The Bentworth girls were rewarded for their Section 2-A title with the No. 2 seed in the WPIAL Class A soccer playoffs.
The Lady Bearcats play Mohawk (7-8-0) in the opening round of the playoffs on Monday at Upper St. Clair at 6:15 p.m.
Bentworth closed the section schedule Wednesday night against Monessen, entering the season finale with an 11-0 section record. The Lady Bearcats are 15-1-0 with the lone loss in a non-section match to Waynesburg Central, who also qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.
“Of course it’s good. I should make the playoffs a little easier,” Bentworth coach Tyler Hamstra said of the No. 2 seed, adding, “I like the respect.”
“Ultimately, I’m pretty happy. It’s the playoffs. It doesn’t matter what you did before,” continued Hamstra. “It’s one and done. You survive and advance.”
Although Bentworth sliced through the section schedule with ease, the Lady Bearcats had added demanding non-section matches against playoff teams Ringgold, Trinity and Waynesburg Central.
The Lady Bearcats are an experienced team with eight seniors, all of whom played in the playoffs in all four years.
“We won’t be shocked or overwhelmed,” said Hamstra. “We played a tough non-section schedule. They were all playoff teams, but we will see a lot more players, coaches and teams like that in the playoffs.”
Jocelyn Timlin and Paige Marshalek provide the offensive spark for Bentworth, with both topping 100 career goals. Marshalek is the all-time leader in assists, as well.
Goalkeeper Jasmine Manning enters the playoffs with 11 shutouts, tying Jeanna Brewers’ single-season mark set in 2014.
“It takes a lot of luck and you have to stay healthy. The kids have to buy in 100 percent every night,” said Hamstra.
The Brownsville girls needed to win Tuesday night in the Section 3-AA finale at Mount Pleasant, and the Lady Falcons came through with a 2-0 victory to pull into a fourth-place tie with the Lady Vikings with records of 6-6.
“It was a very good game. I was exciting,” Brownsville coach Cedar Brunache said of the win.
Brownsville (9-6-0) travels to Belle Vernon Monday to play Steel Valley (10-6-0) at 6 p.m.
The Lady Falcons feature one of the WPIAL’s top goal scorers in Tessa Dellarose.
Brunache and his squad are looking forward to the playoffs, the Lady Falcons’ third consecutive trip to the postseason.
“We’re excited. We’re very proud of the girls. We don’t know much about Steel Valley. I think you can overthink it at times,” said Brunache. “We will go in and play our game. This is our third-straight trip to the playoffs. We’re mentally prepared. We’re prepared for anything. We’ll play on grass, concrete, any surface.”
The local contingent boasts some of the most prolific scorers in the WPIAL season, including Dellarose, Marshalek, Timlin, Connellsville’s Callie Cunningham, Belle Vernon’s Jill Butchki, and Waynesburg Central’s Rhea Kijowski, all of whom have over 100 career goals.
The Beth-Center and Laurel Highlands girls open playoff action with a doubleheader at Trinity Thursday night in preliminary round matches. The Lady Bulldogs (8-9-0) play Ellis School (5-9-2) in a Class A play-in game at 6 p.m., while the Fillies (7-10-0) play host Trinity (7-7-1) at 8 p.m.
The first round of the playoffs begins on Monday.
Waynesburg (10-6-0) plays Freeport (14-4-0) at Plum, Mount Pleasant (10-6-0) faces Burrell (16-0-0) at Kiski Area, and Yough (14-1-1) plays Highlands (5-9-0) at Penn-Trafford. All the Class AA matches begin at 6 p.m.
Belle Vernon (14-3-0) hosts its Class AAA first-round match against Ambridge (10-5-1) at 8 p.m. Ringgold (8-9-0) travels to Kiski Area (12-4-0) and Elizabeth Forward (8-7-0) plays at Hampton (11-5-0). Both matches are at 8 p.m.
Connellsville (12-4-0) travels to Butler (11-4-1) in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs at 8 p.m.