Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Park Girls Finish a Fine Run

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

South Park Girls Finish a Fine Run

Article excerpt

At the beginning of the season it would have been difficult to predict just how successful South Park girls' soccer would be.

The Eagles were trounced by Mt. Lebanon, 4-0, in their season opener. While it isn't unusual for a Class AA team to lose a game to a quality AAA team, with a roster comprising mostly freshmen and sophomores, it appeared the Eagles had a long way to go.

Instead, they went a long way. Senior Stephanie Zangrilli and junior Dana Zelder emerged as consistent scoring threats at forward while a young, three-player defensive unit often bedeviled the top scoring talent in the WPIAL. The Eagles won their next nine games, then tied Thomas Jefferson, 1-1, before winning another three consecutive games to emerge as one of the best teams in the WPIAL.

"We only had four upperclassmen [who saw significant playing time]. Considering our age and our inexperience I'm very pleased at the outcome of the season," said coach Shelly Thropp.

The Eagles beat Steel Valley, 8-0, on Oct. 13 to clinch the 4-AA title with a 13-1 record. The next day, they topped high-scoring Chartiers-Houston, 4-2.

"Those were the games we tried to show the girls the difference in our style of play," Thropp said, referring to her desire for her team to be more aggressive.

Unfortunately, Zelder injured her hamstring against the Buccaneers. As a result, she sat and South Park lost their last two games of the regular season to AAA power Butler and playoff-bound Elizabeth Forward by identical 2-0 scores.

Still, the Eagles were clearly the favorite to beat Southmoreland, the third-place team in Section 1-AA, when they played host to the Scotties in the opening round of the playoffs.

Southmoreland utilized an offside-trap defense, which played their defenders up in an attempt to control possession, but after some initial success, South Park scored five goals in the second half, many on breakaways, to win an easy 6-1 game.

Section 1-AA champ Jeannette was next. …

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