Oct. 28—ACCIDENT — In a game of few chances, Allegany made the most of theirs, and it landed them in another region championship game.
Northern star Emma Hostetler found the equalizer with 9:51 to play, but the Campers responded to the letdown. Avery Miller sent a high bouncing ball into the box, and Ella Shade out jumped the Huskies' keeper and headed it into the net for the winning goal with less than five minutes to play.
It wasn't quite how Allegany drew it up, but in the decisive moments of a single-elimination game, the Campers did just enough to advance.
And for the third year in a row, the third-seeded Allegany Campers ended the second-seeded Northern Huskies' season in the Class 1A West Region I playoffs, downing the hosts 2-1 in the semifinals at Half-Mile High Stadium on Friday.
"We preached all year that we need to follow up those shots. We need to finish and not give up," first-year Allegany head coach Mat Schartiger said. "We have to be on top of it, and as you saw tonight, Ella Shade followed up on that.
"Gregg (Hostetler) runs a great program up here, hats off to him. We split the wins (against Northern), we split the losses. We're so evenly matched up with this team."
Allegany and Northern have developed into one of the most competitive girls soccer rivalries in the area, as the two squads have split nine games between one or the other over the past three years. Each team has won three times and there have been three ties.
All three Allegany (10-4-1) wins over that span, however, have come in the playoffs, and the contest Friday followed the trend.
Northern finishes with an 11-3-1 record.
"We'll get over that hump," coach Hostetler said. "I give Mat a lot of credit. They lost a lot of people last year, and he got his team ready to play.
"We gave up a couple of goals that probably shouldn't have happened, but they capitalized and I give them credit. They hustled."
The deciding goal with 4:01 to play didn't look like much at first. Miller lofted a high ball into the box to a marked Shade, but the ball hit off the artificial turf surface and took a high bounce. The strange ball also pulled the Northern keeper off her line.
Shade had the height advantage on the header, and Northern never threatened again. Shade also nearly scored 15 minutes prior when her putback on a Miller shot clipped off the post.
Allegany found its first goal with 27:01 remaining in the first half when Miller found the back of the net, assisted by Shade.
The Campers led the next 57 minutes and 10 seconds until Northern found an equalizer. Despite the letdown, Allegany didn't hang their heads.
"You could tell the girls were let down, but we got the message out to some of the older girls to pick their heads up, let's finish this," Schartiger said.
Northern leveled the score off a set piece with 9:51 to play. A hand ball afforded the Huskies a free kick from 20 yards out, and Kaylee Bowser tried to send a low cross in front of the goal, but it clipped the wall.
Emma Hostetler was there on the weak side for the putback.
Just as Allegany showed resolved answering late, Northern displayed impressive fight not giving up.
"I've been coaching a lot of these kids since third or fourth grade, and I can tell you that's just who they are," coach Hostetler said. "It doesn't matter win, lose, what's happening in the game, they're always going to give me 100%.
"I thought they played with a lot of class and a lot of heart, and as a coach, that's all I could ask for."
Allegany finished with an 11-6 edge in shots on goal and committed three more fouls, 6-3. Northern had the bulk of the corner kicks, 3-1.
Campers' keeper Shylah Taylor made five stops. Northern's Ada White made nine saves.
Allegany advances to the region championship game where it'll play the winner of Saturday's game between Mountain Ridge (13-1) and Southern (7-7-1) on Tuesday. Alco won the region over the Miners last season.
"We've been hunting for that all year," Schartiger said. "We've wanted to get back up there to play for a region. We knew it would probably be us and Ridge, and we're looking forward to it."
Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.