Warren's Leyna Irwin (left). File photo by Brian Hagberg.

Mustangs Use Speed Advantage to Race Past Dragons

November 8, 2022

WARREN, Pa. – “Speed kills. You can’t teach speed. Everything else in the game can be taught, but speed is a gift from God.” — Al Davis

The Plum Mustangs showed just how much of a gift speed can be as they turned several early breakaways into three goals en route to an 8-0 win at Warren Tuesday in their PIAA Class 3A first round game at War Memorial Field.

“To create the space that we needed to still have an attack, we couldn’t commit that many defenders and without the number of defenders, they were just able to get through us over and over again,” Warren coach Jeremy Bickling said. “That sort of speed is always lethal.”

Camryn Rogers got the Mustangs on the board just over four minutes into the contest, and Kaitlyn Killinger picked up her first of the match 30 seconds later to make it 2-0.

Plum took a 3-0 lead on Annabel Arhin’s first of the game with 30:56 to play in the first half, then the Dragons were able to even possession in the match and had a golden scoring chance with just under 18 minutes to play.

Meea Irwin got the ball deep in Plum territory and sent a rising crossing pass to the middle of the net. Leyna Irwin headed it back toward the left post. The ball hit the post and slowly rolled away from the goal line.

The Mustangs came right back down the field and Arhin buried her second of the game to make it 4-0, and they tacked on two more before the half.

“I thought we played well,” Bickling said. “A couple of the goals, you know, they’re just those momentum shifts, but the girls did a good job they kept fighting. You never really saw them break mentally, it was just, you know, there’s just so many weapons for Plum is it’s hard to cover all those bases.”

Killinger scored both Mustangs goals in the second half to register a hat trick.

Despite the score, Bickling had high praise for keeper Hailey Peterson, who came up with some big stops throughout the match.

“Thinking back to the beginning of the year, just playing some local teams (and) we were just getting hammered and goals were going in, that probably shouldn’t have gone in,” Bickling said. “The biggest amount of credit if we look at development in terms of where (Peterson) started the season to now. She’s a totally different player. And she’s fantastic. Tonight, what did she have 20, 25 stops? I mean, unbelievable.”

The Lady Dragons’ season comes to an end with the loss, and that means Warren will have to say goodbye to a group of seniors, Lauren Andersen, Lydia Balas, Georgie Bickling, Lily Brooker, Ella Ordiway, and Audrey Smith, that have been part of a stretch that includes four straight District 10 titles.

“It’s hard, you know, this group is special to me,” Bickling said. “They’re the group that I came up with in terms of a coach before I was a high school coach. You can’t replace players like that, you know, especially somebody like Georgie that holds all the records. I mean, just a phenomenal player. (There are) no egos in that group, always willing to work. And yeah, that experience of having four titles in their pocket, knowing that they earned it. They were the first team to be part of that title run. And they helped each and every time earn that gold that we’ve gotten.”

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Subscribe to our newsletter

White Cane Coffee presents Coffee & a Conversation

Don't Miss