STROUDSBURG – With just under a minute to go in regulation, it looked as if Pleasant Valley and Pocono Mountain East's semi-final soccer game was going to go into overtime.
However it was not to be, as the Bears' Emily Schlogl promptly put an end to that thought a few seconds later.
Schlogl put away a beautiful centering pass from teammate Ema Sabovic with 55 seconds left to give Pleasant Valley a 2-1 victory in the Mountain Valley Conference semi-final Tuesday afternoon. The loss avenged an earlier season setback to the Cardinals, as well as a disheartening defeat in last year's championship game.
"We knew it was going to be a battle," said Pleasant Valley head coach Tim Hinton. "I told the girls that it was going to come down to one play. Who is going to make the one play at the right time? Today it was us."
With the game winding down into the final minute, Sabovic carried the ball down the left sideline and managed to get around the Pocono Mountain defender in front of her. Sabovic got to the end line and centered the ball to the front left of the box. That is where Schlogl corralled the pass and let a shot fly over East keeper Loren Fish's head for the eventual game-winner.
"We work on that exact play in practice all the time," said Schlogl. "We run down the line and someone comes in and passes it right where the goalie can't get it. When Ema passed it I called Dianna (Connor) off because I knew I had it.
"We worked so hard today and we wanted it so bad. I am so happy that it paid off. We knew we had to step it up. It didn't matter what happened earlier this season or what hapthis season or what happened last year. We just had to work for today."
Although it didn't control most of the first-half possession, Pocono Mountain East (13-4-1) got on the board first when Alyssa Simeone scored her 29th goal of the season off of a pass from Kim Walter.
Pleasant Valley (13-5-1) then started to take over and managed to tie the game up at the 15:36 mark. Maria Cimino had the ball come to her while she was just inside the left corner of the box and shot low and to the right past Fish for the goal.
Play then got a little stagnant for the first 20 minutes of the second half. Neither team could mount a serious attack as most of the play was done between the 30-yard-lines. It wasn't until 9:40 remained that the Bears recorded their first shot of the half.
"Sometimes we like to get too cute or too perfect with our passes," said Hinton. "I've been trying to tell them that if they are in range then put some shots on goal. Fish is a great keeper, but you have to give it a chance and at least make her make the save."
Once Pleasant Valley got off its first shot, seven more followed with the last being the game-winner. The Cardinals managed just two shots in the half and never really had a good look at the net.
The loss snaps Pocono Mountain East's ten-game win streak in which it outscored the opposition 38-5.
Pleasant Valley will now play Stroudsburg in the MVC Championship on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at a site to be determined.
"We want to do the same thing," Hinton said. "We have to keep working for every play. It is going to be a battle once again. We have to come out focused right from the start. If we put a complete game together then win or lose we can be happy with the result."