Mitchell PK pushes Warriors into second round of PIAA tourney

Montoursville players celebrate their double-overtime victory over Salisbury Tuesday at Balls Mills.

Montoursville players celebrate their double-overtime victory over Salisbury Tuesday at Balls Mills.

The way the two overtime periods were going, it looked like there was a real possibility of the game going into a shootout. And honestly, that’s not exactly what Montoursville wanted to happen.

The Warriors have plenty of players who can drain a penalty kick if the opportunity presented itself, but Gillian Mitchell knows how stressful it can be going to a shootout. She didn’t want it to come to that.

So when Salisbury got called for a handball in the 18-yard box, Mitchell felt her stomach knot up a bit. The Warrior senior was going to have to drain this penalty kick with 5:23 to play in the second overtime period.

“I knew we could end it and I just wanted it to be over, so I just did what I always do in practice and luckily it went in,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell drilled her penalty kick shot toward the right post and scored, giving Montoursville the exciting 2-1 win in double overtime over the Salisbury Falcons at the Balls Mills Soccer Complex on Tuesday night.

With the win, Montoursville advances in the Class AA state tournament to face defending Class A state champion Trinity on Saturday at a time and place to be determined.

“We probably have more confidence in her than she has in herself in that situation. We knew she was going to make a quality attempt at it and we tried to stress that you’re not going to make them all and she’s the right person,” Montours­ville coach Vic Gorini said. “She’s a senior captain and the right one to put on the spot in that moment.”

With six minutes to play in the second overtime, Montours­ville’s Kyleigh Balint had an excellent breakaway to inside of the 18, and tried to get a shot off, but Salisbury goalie Kyra Bruns slid and prevented any type of shot from her.

Mitchell also had a great free kick from 25 yards out in the first overtime that she sent high, but Bruns had another nice stop.

“Hats off to them, they played hard,” Gorini said. “Their keeper was solid. We had a hard time beating them.”

Montoursville played excellent offensively, with practically every shot fired being on target and a shot on goal. The Warriors fired 15 shots and only three were not shots on goal. Two went just wide to one side or other of goal.

“Our girls, they left it out on field. It was amazing to see us all working as a unit and playing great soccer,” Mitchell said. “I thought it was one of our better games, we connected feet and we were lucky to get most of our shots on target. Just like in practice, we worked on it and it really showed.”

Balint put Montours­ville on the board first with 19:22 to play when she took a breakaway to inside the 18 and fired a great shot to the left post past Bruns with two defenders on her.

Roughly two minutes later, it was Salisbury that tied it up when Caylin Meikrantz sent a pass to Rylee Donaldson, who sent a great shot. Donaldson placed her shot perfectly from 20 yards out high, just out of the reach of Marlene Bassett in goal.

M–Kyleigh Balint, 19:22. S–Rylee Donaldson (Caylin Meikrantz), 17:00. M–Gillian Mitchell (penalty kick), 5:23.

Shots: S 6, M 12. Corners: S 6, M 7. Saves: S (Kyra Bruns) 8, M (Marlene Bassett) 4

Records: Montoursville (21-0). Next game: Montoursville vs. Trinity, Saturday, TBD.