Spring-Ford heading back to Chambersburg, will face Canon-McMillan in PIAA quarters

The next stop on the Spring-Ford girls soccer team’s encore tour takes the Rams to Chambersburg Area High School.

Chambersburg was the site of Spring-Ford’s 2013 semifinal win over District 7 champion Seneca Valley, 1-0 in overtime, to advance to the PIAA championship game.

Spring-Ford heads west a round earlier this season when it takes on District 7 runner-up Canon-McMillan at 5 p.m. Saturday at Chambersburg High School in the first game of a PIAA Class AAA girls soccer quarterfinal doubleheader.

Seneca Valley, the two-time District 7 champs, faces District 1 runner-up Central Bucks East in the 7 p.m. game.

The Rams (18-4-3) are riding an emotional high after defeating District 3 champion Cumberland Valley, 1-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks), in the first round Tuesday night at Hersheypark Stadium. It was the second straight season the District 1 No. 5 seed took down Cumberland Valley, dealing it its first and only loss of the season in the process.

First-year head coach Tim Leyland’s team appeared on its way to a gutsy 1-0 win in regulation, the lone goal coming against the run of play when freshman Gabby Kane played in junior Gabrielle Vagnozzi (team-high 16 goals), who used her pace to beat the CV keeper to the ball on the edge of the penalty area and give her team the lead with 12 minutes in regulation.

But with 1:02, following a lengthy injury timeout, the Eagles got the tying goal when the ball found an unmarked Taylor Sneidman from close range to send the game to overtime. The goal ended a 306-minute scoreless streak for the Rams that dated back to their District 1-AAA quarterfinal loss to Pennsbury and featured playback wins over Great Valley and Owen J. Roberts.

The Rams defense of juniors Taylor Newhart, Laura Suero, Amy Roth and sophomore Missy Moore and senior goalkeeper Jenna Griggs were determined to start a new streak and were able to withstand the Eagles through two overtimes.

In penalty kicks, Griggs made two saves while the Rams sent a surprising quintet to the spot — 4 out of 5 had not played a minute of the game — and got makes from Carrie Baumgartner, Emily Counts, Haley Varlotta and the decisive score from right back Roth.

Canon-McMillan (17-4-1) also enters Saturday’s second round game with confidence after a decidedly different first round game than their next opponent.

The Big Macs took a bite out of District 6 champion State College in a 7-0 victory in the first round Tuesday.

Sophomore forward Sabrina Bryan scored four goals while senior Abby Gillespie, junior Allie Thomas and senior Lauren Hess added single tallies and standout senior goalie Kyra Murphy earned the shutout.

Canon-McMillan, located just over 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh in Canonsburg, has exceeded its traditional level this season by making the PIAA Tournament for the first time since 2009 and reaching the WPIAL final (a 1-0 loss to Seneca Valley).

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