Passionate play paces BP to win over Plum
No guts, no glory. That seems to be the motto of the Bethel Park girls’ soccer team.
For the Lady Hawks gave it all they had in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs and the result was a 1-0 triumph over Plum (14-4).
“All 11 players played with passion and intensity,” said BP head coach Jonathan Gentile. “All their training and all their hard work, they left on the field.”
The Hawks had to or else their season would have ended. Instead, BP faces Gateway at 8 p.m. Oct. 23 in a quarterfinal match at Elizabeth-Forward. BP beat the Gators on their home turf, 1-0, back on Sept. 30.
While BP improved to 16-2-1 overall with the victory over Plum, the Gators ran their record to 10-7-1 after upsetting North Allegheny (15-3-1) in their playoff opener, 2-1.
“The first game is always the toughest,” said Gentile. “You have a chance to win and you know what you need to do but it’s not always easy. But, (against Plum), we crushed it.”
Tatiana Ruzzini certainly did. The senior striker deposited the game-winner into the net during the 30th minute of action.
“Tatiana is a workhorse,” Gentile said. “I can’t say enough about her. She creates something out of nothing.”
“That goal was huge,” he continued. “When it came with 10 minutes left in the (first) half, that deflated them.”
The Mustangs knew then their task was difficult because they were facing a defensive foursome that led the Lady Hawks to an undefeated section title last fall and a third-place finish in the WPIAL. Though BP finished runner-up to Baldwin in the division this fall, its defense has been virtually impenetrable. Center backs Lindsay Boss and Rachel Gaddis along with outside backers Alexis Machi and Jess Horgan have held the opposition to just five goals.
With Tara Nath in the nets, BP recorded its 16th shutout of the season.
“She’s done nothing but good things for us,” said Gentile of Nath, who originally was an outside midfielder for the Hawks. “We haven’t missed a beat with her.”
“Plus, those back four have been outstanding. They really care for each other and they play well as a unit.”