End of the road

The Times-Tribune - - SPORTS - BY MARTY MY­ERS STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: mmy­ers@timessham­rock.com; 570-348-9125; @mmy­er­stt on Twit­ter

Scran­ton Prep, Mon­trose girls come up short in state quar­ter­fi­nals.

WHITE­HALL — It was a flaw­less dis­play of fi­nesse, skill and speed.

It was also some­thing Scran­ton Prep’s girls soc­cer team hadn’t seen from an op­po­nent this sea­son. Maybe any sea­son.

Villa Joseph Marie may have ar­rived late for Satur­day’s PIAA Class 3A quar­ter­fi­nal, but the Jems quickly showed why they’ve played in the last four state fi­nals, dom­i­nat­ing the Clas­sics, 4-0, on a cold and windy af­ter­noon at White­hall High School.

“They were hard to de­fend,” said Scran­ton Prep’s Rachael Rose, who had one of her team’s few scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. “They were all quick and they all moved with­out the ball real well, and we just couldn’t get the ball on our side of the field the whole game.”

The Jems (19-3) set the tone with Katie Sul­li­van rip­ping a shot on net two min­utes into the game, part of a 21-4 edge in shots.

Scran­ton Prep coun­tered and came through with a good chance, with Ione Fet­sko lead­ing Rose be­hind the de­fense in the 14th minute. How­ever, Rose couldn’t get to Fet­sko’s de­liv­ery be­fore Villa’s keeper knocked the ball free.

By the time Rose re­gained pos­ses­sion, the Jems were in back in good de­fen­sive pos­ture.

“It’s very frus­trat­ing,” Rose said. “The goalie played that real well. She couldn’t have played that any bet­ter and I just didn’t pick up on it.

“They all got back quickly. Their of­fense, ev­ery­one was back.” That was the story of the day. “They played re­ally fast and I think we’re not used to that yet,” said Fet­sko, who had missed the Clas­sics’ last two games while re­cov­er­ing from an ap­pen­dec­tomy. “I think it just shows us what we re­ally need to prepare for. Next year, we can come in and start play­ing faster. We know how to train for that now.”

Fet­sko had two scor­ing chances for the Clas­sics, but Villa had many more.

Scran­ton Prep’s Kather­ine Dz­won­czyk cleared a ball out of the goal mouth in the 18th minute, but just as quickly, Sul­li­van got to the ball along the end line and made a per­fect cross, which Rea­gan Ri­ley headed home for a 1-0 lead.

“I was im­pressed with their or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Scran­ton Prep coach Doug Knieser said. “They space the field well and they’re able to com­bine passes. “We haven’t seen teams that can string four, five, six passes quickly to­gether the way they have, and to move the ball quickly down the field the way they did. To me, that was the big dif­fer­ence in the game.

Fet­sko was turned away on an 18-yard shot with four min­utes left in the half. Villa pre­cisely coun­tered, with Sul­li­van send­ing Jil­lian Hunter in alone on Scran­ton Prep keeper Elisa Pene­tar. Hunter redi­rected the ball past Pene­tar to make it 2-0 with 1:43 left in the half.

“That’s the chal­lenge when you get this far,” Knieser said. “It’s that next level of speed and tempo. Can you play that quickly and still main­tain your tech­nique? To their credit, I thought they did a great job.”

Sopho­more Ce­celia Collins took over in net for Scran­ton Prep in the sec­ond half, and de­spite sev­eral su­perb saves, the Jems were able to tack on two more scores, from Sam Agnew and Madi­son Crozier.

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