BROCKWAY — The DuBois girls soccer team will be getting a chance to repeat for the District 9 Class AAA title.
Maddison King’s first half goal put the Lady Beavers on the board, and that was all that they needed to defeat Bradford, 1-0, in the D-9 Class AAA semifinals on Thursday evening at Frank Varischetti Field in Brockway.
Although it was the first half where DuBois scored, it was the second half where the Lady Beavers looked more impressive on both sides of the ball, according to DuBois coach David Martin.
“We weren’t playing at our level in the first half,” said Martin. “But the second half we came out, and it seemed like we controlled that one. Something clicked with our girls. We had better shots in the second half. I just thought we controlled the second half.”
With the win, the Lady Beavers will now play St. Marys in the district championship, which was the same matchup in last year’s title game. DuBois won that game, 3-0, which was their first playoff win since the 2011 season.
DuBois went on to fall to Moon, 5-0, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
The winner between DuBois and St. Marys in the championship would have to play a subregional game against a District 8 opponent before participating in the first round of states.
DuBois defeated Bradford twice during the regular season. The first time was very early in the year where the Lady Beavers won soundly, 2-0, but the Lady Owls had a much better showing a few weeks later as DuBois won that game, 2-0.
Both teams had instances in the first five minutes of the game where they nearly had goals. DuBois’ Caitlin Drahushak nearly put a goal in, while Bradford’s Chloe Shaw put one off the crossbar early.
DuBois led the shot count, 6-3, in the first 20 minutes and neither side had much going until Maddison King’s lone goal of the game at 34:46.
King received the ball from the left side of the field from the 10, shot the ball high and boomed it over the Lady Owl keeper to give DuBois a 1-0 lead.
“We needed that,” said Martin. “They kept coming down our right side and we weren’t getting it over to our left side. We kept trying to force it right back to where it came from.”
After Bradford got three early shots in the first 20 minutes, they were held without a shot until midway through the second half. DuBois led the count, 12-3, at halftime, with Bradford keeper Mackenzie Lucas grabbing 11 saves in the first 40 minutes.
The final shot count was 23-6 in the game, and DuBois presented itself some good opportunities in that second half, but it was Lucas that kept her team in the game.
Lucas poked the ball over the net early in the second half to save a goal, and also made a kick save on DuBois’ Reese Sayers in the 54th minute.
King and Sayers were both robbed of a chance as well in the middle of the half as King’s initial shot was saved, but not scooped up. Sayers got a shot at the ball, but Lucas picked it up from there.
“The score might show 1-0, but I thought we passed the ball better and moved off the ball better in the second half,” said Martin.
One of Bradford’s last opportunities came with just over 10 minutes left on a direct kick, but Dubois keeper Emily Cherubini caught the ball without any incident.
Cherubini ended the night with five saves, while Lucas made 21 for the game.
King led the Lady Beavers in shots with nine for the day. Five different players recorded at least one shot for Bradford.
The district championship game between the Lady Beavers and St. Marys is set for Monday at 6 p.m. at Clarion University.
“We met (St. Marys) earlier and we only won 3-2,” said Martin. “We’re not taking them lightly. They don’t feel like the same team as last year. We’re not the same team either. They’ve improved as well. We need all hands on deck. It’s not going to be easy.”
The PIAA Subregional game would likely also be played late next week. The first round of the PIAA playoffs begin on Nov. 7.