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Payden Mathieson’s hustle for South pays off with 1st-half goal

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette South Williamsport’s Payden Mathieson (12) celebrates after scoring in the first half against Meadowbrook Chrisitan during Wednesday’s District 4 Class A quarterfinal game.

Meadowbrook Christian goalie Emily Toland was in an unfortunate situation. As she tried to get a loose ball inside the 6-yard box, she crashed against one of her own players and a South Williamsport defender.

That’s when Toland was trapped on the ground as her teammate was accidentally on top of her.

Toland couldn’t do anything but watch as South Williamsport’s Payden Mathieson was to her right with a ball and an open net. Mathieson didn’t hesitate, quickly sending in the shot for the game’s only goal.

Meadowbrook Christian played the Mounties tough in the final 40 minutes, but that first-half goal held up as South Williamsport blanked the Lions, 1-0, in the District 4 Class A quarterfinals at South Williamsport on a chilly, cloudy Wednesday afternoon.

Mathieson’s goal summed up the type of player she is by constantly working and making the best of any situation she finds.

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette South’s Elizabeth Manning and Meadowbrook’s Kailey Devlin battle for the ball Wednesday in the District 4 Class A quarterfinals.

“That’s what she’s like. She’s the perfect example of grit, determination and spirit. She’s very coachable,” South Williamsport coach Marc Lovecchio said. “Once she develops in terms of getting her skill, she’ll be really hard to stop. It was an opportunistic goal, probably should have had two or three others.”

“The goal that was scored, it’s just how it is. We have one of our players fall over our keeper … but hey, it’s the game,” Meadowbrook Christian coach Brian Elsasser said. “It’s how it’s played. They were fortunate to get the goal.”

South Williamsport held an advantage throughout the first half, limiting the Lions to just one shot on goal — coming from 30 yards out — but Meadowbrook adjusted and played well in the final 40 minutes.

The Lions got some pressure on the Mounties and had a few good looks. One of Meadowbrook’s best chances to score came with 18 minutes, 45 seconds left when a player got inside of the 18 and tried sending a shot to the far left post, only for it to go just wide.

“That’s a good team. They’re well organized. They made us sweat,” Lovecchio said.

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Meadowbrook Christian goalie Emily Toland gets tangled up with a teammate in the first half. South Williamsport’s Payden Mathieson would score on the play for the game’s only goal at South Williamsport in the District 4 Class A quarterfinals.

Mathieson nearly scored a second goal with 13:40 left to play when she was fed a perfect cross from McKaye Wilton toward the left post, but an offsides call negated what would have been a 2-0 lead as the shot from Mathieson went in.

The Mounties limited Meadowbrook to just three total shots on goal, none of which coming from closer than 30 yards.

“They’re young and inexperienced, but I thought they did well with pressuring the ball. I thought they did well with moving off the ball,” Lovecchio said. “Holding it to give the midfielders a chance to come up. We had a lot of chances from the sides and hitting the cross and that’s because the forwards were coming back and knocinkg it back.”

Piper Minier played well throughout the game and with 22:30 to play, sent a perfectly-timed cross to her left from near the endline, but no Mountie was on the receiving end to finish and score. Minier also nearly put in a goal with 26:00 to play in the first half when she drilled a hard shot high, trying to sneak it just below the crossbar. But the shot had just a little too much on it and went high over the goal.

“We collapsed way too much, but they were starting to get that toward the end of the first half. I thought we played a much better second half We had some opportunities, but I give South Side a tremendous amount of credit,” Elsasser said. “They’re a good team and they work hard. Their best plays in the middle of the field. We have some good midfielders, but their midfielders really kept shutting us down all afternoon. I think we play well in the second half, I’m very thrilled with the season.”

South Williamsport 1, Meadowbrook Christian 0

SW–Payden Mathieson, 33:50.

Shots: MC 3, SW 3. Corners: MC 1, SW 7. Saves: MC 2, SW 3 (Laila Shams).

Records: South Williamsport (13-3). Next game: South Williamsport vs. Benton/Southern Columbia, TBA, District 4 Class A semifinals.

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