TITUSVILLE, Pa. – For 180 regular season minutes, plus another 25:44 to start the postseason, Eisenhower and Seneca girls soccer had combined for one goal against each other.
Two goals separated by less than 120 seconds proved to be the difference Tuesday as the Bobcats held on to beat the Knights, 3-2, in their District 10 Class 1A girls’ soccer quarterfinal.
Rewatch the match:
Just about 17 minutes into the second half, Elley Eastman’s goal cut Seneca’s lead to 2-1. Just over a minute later, a quick change of possession put the ball on Alara Bem’s foot. She passed ahead to Taylor Bunce who outran the defense and tucked a low liner inside the near post to give Seneca a 2-goal advantage.
The Knights got a late goal from Julie Gesing, but couldn’t get the equalizer.
Tuesday’s playoff match started much the same way both regular season matches had gone, with neither team able to find the back of the net.
The Bobcats held a possession advantage through much of the half and finally broke through in the 25th minute.
A turnover in front of the net ended with Ave Pushchak gaining possession. She sent a bouncing shot through the defense that appeared to catch Eisenhower keeper Tracey Jakubczak off guard thanks to the scrum of players in front.
Seven minutes later, the Bobcats capitalized on another turnover.
Hailee Dolph poked the ball away from Samantha Childs pinching in on the attack and played catch with Pushchak down the left side and into the offensive zone. Dolph sent a centering pass intended for Katelynn Gottschling. Gottschling couldn’t handle the pass cleanly, but the ball bounced right to Pushchak who sent a rising shot to the far post just past Jakubczak’s outstretched hand for a 2-0 lead.
With just over 3:30 to play in the first half, the Knights had a quality scoring chance. Gesing sent a long-range shot on net. Katie Bunk was in front and tried to head it in, the ball hit off the crossbar and came straight down without crossing the goal line to keep it a 2-0 game at the half.
Eisenhower got its first goal of the season against Seneca 17 minutes into the second half. Cassie Smelko took a free kick from 38 yards out. She sent a bending shot right to the front of the net. Eastman bodied the ball on the bounce to the far post. The ball hit the post, then crossed back and fell inside the net to make it 2-1.
That set up Bunce’s goal which made it 3-1.
Seneca’s Sage Slowikowski was called for a push with 11:30 to play. Smelko again took the free kick, this time from 47 yards in the center of the field. Her kick was wide of the net, but Eastman was there to collect and center. Eastman’s pass went off a Bobcat and right to Gesing who buried it near post for the final goal of the match.
The Bobcats were able to withstand additional pressure following the Gesing goal, then flipped the field and spent most of the final five minutes in the offensive zone.
Eisenhower had one last chance after Seneca was called for a handball with 20 seconds to play. Smelko took the kick and tried to set up Eastman as she had done on the previous goal. This time the ball rolled out of play and time expired.
Seneca will take on Girard, a 2-1 upset winner over defending D10 champion Mercer, in the semifinals on Thursday.