KINGSTON — The ghosts of last year’s painful district loss and a gut-checking, three-game slide to end this season evaporated in the cold October night. Wyoming Valley West looked more like its September form.
The Spartans controlled possession and momentum for most of the 80 minutes en route to a 4-0 shutout victory Thursday of Scranton in the District 2 Class 3A girls soccer quarterfinals. Wyoming Valley West, which was upset in the first round last year to Williamsport, kept the Knights to just two shots on goal.
Wyoming Valley West employed a possession-heavy strategy that wore down the Knight defense and caused it to fester with exhaustion for the final 60 minutes.
“Again, it might sound like boring soccer,” Wyoming Valley West coach Mike Davitt said. “It’s simple but effective. I’d rather be boring and effective than the alternative.”
Alyssa Shaver put the Spartans on the board in the 13th minute when, off an Aubrey Williams pass, she struck a low-liner that banged off the inside post from 15 yards out. Shaver tuned her second goal of the game in the 35th minute to go up 2-0. She turned 180 degrees on an Alex Hargrave assist to lift a ball over goalkeeper Molly Comstock’s reach.
“Basically, what we told the girls is ‘right from the whistle, go after them’,” Davitt said. “As long as we did that, kept it simple, kept balls to feet, we felt like we’d be successful. That’s what we did from the first minute.”
After having two great scoring chances stopped by Comstock and the top post in the first half, Williams netted the Spartans’ third score in the 49th minute. With her back to the goal and the defender, the freshman midfielder corralled Elizabeth Hoffman’s pass, decked her defender and offered a strike that stood no chance of being stopped.
“Audrey is a fantastic player,” Davitt said. “She’s very intense; however, she settles everything down in the midfield. She can change the game basically.”
Wyoming Valley West capped its scoring in the 53rd minute. Carissa Bevan caught a ball right off the torso of teammate Michaela Shonk and arced it into net for the four-goal lead.
Scranton was outshot by the Spartans by a 24-2 margin. Paige Heckman stopped both Knights shots, and Comstock finished with 11 saves.
The Spartans will face the winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal pitting Hazleton Area versus Abington Heights in the semifinal. If the Comets prevail over the Cougars, Wyoming Valley West will be looking to end Abington Heights’ five-season district championship run.
“That’s going to be a fantastic game,” Davitt said. “They are five-time champions for a reason. Until someone knocks them off, they are the champions. And we have to respect that. But we feel we have a pretty good team ourselves. We’ll see what happens after 80 minutes.”
Dallas 4, Holy Redeemer 1
Talia Szatkowski contributed on all four goals to lead the Mountaineers to a victory over Holy Redeemer in the District 2 Class 2A quarterfinals. Szatkowski totaled a hat trick and an assist.
Ashley Strazdus added a goal and an assist for a three-point effort for Dallas. Tiffany Zukosky assisted on two of Szatkowski’s scores.
Emily Schramm tallied the Royals’ lone goal in the 63rd minute to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Gabby Tomasura finished with four saves for the Royals. Sydney Emershaw picked up the win with three stops.
Dallas advances to the semifinal round, where it will host the winner of Friday’s Berwick-Pittston Area contest on Monday at 3:30 p.m. with a PIAA tournament berth on the line.
H.S. GIRLS SOCCER
District 2 Class 3A Quarterfinal
Wyoming Valley West 4, Scranton 0
Wyoming Valley West`2`2`—`2
First half — 1. WVW, Alyssa Shaver (Audrey Williams), 13th minute; 2. WVW, Shaver (Alex Hargrave), 35th. Second half — 3. WVW, Williams (Elizabeth Hoffman), 49th; 4. WVW, Carissa Bevan (Michaela Shonk), 53rd.
Shots — SCR 2; WVW 24. Saves — SCR 11 (Molly Comstock); WVW 2 (Paige Heckman). Corner kicks — SCR 1; WVW 6
District 2 Class 2A Quarterfinal
Dallas 4, Holy Redeemer 1
First half — 1. DAL, Talia Szatkowski (Tiffany Zukosky), 11th minute. Second half — 2. DAL, Ashley Strazdus (Szatkowski), 43rd; 3. DAL, Szatkowski (Strazdus), 48th; 4. HR, Emily Schramm, 63rd; 5. DAL, Szatkowski (Zukosky), 66th.
Shots — HR 7; DAL 22. Saves — HR 4 (Gabby Tomasura); DAL 3 (Sydney Emershaw). Corner kicks — HR 0; DAL 3.