Butler girls beat Moon, nasty weather in double OT
Tornado to face rival NA for title
Butler's Stephanie Adkisson (18) battles through pressure from Moon's Lizzie Hoff during the Golden Tornado's 2-1 double-overtime WPIAL Class 4A girls soccer semifinal win Monday night at Art Bernardi Stadium.
STEVEN DALTON/SPECIAL TO THE EAGLE
WPIAL Class 4A Soccer
BUTLER TWP — The wind was howling. Temperatures frigid. Tensions rising and nearly boiling over.
As the match dragged on — 80 minutes, then 95 — the Butler girls soccer team was growing tired of it.
So, the Golden Tornado put an end to it.
Junior Vanessa Drohan scored on a header on a perfect corner kick from Sam Miller less than two minutes into the second overtime to give Butler a 2-1 win over feisty Moon in a WPIAL 4A semifinal at Art Bernardi Stadium Monday night.
The win sends the Golden Tornado to a date with a familiar foe — North Allegheny — for the WPIAL title at 8 p.m. Thursday at Gateway.
Getting there was a grind.
A grind Drohan was more than happy to end.
“We had had enough,” Drohan said, smiling.
That's what she was thinking when Miller's corner kick arched toward her in the stiff wind.
“I'm thinking I don't want to have to play for another 10 minutes or go into (penalty kicks),” Drohan said, chuckling “I'm thinking I don't want to see the seniors go away, either.”
For the seniors, the trip to the WPIAL final is the culmination of a four-year odyssey, one marked by baby steps forward until, finally, a breakout season in 2020.
A year unlike any other.
“It took four years to get there,” said Butler coach Steve Perri. “It's the culmination of the effort and drive we put in.
“We had the pressure of just life,” Perri added, alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Every day if you make the wrong decision, things could happen.”
Senior Gabby Boden got the Golden Tornado on the board first with a goal with 8:24 remaining in the first half, driving a shot into the top of the net.
Boden had two prime scoring chances earlier in the half, but was turned away.
Butler (11-1) had the best of play throughout, but struggled to convert.
“We had a lot of good shots,” Boden said. “We've had similar games like this where we had to fight for it.”
Moon (9-4-2) knotted the game at 1-1 when Kayla Leseck headed the ball into the net during a scrum in the goal box with a little less than 10 minutes to play in regulation.
Perri didn't substitute much during the match, even into the overtime periods.
“We had the right players on the field,” Perri said. “Credit to Moon. They made life difficult. They are high pressure and they don't give you much time.”
Perri was concerned about the wind at the start. Strangely, though, all three goals were scored against the stiff wind.
“When we lost the coin toss and had to defend the wind in the first half, I was concerned,” Perri said. “But it didn't affect things as I feared. At some point the quality was going to take over and it did.”
To Boden and the seniors, playing for a WPIAL championship is a dream come true.
Butler only played North Allegheny once this season. The second game against the Tigers was canceled due to COVID-19.
Butler won the first meeting, 3-2.
“It means everything (to get to the WPIAL final),” Boden said. “It means a lot, too, because I'm a senior and this is the last mark I can make.”