DuBOIS — Brockway held Elk County Catholic to just two shots on their way to a 2-0 victory in the District 9 Class A semifinals at DuBois Area High School Thursday.
The Lady Rovers finished with a 18-2 advantage in shots in the game, including holding the Lady Crusaders without a shot in the opening 40 minutes while firing 13 shots themselves.
That strong defensive effort, paired with one goal in each half propelled Brockway to the victory, sending them to the title game.
“The defense has been working really well together,” Brockway head coach Jessica Leadbetter. “It’s a group effort and keeping them out was a big deal.”
The Lady Rovers controlled the possession in the offensive half right from the opening whistle, as they broke through with the game’s first goal in the 15th minute.
Chanell Britten worked her way around a ECC defender just outside the top of the 18-yard box to get a look on goal.
The junior striker fired a arching shot on goal, which dropped just under the crossbar and out of the reach of a leaping Kara VanEerden in net to give the Lady Rovers a 1-0 lead.
The goal, which came 14:37 into the opening half, proved to be all Brockway would need in order to secure a victory.
The No. 1 seed Lady Rovers had several chances to extend their lead in the opening half, but everything they were able to put on frame was turned away by VanEerden, who made six saves in the first half and finished the game with eight.
Brockway was able to cash in on their first opportunity in the second half to add some cushion to their lead.
Morrigan Decker made a long run down the right sideline, using her speed to get around a Lady Crusaders defender and into position to send a cross into the box.
The sophomore drove a low cross into the box, which was just out of the reach of Britten and a ECC defender as well as VanEerden in net.
The ball made it all the way across to the far post, where Danielle Wood was waiting to knock in the uncontested goal to give the Lady Rovers a two-goal lead.
Passing was a strong suit for the Lady Rovers throughout the night, which helped lead to an advantage in keeping possession of the ball.
“It’s one of the things they’ve focused on all season and I think it’s definitely paying off,” Leadbetter said.
In the 60th minute, Decker fired another strong cross into the middle, this time finding Katie McMeekin on the far side.
McMeekin’s hard shot went just wide of the near post into the side netting as Brockway was unable to add to their lead, but the defense continued to shut down ECC.
The Lady Crusaders only two shots came in the closing 40 minutes, as one went just wide of the goal frame and the other was reeled in by goalkeeper Mackenzie Overbeck.
Elk County Catholic also earned a pair of corner kicks in the second half, their only two of the game, but neither resulted in a chance on goal.
“Offensively we were working on some different schemes, some of the games they worked and some games they didn’t work,” Elk County Catholic head coach Ken Vogt Jr. said.
“I think Brockway all around is just a good team, offensively and defensively they are tough to break,” Vogt said. “I was happy with the way they played, they fought hard and played all the way through.
The head coach added that his team showed a lot of improvement after a 5-1 loss to Brockway just a couple weeks prior.
The game was the last for six Lady Crusaders seniors including Maddie Kear, Red Messineo, Shannon Clancy, Sami Geci, Sady VanAlstine and Michelle Gerber.
“They took our underclassmen right under their wing and fought them a lot about how to be a varsity soccer player,” Vogt said.
Brockway now moves to their third-straight D-9 title game and a rematch of last year’s championship game with No. 2 seed Ridgway, who defeated Port Allegany 2-0 in Brockway Thursday.
Last year, the Lady Elkers came away with the upset victory, winning 2-1 in double-overtime to top the defending champ Lady Rovers.
The teams will again meet in DuBois for the title, with this year’s game takimg place Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“I think the girls are ready, they’re excited for it and they’re ready to come back and give them a game,” Leadbetter said.