DuBOIS — The Brockway girls soccer team scored once in each half to come away with a hard-fought 2-0 victory against Ridgway Tuesday night at DuBois Area High School to capture its second District 9 Class A title in three years.
Shots were at a premium in the opening 20 minutes, with the Lady Rovers fighting off a Ridgway surge just past the midway point of the first half.
Brockway (16-0) then got the first big break of the night when Britten scored the opening goal during a flurry on the end line with a nice touch shot that went inside the far post.
The scoring sequence started when a Brockway ball into the box bounced off a defender’s back in front of the net. Ridgway keeper Lindsey Kocjancic hustled out to try to corral the loose ball. However, Britten beat her to it and chipped a shot over the Lady Elker that found the net with 13:00 left in the half.
Britten’s goal, her 41st of the season, proved to be all the Lady Rovers needed in what was another closely contested matchup with the Lady Elkers. Brockway notched two one-goal wins against Ridgway in the regular season (3-2 at home, 4-3 on the road).
The victory also avenged a heartbreaking 2-1 double-overtime loss to the Lady Elkers in last year’s finals.
Brockway got a huge insurance goal early in the second half on another huge break when Morrigan Decker’s corner kick hit a Ridgway defender and went into the net to make it 2-0 just 1:49 in.
The Brockway defense did the rest as it held Ridgway to just six shots in the game — three in each half. Lady Rover keeper Mackenzie Overbeck made five saves en route to recording the shutout.
On the other end of the field, Kocjancic faced 19 shots — 11 in the second half. She made 15 saves on the night to help keep her team in the game. Kocjancic was among a a handful of Ridgway players who arrived during pregame warmups after playing for the Johnsonburg volleyball team in a D-9 Class A quarterfinal matchup at Cranberry early in the evening.
“I think that was a big thing (loss in last year’s finals) that played into this. They really wanted to come back and show everybody what they have been working so hard for since last year,” said Lady Rovers coach Jessica Leadbetter. “It was two really close games when we played them in the season, and they learned from that and I think it showed tonight.
“Chanell had a nice little poke that snuck right through on the first goal, and it was once of those shots where you hold your breath because you’re not sure it’s going to go in or not. We definitely knew they were going to mark her tonight, and they (Ridgway) did a nice job of that tonight.
“Then that second goal was a big momentum booster coming out right after halftime. I think it lifted them up a little more and they started playing better as a team after that”
The game opened as a battle in the midfield, with Ridgway using junior Maria Jones to mark Britten all over the field. The move paid off in the early going as the teams combined for just one shot in the opening 20 minutes.
Lady Rover Danielle Wood had that shot — just past the 13-minute mark — but Kocjancic stopped it. Emily Botwright recorded the second shot of the game just before the 22-minute mark but again Kocjancic was there to make the save.
Ridgway (11-6) had its first scoring just under two minutes later when Brockway was called for obstruction, giving the Lady Elkers an indirect kick just inside the box. Amanda Williams fired a shot after the ball was touched, but her effort sailed over top the net.
Cassidy King quickly got the ball back for Ridgway, as she blocked a Brockway clearance attempt and raced down the left sideline with the ball. She pulled up and blasted a long shot on goal, but Overbeck was there for the save.
Brockway capitalized on its next push up the field, with Britten finding the net on her first shot attempt of the game.
Both teams had scoring chances in the ensuing three minutes, but Kocjancic turned away a shot by Decker, while Overbeck stopped a shot by Maddie Cowan.
Brockway then seized control in the final 10 minutes of the half.
The Lady Rovers got an obstruction call in the box themselves, but a shot was blocked by the Ridgway wall. Decker then had a shot from the left side go high with 4:32 left in the half, while teammate Callie barber had a long shot from just outside the top of the box stopped by Kocjancic with just under two minutes to play.
Britten nearly made it 2-0 in the final minute. She whirled around a defender in the box but had her shot hit the crossbar and bounce straight down, allowing Kocjancic to corral it.
After Brockway went up 2-0 on the own goal early in the second half, the Lady Rovers kept the pressure on and controlled the action for most of the final 40 minutes. The Lady Rovers outshot the Lady Ellkers 11-3 in the second half but couldn’t find the back of the net again.
Kocjancic had a lot to do with that, as she recorded 10 second-half saves — several of which came on shots by Britten and Barber.
Ridgway didn’t record its first shot of the second half until a breakaway opportunity by Cowan in the 68th minute. She broke free behind the Lady Rover defense as Overbeck came out to challenge her. Cowan fired a shot past the keeper but it rolled just wide of the far post.
The Lady Elkers quickly got the ball back and put another shot on goal that Overbeck stopped to all but seal Ridgway’s fate. The Lady Elkers mustered one more shot with just under seven minutes remaining, but Overbeck made the save to preserve her shutout.
“I thought it was a very evenly matched game, especially in the first half,” said Ridgway coach Greg Maddalena. “The girls played very well, and I’m really proud of how they played. That goal Chanell (Britten) got towards halftime ... it is what it is.
“She’s a true player and our girls know that. She’s just a true striker and does what ever it takes to get the ball in the net. We had a plan, and I thought it worked well, but at times she just gets free and puts it in.
“I thought Brockway played a very good game, and they’re a quality team. They came in as the No. 1 seed, and we were No. 2. I just wish we had played a little better in the second half. They were just the better team tonight and deserved the win and move on, and I wish them the best of luck at states.”
Brockway advances to play the WPIAL (District 7) runner-up next Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.