WPIAL GIRLS 2A FINAL
Waynesburg Central 4, Freedom 2
For the first time in it’s history, Waynesburg Central captured a WPIAL soccer championship — doing what they do best — lighting up the scoreboard to dethrone previously unbeaten defending champions Freedom.
After a tightly contested first half, and after an early Freedom goal tied things up a 1-1, the Lady Raiders exploded for three goals to surge past defending WPIAL 2A girls champions to claim a 4-2 victory and a historic win for the small school from Greene Country at Highmark Stadium in the first of four WPIAL soccer finals being played on Saturday.
Ultimately, in a game played at a furious pace, the Lady Raiders’ attack was too much for the defending champions Freedom to handle.
Waynesburg, now 19-1, took control from the beginning of the game and didn’t let up. The Lady Raiders had the first serious scoring opportunities and eventually cashed in midway through the first half.
“We couldn’t get it going,” said coach Colin Williams said. “We played too deep and let them bring the play to us. We couldn’t get any momentum going.”
“We knew Waynesburg was going to be tough, but we didn’t play well. Our goalkeeper (Jacklynn Hartle) kept us in the game.”
Despite having a decided edge in play, Waynesburg still led only 1-0 at halftime, partially due to Hartle’s efforts in making a number of big saves.
Then, the Lady Raiders took control of the match, with goals coming from Jillian Kijowski in the 44th, Kylie Sinn in the 53rd and Pitt commit, Madison Clayton on a breakaway in the 67th minute.
“We’re an aggressive, attack-minded team. I didn’t have to make any adjustments at the half, we just wanted to play our game, and we did that in the second half,” Joe Kijowski said. “I’m so happy for the girls, they worked so hard for this — I’m so proud — I can’t explain it.”
FR: Lyndsee Monac, 76′
WC: Madison Clayton, 67′
WC: Kylie Sinn, 53′
WC: Jillian Kijowski, 44′
FR: Alexsia Barlamas, 38′
Freedom are the reigning WPIAL 2A champs — and along with Moon in 3A — are the only remaining unbeaten team. Last year Freedom won its first ever soccer district title with a dominant 4-1 win over Freeport in the final. Leading the way again for the Colin Williams‘ squad is junior Michaela Watkins, who has been one of the top scorers in Class 3A, finding the net 20-plus times. She took on an enhanced scoring role when junior Myla Sharpless suffered a season-ending knee injury. Sharpless is a Florida Atlantic recruit.
This year, Freedom face a strong challenge from Waynesburg, who like Freedom last year, have been rolling through the all 2A competition (only loss was 2-1 to 3A South Fayette) and are now making its first-ever appearance in the final. Having topped Avonworth 5-0, then beating Freeport 7-1, Waynesburg are looking like a very a real threat to dethrone Freedom. It’s been a record-breaking season for the Lady Raiders — who have a Pitt recruit and top goal scorer in the WPIAL in senior forward Madison Clayton. Clayton had a whopping 53 regular season goals and teammate Rhea Kijowski, a freshman, has 29.