Plum Girls soccer team earns tough win over Franklin Regional


Monday, September 19, 2022 | 10:13 p.m.

The Plum and Franklin Regional women’s soccer teams met on Monday for the first time since 2018 as they battled for a top spot atop Section 3-3A.

After 80 minutes of competitive action at the Plum Mustangs Stadium, the first of two matchups this year went in favor of the Mustangs, 2-0.

“Going into this game, we knew it was going to be tough,” said junior midfielder Ava Weleski, who scored the winning goal in the first half and assisted an insurance goal from senior Annabel Arhin. in the second half.

“They were close to Latrobe, and we were close to Latrobe. We knew they were going to give us our money’s worth. But we gave it our all and played as a team. It was a very good victory. »

Plum’s victory on Monday was his 39th straight in a sectional game dating to the start of the 2019 season.

The Mustangs, 6-0 overall, 5-0 in the section and ranked second in Class 3A, will visit Penn-Trafford on Wednesday.

“The girls gave us the effort we needed to win this game, every 80 minutes,” Plum coach Jamie Stewart said.

“I couldn’t have been prouder of the things we did to meet the challenges Franklin threw at us tonight. It was a really good start to the week. Now that this one is done, let’s start preparing for PT. This should be another big challenge. This is a new section with many challenges, and we are looking forward to each of them.

Franklin Regional (5-3, 3-2) entered the game having allowed just two goals in seven games. One of those goals came against Latrobe in a 1-0 loss last Thursday.

The Panthers hope to bounce back Wednesday at home against Penn Hills.

“I coached six of their 10 outfield players at club level so I knew their talents very well,” FR coach Scott Arnold said.

“It’s a challenge to prepare for them, but apparently I haven’t done a good enough job. But I learned a lot tonight. We will go back and hope to be better the next time we face them on our pitch.

The regional Plum-Franklin rematch in Murrysville is scheduled for October 12.

Plum got everything he needed with 11:37 to go until halftime when Weleski found the back of the net 28 yards out after taking a quick pass from Arhin.

Franklin Regional responded quickly. The ball went deep into Plum’s end of the field, and junior Alana Otley took the Panthers’ first shot of the game in the 9th minute and 3rd second. Plum sophomore goaltender Makenna Anderson got her hands on the ball and pushed it to the right. Her Mustangs teammates then pulled her out of harm’s way.

With a minute left in the half, senior FR Riley Phillips delivered a free-kick from 40 yards that sailed into the box just beyond the leg of a ridged Abby Paterline.

Plum tried to make it 2-0 on shots from Weleski, Cam Rogers and Kaitlyn Killinger in the first 14 minutes of the second half, but FR goalkeeper Aris Lamanna and the Panthers defense held the Mustangs to a halt. the gap.

Plum finally got the goal he was looking for with 17:42 left in regulation time as Arhin scored on an assist from Weleski.

“It was definitely a feeling of relief,” Weleski said. “Everyone says a two-goal (deficit) is the hardest thing to recover from. We played a very solid defense, but it was just nice to have that second goal for a little extra cushion on the scoreboard.

Franklin Regional tried to apply offensive pressure as he hoped to get back into the game – he had a free kick nine minutes from time – but Plum’s defense and first-year goaltender Malayna Smith denied the Panthers at the course of the last 17 minutes.

“We’re not a high-scoring team, so the idea was to keep the score low,” Arnold said.

“We were hoping to get to half time 0-0 and then play a bit more open. In the first half we were playing more defensively and Aris made some great saves. That shot from (Weleski) to beat her was a perfect shot. We had a few looks throughout the game, but we just couldn’t get one.

Plum had a few good chances early on.

In the fourth minute, Rogers took control of the ball from 12 yards out and fired a shot that sailed over the crossbar.

Six minutes later, Killinger fed Rogers into the box, and Rogers fired a shot that forced Lamanna into a neat diving save to his left.

Lamanna made another diving save 23 minutes from the end of the half on a rocket fired from Arhin’s foot.

Killinger sailed just high and wide to the left of the net with 13 minutes left until the break.

Plum held a 15-3 advantage in shooting and led 9-3 in shots on goal.

Lamanna made seven saves, and Anderson and Smith combined for Plum to stop all three FR chances.

“I love our section with the return of our natural rivalries with Penn-Trafford, Gateway and Franklin, even Latrobe,” Stewart said.

“We know these games are going to be competitive and are great tests.”

Michael Love is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

Key words: Franklin RegionalPlum

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