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Pymatuning Valley suffers first loss of season, drops match to South Range 3-0

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Pymatuning Valley’s Sierra Marcin takes control of possession during the first half at South Range.

BEAVER TOWNSHIP — If it doesn’t work, keep trying, eventually the fluorescent soccer ball will find its way into the back of the net for a goal.

Top-seeded South Range took no exception to that rule Monday evening, applying pressure on the Pymatuning Valley defense throughout the first half, and posting a flurry of shots, until that right play broke the draw.

With just 3:40 left prior to intermission, Raiders senior Kiley McConnell found that one goal to kick start off an offense on a feed from junior Gabby Lamparty from 15-plus yards out.

With momentum heading into the second half, South Range sunk the Lakers 3-0 in the Division II district semifinal, but after scoring five or more goals in four of the last five Raiders contests, Monday night was able to keep striving until you finally had that scoring play.

With the victory, the Raiders (13-2) advanced their second consecutive district title matchup after winning the district crown at home last fall over Champion, 5-0.

When shots are hitting the posts, just missing the net by a hair, falling through the football uprights, or just having their shots saved by Lakers goalkeeper Ellie Struna, overcoming that bit of frustration offensively is sometimes all a team needs to find rejuvenation.

“It’s definitely a little upsetting because my girls can crank some pretty good shots at the goal, and they usually fall, but when they’re not falling you get a little nervous, especially in a game this far in the season,” South Range coach Kelsey Malenic said. “I knew that if we just kept shooting we’d figure it out.”

Malenic was more than pleased with her team’s passing throughout the contest, with South Range outshooting Pymatuning Valley 25-2 as a whole, Lamparty posting a pair of second half scores to support her team’s lead.

Scoring a playoff goal is always a thrill, but as a senior like McConnell? It just makes it that much sweeter.

“It really gave me confidence for the game, because I really wasn’t expecting for it to go in, but when it did, it built up the adrenaline, I think it brought everyone together,” McConnell said. “I think we were passing the ball well and moving it, and Gabby was able to see me going in.

“When she passed it, I just knew it was going in.”

After the Lakers (14-1-1) made some offensive plays down on the Raiders end of the field, Lamparty managed to break free and take the ball and a Pymatuning Valley defender down the length of the field to increase the lead to 2-0 with 29:36 left to play.

Another goal from 20-yards out that landed directly in the upper middle part of the net by Lamparty rounded out the Raiders scoring with 8:22 left.

The Lakers came in the game without a loss at 14-0-1, a quality win that bolsters the confidence of South Range.

“It makes us really tough, they’re a very good team, and sometimes it depends on who wants it more,” Lamparty said. “We came out here, they came out, and we just showed what we can do.

“We got a really good program, we have kids coming up that are good, just well coached, and all together, we just work very hard together.”

South Range goalkeeper junior Hannah Bell recorded a pair of saves.

Meanwhile, the Lakers (14-1-1) see their season come to a close, graduating three seniors in the form of Kali Siembor ,Cassie Clute, and Struna.

For Pymatuning Valley coach Jerry King, it’s about appreciating the effort his players put forth versus a strong South Range program.

“I thought we played a decent first half and at least kept them off the board, it kinda stunk in the last three minutes (of the half), that they got a goal, but I thought we played tough,” King said. “I thought our defense in general, or goalie Ellie did a great job, she didn’t have a lot of saves on the season, so no one really got to see how good we knew she was.

“(The seniors) are three really good players for us, and they’re 80 minute players, they did a really good job, they played the best they could.”

South Range will face off against Crestview for the district title Thursday at Bo Rein Stadium in Niles, with a 6pm start. The Rebels will be coming in off a 1-0 overtime victory over Ursuline Monday evening.

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