Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Belle Vernon Girls Hunt Wpial Title

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Belle Vernon Girls Hunt Wpial Title

Article excerpt

The Belle Vernon Area girls soccer team knows a thing or two about unbeaten streaks.

The program had a 64-game section unbeaten streak spanning from 2005 to '10. That streak ended when the Leopards moved to Section 4- AA in 2010 and lost to South Park.

The juniors and seniors on the current Belle Vernon team did not forget that. Earlier this season they had an opportunity to return the favor to South Park, a program with a 67-game section unbeaten streak. The Leopards did just that with a 1-0 victory at South Park, a win that snapped a streak that extended over six years and did so much more.

The win vaulted Belle Vernon to the top of Section 4-AA and sent notice to the rest of the section and all of Class AA that Belle Vernon was a serious contender this season.

Belle Vernon (13-1-1, 9-1-1) has clinched a playoff berth this season and was tied with South Park (11-2-1, 9-1-1) for the section lead before last night's matches.

South Park was heavily favored to defeat McGuffey (4-9, 3-8), but the Leopards had a tougher assignment against Elizabeth Forward (11- 3, 9-2), the only team in the section to defeat them this year.

"We were really excited about getting to play South Park," Belle Vernon coach Paul Sasko said. "It was one of those things where the older girls, the juniors and seniors, remembered they broke our streak and they were definitely aware of South Park's streak and they reminded the underclassmen."

The Leopards have reached the WPIAL playoffs seven consecutive seasons but have never advanced past the quarterfinals in that time.

Things may be different this season. It certainly felt that way in games against South Park with Belle Vernon tying the Eagles, 0- 0, in their second meeting. South Park had won all four meetings against Belle Vernon since the teams became section rivals in 2010.

"We were definitely up for the South Park game both times," Sasko said. "Both games were really even and the second game was a really intense game, going to double overtime, it was almost like a playoff game. …

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