LEHMAN TWP. —It might not have had the resonance of last year’s district title; but, for the second straight season, Scranton Prep proved it’s still three steps ahead of the Wyoming Valley Conference’s best.
Thanks to an organized effort, the Classic players were in the right places at the right time for 90 minutes. And, like last year’s 6-1 victory over Berwick, the leg of Elena Falcone proved to be too much for WVC defenders. Scranton Prep won its second consecutive District 2 Class 2A championship with a 3-1 victory Thursday over top-seeded Dallas at Lake-Lehman High School.
“I don’t think we played our best today,” Dallas coach Abe Lewis said. “I’d like to have another shot at them but maybe we’ll see them next year.”
Dallas will face the winner of Saturday’s District 3 championship, between Trinity (Camp Hill) and Northern York, in the PIAA first round Tuesday at a site to be determined in the Hershey/Harrisburg area.
It took Dallas a little bit to get the ball rolling, and the Mountaineers were hampered by Scranton Prep’s 3-4-3 formation. The Classic defenders caved in on most Mountaineer breakaway opportunities, and their midfielders routinely kept long passes on the Dallas side of the field.
“They play a high press with a 3-4-3 that we’re not used to playing in the Wyoming Valley Conference,” Lewis said. “So it took us some time to get used to it. We practiced it last week to get ready for it. But practice is practice.”
The pace of the game seemed relatively calm through the game’s first 30 minutes. Falcone struck a low-lying ball that eluded Dallas goalkeeper Sydney Emershaw in the 32nd minute for the only score of the first half. In the 55th, Cara Griffith went coast-to-coast for 70 yards and sailed a ball from the right flank that popped right out of Emershaw’s grasp and over her head into goal for a 2-0 lead.
“Prep’s a very good team — we knew that going in,” Lewis said. “They’re an experienced team. Obviously, they did damage last year in the playoffs. We knew it was going to be a tough game. We didn’t play our best.
“Obviously, they put the ball in the back of the net. That’s basically what it came down to.”
A steady rain on Lake-Lehman’s black turf made for tough conditions for both players and goalkeepers. The ball seemed slippery to grasp on the first two Prep goals.
“I don’t know (if the rain had an effect),” Lewis said. “I just think, with the weather and the rain and stuff , it didn’t help the situation.”
The weather played no factor on Falcone’s second goal in the 72nd. Dominica Insalaco connected with Falcone for a textbook give-and-go from 10 yards out that found the back of the net.
Emershaw made two fantastic saves to keep the Mountaineers in contention. She dove and punched a Kelly Pompey shot away in the 50th minute, and the junior keeper caught a Falcone lazer in the 60th. Jessica O’Malley headed a ball for a key defensive save on an Insalaco header in the 46th.
Dallas’ many opportunities were fruitless until Ruby Mattson poked a Talia Szatkowski header off a corner kick into net in the 77th minute to end the drought.
Prior to that, many of the Mountaineer chances lacked finishing. Tiffany Zukosky manufactured a great cross late in the game that had no player on the weak side to capitalize. Talia Szatkowski nearly headed an equalizer into net with 16 seconds before halftime. She came up short again on a corner kick chance that found the side of net in the 68th.
H.S. GIRLS SOCCER
District 2 Class 2A Championship
Scranton Prep 3, Dallas 1
First half — 1. SP, Elana Falcone, 32nd minute. Second half — 2. SP, Cara Griffith, 55th; 3. SP, Falcone (Dominica Insalaco), 72nd; 4. DAL, Sara Ruby (Talia Szatkowski), 77th
Shots — SP 20; DAL 11. Saves — SP 6 (Gracie Jenkins); DAL 9 (Sydney Emershaw). Corner kicks — SP 7; DAL 6