DuBOIS — It wasn’t three times a charm, or even four, for the Ridgway girls soccer team when it came to the District 9 Class A semifinals.
The Lady Elkers had lost in the district semifinals four years in a row coming into Tuesday, but all the misfortunes were finally gone after one shot of the ball on Tuesday evening at DuBois High School.
Ridgway’s Maddie Cowan scored a goal in double overtime, leading the Lady Elkers to a 1-0 win over Elk County Catholic to give them a spot in the D-9 title game and also a berth in the PIAA playoffs next week.
“Finally. We finally win a semifinal game,” said Ridgway coach Greg Maddalena. “Hats off to my coaching staff and my girls. They played their hearts out. ECC is a great team. They dominated a lot of the game. I said it was going to be one of the fluke things is going to win this game. We were finally on the lucky side this time.”
Their finals appearance is the first in school history for Ridgway, and will also be their first time in the PIAA playoffs next week.
“This is our fifth year in a row,” said Maddalena of the semifinals appearances. “It’s all I hear every year. When are you going to get past this game? I don’t know. At least we’re here five times. That says something about the program. I’m just really ecstatic, really proud of them, and I just hope it carries us through the rest of the playoffs.
“We have at least two more games left, but we’re always looking to win.”
It was the third time this season that the Lady Elkers defeated Elk County Catholic, which finished the season at 14-6-2. Ridgway also defeated the Lady Crusaders in a shootout at the Elk County Tournament this season, and for much of the game on Tuesday, it had looked like it was destined for a shootout.
“I thought this one was going to go to PKs,” said Maddalena. “I hate to end this game that way. It’s a hard-fought game and for 110 minutes that’s a lot to ask for. They’re such great athletes and they have the drive to win.”
Cowan’s goal came only a little over a minute into the second overtime period. ECC keeper Mackenzie Cashmer came out of the goal to play a shot that was originally stopped. Cowan was there to get another foot on the ball, and the ball got behind Cashmer and Cowan was there to get a foot on the ball to get it in the goal for the game-winner.
“She is always there to clean up everything,” said Maddalena. “She’s like a fox in the box. It could’ve went either way. Both teams are so evenly matched. I’m just so excited we’re in the finals.”
For much of the game, the opportunities were going Elk County Catholic’s way. One of their best chances came early in the game as the Lady Crusaders’ McKayla Wilson put a shot top shelf of the goal. Ridgway keeper Lindsey Kocjancic couldn’t get both hands on it, but got just enough of the ball to tip it over the goal in the 12th minute of the game.
In the second half, Kocjancic also came out of the goal to play a ball. The ball somehow got to the middle of the field, but a Lady Elker defender was there to boot the ball away from the wide open net.
At the end of regulation, the Lady Crusaders led the shot count, 7-4.
Ridgway got off two shots in the first overtime period, while Elk County Catholic got one as the Lady Elkers controlled the ball more towards the end of regulation and the first overtime period.
Ridgway will now play top-seeded Brockway in the District 9 Class A championship game on Thursday. The Lady Rovers defeated Redbank Valley, 5-0, in the other semifinal on Tuesday.
“Brockway is the team to beat this year,” said Maddalena. “We beat them once, but it was on grass. They’re a good turf team. We just have to play the game.”
The game is set for 5 p.m. back at DuBois High School.