NA dances through the rain for 5-1 win at Plum

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On a rain-soaked evening at Plum High School, the North Allegheny Tigers won their first playoff game since 2011 with a 5-1 triumph over the homestanding Mustangs. North Allegheny’s most recent playoff victory prior to Monday night was a 3-1 win against McDowell in the PIAA first round on Nov. 8, 2011. For the Mustangs, who were making their sixth consecutive playoff appearance, it was the second straight year they were eliminated in the WPIAL first round.

The Tigers and Mustangs played amidst a steady rainstorm and the soggy turf and slick soccer ball played a role on the night’s events. North Allegheny’s first goal of the night came on a low, line-drive shot by sophomore Emma Bundy that squirted through Plum goalie Alyson Bryson for a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. Bryson’s inability to handle the wet soccer ball would be a recurring theme.

North Allegheny struck again when Ava Ruppersperger uncorked a left-footed shot that was initially saved by Bryson but slipped through her grasp. Bundy was there to bury the rebound and increase the Tigers lead to 2-0 with 31:29 to play in the first half.

Plum was heavily outplayed in the first half, but almost cut the deficit in half with 15:30 on the clock. Senior standout Jordan Huemme, who was bottled up for most of the night, was able to get free from about 20 yards out and clanged a shot off the right post, keeping the score at 2-0, Tigers. The scoring chance for Huemme was Plum’s best scoring opportunity in the half.

Coming out of halftime, the Tigers wasted little time adding on to their lead as Kayley Chomyn lobbed a high-arching ball into the box and Alex Adams punched a shot into the net from point-blank range for a 3-0 lead just 33 seconds into the half.

Plum’s Jasmyn Floyd gave the Mustangs a breath life when she scored on a rain-aided shot to trim the score to 3-1 with 33:36 left to play. The Tigers put the game out of reach on goals by Morgan McConnell and Ruppersberger to bring the score to its eventual final, 5-1. North Allegheny outshot Plum, 15-3.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 11-6-1 overall and will advance to the WPIAL quarterfinals to face section rival and top-seed Pine-Richland on Thursday at Hampton at 8 p.m.