanced to the league championship match for the first time ever in school history on Halloween.

The Panthers entered Wednesday’s game against La Roche 0-7 all-time in the semifinals, including losses in each of the last three years. Consider the demon buried for good. Pitt-Bradford defeated the Redhawks 3-1 in penalty kicks at Bradford High School to move within a game of the program’s first league title.

The teams played to a scoreless tie after 110 minutes, including two overtimes, shifting the game to a shootout, but it did not come without chances from both sides. Late in the first half, Tess Follman sent a ball through the La Roche defense that found a streaking Casey Schimpf. Schimpf was unable to control the pass as it ricocheted off her foot, leading to a turnover, but she would atone for it later.

In the second half, the Panthers peppered La Roche goalkeeper Maria DiPerna, attempting 10 shots after managing just three in the first half. Pitt-Bradford’s best opportunity at scoring came in the closing minute. Emily Mitchell had her shot from the right side of the box blocked, and Maggie Boehler was turned away in the final seconds after collecting a loose ball off a corner kick.

Schimpf nearly ended the game in the opening minute of the first overtime, but her shot skimmed off the crossbar. The two teams would each take one more shot before moving to a shootout.

Nicole Ferraco converted the Redhawks’ first attempt in penalty kicks only to be answered by Schimpf, who had a game-high five shots. Bethanie Moreschi, the conference’s leading goal scorer, was wide on La Roche’s next try, and Taylor Perkins scored on the ensuing chance to push the Panthers ahead 2-1.

Senior goalkeeper Alisa Cornell would stop the next two attempts by the Redhawks, but Gabrielle Neuhof also missed for the Panthers. On Pitt-Bradford’s fourth kick, senior Linsey Stack buried a shot into the left corner for the game-winner.

The Panthers outshot La Roche 15-5 and held a 10-4 advantage in corner kicks. Cornell finished with two saves.

“Today’s game looks like a nail biter on paper, but I couldn’t have been happier with how we played,” said head coach Mike Idland. “I thought we were in full control of the match as much as is possible in soccer.

“I believe to win a championship you have come through in these types of games. Our team remained beautifully composed and professional…we deserved to win the game and I am excited about our chances in the final.”

La Roche ends the season at 9-7-4 while Pitt-Bradford moves to 13-5-1.

The Panthers will play at Penn State Behrend Saturday at noon for the AMCC championship. The Lions defeated D’Youville 1-0 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.