Moon’s Delaney Snyder has scored more than three dozen goals in the regular season and playoffs, but with less than five minutes remaining in regulation of a scoreless WPIAL Girls 3A Soccer Final against section rivals Montour on Friday evening at Highmark Stadium, she became a play maker on the game’s decisive play to lead her team, and school to an uplifting win and WPIAL title.
Snyder broke toward the left endline and found one of her teammates, Emily Orr on the right side of the box with a perfectly placed pass. Orr delivered the game’s decisive score with a 15-yard strike to help Moon capture its second WPIAL Girls Soccer title, and first since 2004.
“I knew I had to get to the end line. And I knew Emily was there and she always finishes those,” said Snyder. “We played with a lot of heart tonight and we didn’t give up. We set a goal in August to make it to Highmark Stadium — and we did it.”
“She’s like an energizer bunny. She never stops. That was a great individual effort to get to the touchline, and beat a couple defenders,” said Bill Pfiefer, Moon Head Coach, said of his junior forward, a Miami (Ohio) commit. “And Emily Orr was patient on the back post, timed her run, and had great technique to tuck it away.”
The Tigers (21-1) and Spartans (16-3-3) battled in what was a hard-fought, physical match in the third meeting of the season between the two neighboring section rivals, as Moon controlled much of the possession throughout the game, but couldn’t break through a stout Montour back line that hounded Snyder every time she touched the ball.
“We know Moon likes to counter quickly, but we were prepared for a tight game,” said Lee Coughenour, Montour Head Coach. “We wanted to wait for our opportunities and perhaps capitalize when we could, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Moon would not let Montour have many chances, despite spending a lot of time in the attacking third the Tigers couldn’t capitalize for much of the game. In the second minute of the match, Snyder had a golden chance to put the Tigers up early, as she got behind the Spartans back line to get to a thru ball, but the ball sailed to her right — leaving her with a difficult angle for her first shot attempt that went wide of the right post.
“I completely misjudged it. This field is a bit different than what we’re used to playing on,” said Snyder. “That set the tone for the game, as it was frustrating as I knew they would be on me the rest of the game.”
The Spartans limited Snyder and the Tigers’ second leading scorer, Emma Thomas, by playing physical and keeping the Tigers’ shots from distance. As the game played out, Orr became the catalyst for the Moon attack from the right side, with numerous crosses and corner kicks into the box, but many were getting gobbled up by outstanding play of Montour’s senior goalkeeper Maura Hickey.
“Maura, she’s a good player. She’s a senior. She’s been through this before — she knows what to expect and was big for us tonight,” said Coughenour.
Hickey came up with eight saves, but the Spartans fell short in their bid to win its second WPIAL title in three years, as the hook-up between Snyder and Orr was the difference to help Moon win a WPIAL title in light of the recent tragic death of student Michael Trella, who was a sophomore lacrosse player.
“I am happy for the kids. They’ve worked hard since the beginning of the season,” said Pfiefer. “I’ve very happy for the school itself, for everything that’s gone on during the past week. The kids were able to pull the community together, and it was uplifting for everyone here.”