Lady Bears back in finals
bob ford/times news Pleasant Valley's Kayla Dorney (right) and Angela Munoz of Pocono Mountain East battle for control of the ball.
The Pleasant Valley girls' soccer team completed their first task for the week.
Now, the Lady Bears can turn their focus to their second and final step.
Pleasant Valley won the rubber match with Pocono Mountain East Tuesday night, as the Bears defeated the Cardinals 2-0 in the Mountain Valley Conference semi-finals. The Bears scored twice in the first half, including one with 11 seconds left, and will now play for their sixth conference title in seven years.
"I told the girls that we had to come out with energy," said Pleasant Valley head coach Tim Hinton. "We had to be ready because if we came out slow and it took us ten minutes to wake up - (PM East) would bury us. Thankfully we had the energy tonight.
"Once we got that second goal I could relax a little bit, but I knew they would keep coming."
It was only a week ago that Pocono Mountain defeated Pleasant Valley 1-0 and handed they Bears their second conference loss of the season. East's Casey Schimpf scored the game-winner off of a corner-pass with four seconds remaining.
"We are going to come out and compete and always play hard no matter who we play," said Hinton. "But it is always nice to beat a team that beat you. I am proud of the way we played tonight. We played physical. Everyone from front to back worked hard. It was a complete team effort tonight."
Pleasant Valley broke the scoreless tie at the 23:19 mark of the first half. Kira Sever corralled a loose ball with her left foot roughly 25 yards out from the Cardinals' net. She quickly switched the ball over to her right and let a shot rip. The ball went high and over East goalie Maureen Brennan's fingertips and into the net.
Junior Maggie Patterson later delivered the back-breaker with 11 seconds to go in the half. After an initial shot was stopped by a diving Brennan, the ball ricocheted back out to Patterson. Brennan was able to get back into the net, but Patterson got the shot high enough and over her head once again.
As it has been all season long, the Pleasant Valley defense was again dominant and held the Cardinals to a mere five shots for the game. Anchored by goalkeeper Jackie Guiliano, the Bears pitched their 12th shutout of the year. To date, the Bears have allowed just 11 goals on the year.
"We like to use the bend-but-don't-break mentality," admitted Hinton. "Kristin (Hart) has such great speed. Even if she misplays a ball she can recover very well. They just feed off each other. They have been playing together for a while now. They are consistent and keep us in every game."
Pleasant Valley (13-4-1) will play No. 3 Stroudsburg (10-6-3) in the MVC Championship at East Stroudsburg South at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Bears took both meetings during the regular season, winning 1-0 in double overtime and then 2-1. Patterson scored the game-winner in both games.
The only time in the past seven years that Pleasant Valley did not win the MVC title was in 2008 when it lost to Stroudsburg. It was the Mounties' first conference championship in ten years.
"Every year it seems to come down to us and Stroudsburg," said Hinton, who was the JV coach at the time of the loss. "They are always tough. It is the rivalry it seems like now. Again, we have to come out ready. They are going to be ready and I know it is going to be a great game. As long as we come out and work hard good things will happen."