SOCCER

Dallastown girls' soccer beats South Western again, this time in district playoffs

Maggie Groh scored four goals and the Wildcats beat the Mustangs for the fourth time this season.

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

DALLASTOWN — After three meetings to date already — the last of which came in the York-Adams League finals this past Saturday — Dallastown girls’ soccer coach Scott Austin figured it was time to switch things up as his Wildcats hosted South Western in a District 3 Class 4A first-round tilt.

Those three previous meetings all went the way of Austin’s club, which earned tight 1-0 triumphs each contest. Many observers, including Austin himself, figured the fourth battle would unfold similarly.

It didn’t.

Dallastown vs. South Western during YAIAA girls’ soccer championship action at Northeastern High School in East Manchester Township, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. Dallastown would win the game 1-0. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Midway through the first half, the Mustangs scored their first goal against the Wildcats all season on a tally by Carly Lee to take the lead. It didn’t last, though, as Dallastown's Maggie Groh took over from there.

The senior scored twice in the final 12 minutes of the first half to put the Wildcats on top. And the University of Delaware recruit wasn’t done, as she scored twice more in the second half to help the York-Adams League champs to an impressive 5-2 victory.

Dallastown (18-3-1) moves on in the District 3 bracket, where the No. 8-seed Wildcats will travel to unbeaten and top-seeded Manheim Township (18-0-0) in the quarterfinals Saturday at a time yet to be determined.

“We changed our tactics a bit,” Austin said. “We obviously knew (South Western). We played them the other night and my defense scored in the championship, so we knew the offense was due. It was just a matter of time.”

That time started with just under 12 minutes left in the first half. Groh took a cross from Kiara McNealy and blasted it inside the right post to draw the Wildcats even. Then with just under a minute left in the half, Groh made it 2-1 when she got the last touch on a rebound in the box.

“Maggie had an outstanding game,” Austin said. “The midfield got her the ball and Kiara had some great passes for her. When the machine is clicking, it’s clicking.”

Groh, who missed over a month at the beginning of the season due to injury, added a third goal moments after a brief power outage halted the contest in the first minute of the second half. The delay lasted nearly 15 minutes before power was restored and the game resumed.

“I’ll have to Venmo or Bitcoin someone some money,” Austin joked. “I’m not really sure what happened there, I don’t know.”

After McNealy scored on a breakaway to make it 4-1 with just under 30 minutes left, Groh finished her four-goal barrage with a strike inside the post with 13:50 remaining to make it 5-1.

“We came out a little slower and that goal (by South Western) kind of set us back a bit, but we stayed strong,” Groh said. “We really wanted to win this game. We talked about it at practice (Monday) that we want our season to go as far as we can, and I’m just really proud of the way we played as a team tonight.”

Besides the lopsided victory, the biggest positive for Austin and his squad is the fact that the trio of Groh, McNealy and Annabelle Wunderlich are starting to elevate their play. That was difficult throughout the season, as first Groh and then Wunderlich were out of the lineup with injuries.

“I was out for five weeks, and then when I came back, she went down a week.” Groh said of Wunderlich. "I’m still not at 100 percent, but it’s definitely better than it was.”

With just over two weeks with all three together, the Wildcats are starting to peak at just the right time .

“We really only had (Groh and Wunderlich) together for about two weeks,” Austin said. “The season isn’t really that long, but the girls are starting to click and they’re learning to work together again. And they always say you want to peak towards the end of the season, but I’m very, very happy today. The whole team played great.”

The loss ended a very strong season for the Mustangs (17-4-1), whose only losses this season came against the Wildcats. Lee scored both goals, the second of which came with 10:42 left in the contest.