DuBOIS — The Brockway Lady Rovers are headed back to the District 9 Class A title game, thanks in large part to sophomore Chanell Britten and the play of their defense in a 5-0 win over Redbank Valley Tuesday night at DuBois Area High School.
Britten netted a natural hat-trick in the first 12 minutes of the game to give Brockway a commanding 3-0 lead. However, the action was somewhat subdued following Britten’s third goal as Lady Bulldog defender Addison Minich was injured on that scoring play.
A lengthy delay ensued as Minich was taken from the field by emergency personnel. Once the game resumed, it took both teams a while to get back into the flow of the game.
Brockway took its 3-0 lead in to the break before adding two goals in the second half. Britten netted her fourth of the game just over 13 minutes in, while sophomore Emily Botwright capped the scoring when she converted on a penalty kick with 2:40 remaining.
The Lady Rover defense and sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Overbeck did the rest from there. Overbeck wasn’t challenged much in the game, making six fairly routine saves in recording the shutout.
With the win, the Lady Rovers will look to defend their D-9 Class A title Thursday back at DuBois against third-seeded Ridgway, which edged second-seeded Elk County Catholic, 1-0 in double overtime, in the first semifinal Tuesday at DAHS. The two teams split their regular season matchups, as both teams won at home — Ridgway 5-1 and Brockway 4-2.
“Our biggest thing was to come out strong and try to score first and keep the pressure on, and we did that,” said Brockway coach Jessica Leadbetter. ‘We had 12 days off (from last regular season game) and we worked on a lot of things. I think they were just ready to get back into the swing of things and get a game under their belts.
“Chanell had a great night, but the team is really putting their passes together and figuring out the crosses and through balls. Overall, I think it was a great team win, but she was definitely there to put the ball in the back of the net.
“The girls are pretty excited to play for another (district) title. We kept telling them to take it one day at a time, but know that today is finally over with, we can look forward to the championship game.”
The top-seeded Lady Rovers (15-2) wasted little time putting the pressure on the Redbank defense and Keller in net.
Britten had two prime scoring chances in the first 3:30 of the game but both her shots went just wide. Britten didn’t miss on her third opportunity as she buried a shot past Keller at the 8:46 mark after Brockway had won the ball back during a flurry just outside the Lady Bulldog box.
The goal appeared to pump some extra life into the Lady Rovers, who kept the pressure on and saw Britten scored two more times over the next three minutes. Both goals came off assists by senior Leah Lindemuth.
On the first, Lindemuth made a nice cross from the right sideline all the way through the Redbank box to a streaking Britten on the left side. Britten ran on to the pass and fired home a shot to make it 2-0 10:51 into the game.
The two hooked up just under a minute later. This time Lindemuth crossed the ball to Britten in the middle of the field. Britten got off a hard header on the cross that was blocked by Minich. The ball came right back to Britten, who blasted a shot into the back of the net to complete her hat-trick before anyone realized Minich was injured on the field.
Once play resumed, the first 20 minutes or so seemed to be played a slower pace before the teams got back into the flow of the game. Overbeck made her first save of the game in the 32nd minute, while the Lady Rovers had a handful of scoring chances in the final seven-plus minutes but came up empty.
Brockway carried that momentum into the second half, where Britten had a shot stopped by Keller in the third minute. Redbank countered with a long shot by Zoie Stewart that was corralled by Overbeck.
Britten extended the Lady Rover lead to 4-0 when she scored 13:19 into the second half.
The game then turned into a battle in the midfield before Redbank had its best scoring chance of the night during a flurry that produced at least three Lady Bulldog shots in rapid fire. Overbeck stopped the first before the second was deflected to the left side of the Brockway box, where a Redbank player got off a weak shot that Overbeck hauled in at the near post.
The Lady Rovers came out of the flurry unscathed and went on to finish off the shutout.
Brockway tacked on a late goal on a penalty kick. Lindemuth drew the spot kick when she was tripped in the Redbank box. Botwright stepped up to take the PK and fired a shot past Keller with 2:40 remaining to set the final at 5-0.
Redbank Valley, which knocked off Clarion in the quarterfinals, finished the season with an 11-8-1 record.
“The first 10 minutes we came out a little flat and I thought after that we responded pretty well and hung with them,” said Redbank Valley coach Michael Dawson. “We just didn’t finish the looks we ended up getting after that, and that’s pretty much what it came down too.
“We had a good season. They always say the highs are high and the lows are low. The Clarion game, everyone was super pumped and we had a big crowd, and they travelled well for us again today. The seniors have been a part of four more successful years here, so it’s kind of tough to at least not get them one more game.”