St. Marys advances in Elk County Soccer Tournament

St. Marys used two second-half goals to take a 2-0 victory over Ridgway in the semifinals of the Elk County Soccer Tournament Friday afternoon. "At no moment during that game did we have it easy," St. Marys coach Russ Micale said. "It was hard-fought the whole way through. After we scored, something sparked that momentum to get us going. After we put that one in, it seemed like everybody fed off that. We were able to get another one in, too, right after that." Ridgway played St. Marys tough in the first half, and held the match scoreless after 40 minutes. Weston Challingsworth had some good chances in the first half, but was stopped on each occasion.Challingsworth scored with 17:41 left in the second half as he made a long run down the left side and struck a shot into the right side of the net to make the lead 1-0. Just under a minute later, Challingsworth struck a header off a pass and buried it into the center of the net to give St. Marys a 2-0 lead. "I think Matt Hoffman crossed the ball to him, good effort by him," Micale said. "He moved up from defense. He just played a solid, all-around game. He definitely gave 100 percent."Early in the second half, Challingsworth broke in past the Ridgway defense but could not get a good shot off as Ridgway defender Greg Paige was able to disrupt Challingsworth's timing and take the shot wide. Though St. Marys had most of the possession, Ridgway was able to get a corner kick with 25 minutes left in the second half but could not get a shot on goal. Micale said Ridgway provided enough pressure to concern the Dutch. "They had enough. They were definitely tested and they did a good job handling that pressure," Micale said. Ridgway will now play Johnsonburg at 10 a.m. in the consolation game. St. Marys takes on Elk County Catholic at noon in the championship game. Both games will be at Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School in Ridgway. "It's always tough," Micale said. "Every year since I can remember, the finals are one or two goals. It's tough and hard-fought all the way around."