CLARION — The DuBois girls soccer team put on a dominant display Monday night at Clarion’s University’s Memorial Stadium, as the Lady Beavers captured their second straight District 9 Class 3A title with a 3-0 win over St. Marys.
DuBois controlled the action, and possession of the ball, throughout most of the game and held the top-seeded Lady Dutch (15-3) to just one shot. And, DuBois keeper Emily Cherubini easily stopped that long-range effort with 16:22 left in the game.
With the DuBois defense bottling up the Lady Dutch offensive attack, the second-seeded Lady Beavers got the only goal they needed just 2:13 into the game when junior Brianna Nelson slammed home a rebound shot.
Nelson made a strong run down the right side as teammate Reese Sayers did the same with the ball on the left side. Sayers fired a shot on goal, but St. Marys keeper Morgan Holtzhauser made a diving save.
Unfortunately for Holtzhauser, the ball went right to Nelson, who fired a shot into the back of the net. Holtzhauser did her part to keep the Lady Dutch in the game, as she made 10 saves on the night. DuBois outshot the Lady Dutch, 21-1.
Leading 1-0 at the half, the Lady Beavers (11-6-2) put the game out of reach in the final 40 minutes on goals by seniors Maddison King and Madison Donahue.
The meeting was the second of the season between the teams, with DuBois pulling out a hard-fought 3-2 win at St. Marys. However, DuBois coach Dave Martin felt the wider field at Clarion University would play more into his team’s strengths, and he was right as the Lady Beavers used their speed to dominate the action on both ends of the field.
DuBois also topped the Lady Dutch 3-0 a year ago in the title game — the Lady Beavers first back in D-9 being paired up with St. Marys and Bradford as part of the PIAA’s new four-class playoff system for soccer
DuBois advances to the state playoffs, where the Lady Beavers play the WPIAL runner-up next Tuesday at a District 9 site to be determined.
“I didn’t know that,” said Martin of limiting the Lady Dutch to just one shot. “We played in St. Marys earlier this year and it was 3-2, so we knew they were a different team than last year. And, we knew they were going to come out wanting it because (coach) Eric (Bridges) has done a great job over there.
“We had good practices this whole week, and our girls had that fire back I hadn’t seen in a while and that was nice to see. And, getting that early goal was huge tonight. I think it helped take the edge off the girls.
“Also, with the weather the way it it was, we knew it would be big to get on top early. They were pumped after that and stayed focused, and the passing was really good.
“That first goal was great, because we’ve talked to Brianna about making the that run and being there (for a rebound), and she did that on that goal. All three goals, really, were great goals.
“It’s nice to win back-to-back titles, and this was our goal at the beginning of the season. We wanted to have a wining record and win districts, and we’ve achieved both of those and move on (to state playoffs).”
Sayers and Nelson got the Lady Beavers off and running as they teamed up to give DuBois the lead in the opening minutes of the game. However, the Lady Beavers couldn’t extend that lead in the first half as Holtzhauser made four more saves before the break.
She stopped a long shot by Caitlin Drahushak just past the 5-minute mark, then denied a point-blank shot by Izzy Beers at the 18th minute. Holtzhauser also made two stops in the final eight-plus minutes, denying a shot by Felicity Enseki with 4:58 left in the half.
DuBois ramped up the pressure even more on the St. Marys netminder to start the second half, producing a trio of scoring chances in the opening 10 minutes. However, Holtzhauser made one save at the near post before stopping shots by King and Drahushak.
King didn’t miss on her next opportunity though, as she run down a pass in the Lady Dutch box. Holtzhauser came out to challenge. However, King chipped the ball past her before tracking it down right in front of the net and blasting a shot home to make it 2-0 with 29:04 left to play.
Holtzhauser tried to keep her team in the game and stopped two more shots over the next six minutes, but Donahue sealed DuBois’ victory with her goal the at the 64:49 mark. Donahue blasted a long shot from the right side and Holtzhauser made a leaping try to stop it. But, the ball glanced off the lady Dutch’s hands and found the back of the net.
St. Marys made a late change in net, bringing on sophomore Britney Shaw, who was forced to make three saves in her limited time in goal.