Southern rallies to beat Mount Carmel
MOUNT CARMEL - Except for about an eight-minute stretch, Wednesday's Pennsylvania Heartland Athletic Conferenc Division II game between rivals Southern Columbia and Mount Carmel was pretty even.
But like the bunny rabbit in Monty Python and The Holy Grail that "had a mean streak a mile long," those eight minutes were real killers, at least for the Red Tornadoes.
Southern scored four goals in a span of 7 minutes, 48 seconds shortly after Mount Carmel's Ali Varano had tied the game to take a 5-1 lead with 17:39 still to play in the first half, and went on for a 6-1 win in the second game between the teams this season.
The Tigers improved to 11-4 overall, and Mount Carmel dropped to 7-7 and still needs two wins to qualify for the postseason.
"A lot of it was just momentum," Southern coach Derek Stine said of the quick goals. "We had a great first half, then kind of got sloppy in the second half, which is the opposite of the way most of our games have gone."
Bailey Bzdak gave Southern a 1-0 lead 11:37 into the game with the first of her two goals but Varano tied the game about four minutes later, and it seemed like the teams were digging in for a dogfight.
But just 27 seconds after Varano scored, the Tigers' Sam Schultz answered, at the 14:33 mark. Haley Levan scored at 18:02, Mackenzie Clark at 21:50 and Bzdak again at 22:21, and all of a sudden the game seemed out of reach for the Red Tornadoes.
Mount Carmel coach Rich Miller said he didn't think it was a case of his team playing bad defense. "I don't think we were out of position," Miller said. "I think they were just quicker down the flanks than us in the first half. Those goals came really quick. What you can do when that happens? I think what happens is that with each goal, you're a little slower to get ready to play again on the reset."
"We were hoping to have one of these games," Stine said. "Our goals are spread out among a lot of people, and the girls really knew what they wanted when they came here today."
As wild and wooly as the first half was, the second half was not. Mount Carmel missed a chance to get back into the contest when a shot hit the crossbar early in the half and though the Red Tornadoes battled, they never really had many serious threats after that. As for Southern, the Tigers seemed to go into a bit of cruise control.
"We stepped it up a little bit in the second half," Miller said. "We had that one hit the post and that would have helped."
The Tigers got another goal with 3:01 left in the game when Mackenzie Haladay headed a ball into the goal with an assist from Clark.
Southern (11-4) 5 1 - 6
Mount Carmel (7-7) 1 0 - 1
SC - Bailey Bzdak, 10:37
MC - Ali Varano, 14:06
SC - Sam Schultz, 14:33
SC - Haley Levan, 18:02
SC - Mackenzie Clark, 21:50
SC - Bzdak, 22:21
SC - Mackenzie Haladay (Clark), 76:59
Shots on goal: Southern 24, Mount Carmel 8; Corner Kicks: Southern 5, Mount Carmel 1; Keeper/Saves: Southern (Jess Watkins) 7, Mount Carmel (Isabella Stellar) 14.