John Bruce, Contributor
WILLIAMSPORT — In the program’s first-ever home tournament soccer game, the Westfall Mustangs made a major splash.
Behind a stellar defense and an explosive offense, the Mustangs advanced to Thursday’s Division III sectional final match with a 4-1 victory over Peebles.
Senior Chloe Tanler led the offense with two goals and two assists while senior Madalynn Yates and junior Mahaley Farmer each had a goal and an assist. For Farmer, it was her first game back after an injury layoff.
“Tonight was the first night that we had Mahaley back,” Westfall coach Devin Schoonover said. “The biggest thing that Mahaley brings, besides great speed and touch, is that teams can’t focus on Chloe or Madalynn anymore. I don’t know if you noticed, but it forced [Peebles] to play a defender very deep.”
Yates (33:05) and Farmer (24:26) each netted a goal in the early going, both assisted by Tanler.
Yates was able to slip past the defense, where Tanler found her, and calmly found the back of the net from the left side of the box. Farmer won a ball in the box, where she turned and finished to put the Mustangs ahead 2-0.
Peebles (8-6-1) didn’t go down without a fight as junior Lilly Gray broke free from the Mustangs’ back line and cut the lead to 2-1 with 11:58 to play in the first half. That goal was Gray’s 80th goal over the past two seasons.
At the half, the Mustangs led the Indians just 2-1, but were severely outshooting them. Those opportunities continued in the second half and that’s when Tanler put the game away.
Tanler added two goals in the final 40 minutes, one each from Yates and Farmer, including a goal with 2:09 to play that proved to be the final dagger.
While the offensive highlights of Tanler, Yates, and Farmer were vital to the Mustangs’ win, equally as vital was the play of the Mustangs’ defense.
Lyndsey Yates, Sydney Tinney, Kylee Henry, and Carmen Walters were outstanding throughout the evening in stifling the high-flying Indian offense.
Peebles entered the game averaging nearly 5 1/2 goals per game, but were held to only seven shots on goal throughout the contest. Gray, Kierra Stone, and Kristen Bradford combined for 66 goals on the season, but Gray was the only one who was able to break into the scoring column.
With 14:09 to play and the Mustangs holding on to a 3-1 lead, Gray would be awarded a penalty kick. A successful try would have given the Indians new life. However, senior goalkeeper Marcy Dudgeon wasn’t having any of that.
Dudgeon dove to her right and smothered a smoldering shot from Gray to maintain the 3-1 lead.
With Tanler’s dagger goal in the final minutes, the Mustangs wrapped up their first home tournament win, girls or boys, in school history.
“When we started as freshmen, we knew we had to build it up,” Tanler said when discussing the Westfall program. “Now that we had a home tournament game, it means so much. I’m sad that it is ending here, but we are excited to try and go really far in the tournament.”
Westfall (12-4) will be back in action in a Division III sectional championship game on Thursday, traveling to top-seeded Alexander (6-6-5). First touch is set for 5 p.m.
Shots: Westfall 30, Peebles 13
Shots on Goal: Westfall 19, Peebles 7
Saves: Westfall 6 (Dudgeon 6), Peebles 15 (Hope Brown 15)
Corners Won: Westfall 7, Peebles 6
Fouls: Westfall 4, Peebles 9
33:05 — W, Madalynn Yates (Chloe Tanler)
24:26 — W, Mahaley Farmer (Tanler)
11:58 — P, Lilly Gray
34:59 — W, Tanler (Yates)
2:09 — W, Tanler (Farmer)