WHITEHALL >> Haley Sasso weaved her way around two defenders and buried Moravian Academy’s final shot of the night, putting the capper on a 4-0 victory over Dock Mennonite in the opening round of the PIAA-A Playoffs.
“We did a lot of passing and moving, and eventually we found the over-the-top balls and that’s what got us the goals,” Sasso said of her team breaking the game open in the second half. “And at the end, there was a nice through ball to me and I was able to capitalize on that.”
The victory, coming on a cold night on the turf at Whitehall High, sends the Lions to Saturday’s quarterfinals, against either South Williamsport or Harrisburg Christian. A tremendous season for District One Champion Dock came to a close.
“The girls played hard to the very last minute and they had tons of chances in the second half,” Dock coach Stacey Vaitis-Dubost said. “I’m so proud of the girls. They fought through this, fought through injuries and tough times this season, and they battled.”
Moravian led 1-0 at the break on a goal by Angel Deluhery.
The Lions, Champs of District 11, doubled their lead to 2-0 when Alicia Gordon put one away just a minute into the second half.
Dock then turned up the pressure, generating plenty of scoring opportunities. But Moravian keeper Addison Etter made some nice stops and the Pioneers weren’t quite able to find that finishing touch.
“We had quite a few (chances),” Vaitis-Dubost said. “And then we had a couple breakdowns with the center mids and back line that caused the goals, but for the most part, most of the possession was on (Moravian’s) half of the field.”
Dock came close multiple times to slicing the margin to 2-1, but Moravian broke it open when Izzy Tran tucked away a tough-angle shot with 8 minutes to go, making it 3-0.
Three seniors – Megan Wenzel, Kenzie Derstine and Katherine Kardos – helped fuel the trip to states for Dock.
“It’s a great group of girls,” Vaitis-Dubost said of her squad. “This is not the outcome we wanted but I’m happy we made it this far. We’re losing three seniors – they’ve been with me for four years now. It’s sad to see them go but I know they’re gonna be contributing outside of here and then coming back to check in. This team’s like a family so I know they’re gonna be sticking together.
“We have a good group coming back and a couple incoming freshman so we’re gonna be doing a lot in the offseason to prepare and next year’s gonna be a strong year for us. We’ll come back even stronger and harder next year.”
PIAA-A First Round
Moravian Academy 4, Dock Mennonite 0
Dock Mennonite 0 0 – 0
Moravian 1 3 – 4
M-Alicia Gordon; Izzy Tran; Haley Sasso.
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