Somerset Girls Soccer 19

Maddie McLaughlin netted the only goal, and Somerset’s “brick wall” defense made the margin stand up against Lewistown on Thursday.

The host Golden Eagles defeated the Panthers 1-0 in the District 6 Class AAA girls soccer playoffs.

“I’m just glad we pulled out a victory,” Somerset coach Renee Ross said. “The girls fought hard from the beginning to the end.

“That direct kick from Maddie was just a perfect shot right over the goalie’s hands. Perfect.”

Third-seeded Somerset (15-2) will play second-seeded Central Mountain in Monday’s 6-AAA semifinals. No. 6 Lewistown closed a 9-6-4 season.

“We had eight juniors last year who are eight seniors this year,” said Lewistown coach John Stiver, whose Panthers fell 3-0 to Somerset in last year’s playoffs. “We thought we could play with them, and obviously we could. We just couldn’t find the back of the net, and they did.

“We held Central Mountain to a 0-0 tie and they’re the No. 2 seed,” Stiver said of a previous game. “They’ve got three girls that can just bury the ball. We knew we could play with just about anybody if we had our ‘A’ game. Sometimes our ‘A’ team wouldn’t show up and we’d struggle. (Thursday) I thought our ‘A’ team showed up. We just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

McLaughlin found the net with 31:45 remaining in the second half. The senior midfielder scored on a direct kick.

“It’s just pretty poor when they let so much go then, (the official) makes a call at the top of the box and that decides the game,” Stiver said. “That’s not right.”

Somerset’s Ross felt the game was officiated evenly.

“The refs are going to call whatever they’re going to call,” Ross said. “We had some calls go against us too. Whatever it is, it is.”

Somerset outshot Lewistown 16-7. Lewistown keeper Emma Hepler had 15 saves.

“She’s got some talent,” Stiver said.

Somerset’s Brandi Tipton stopped six shots on goal for the shutout.

“Our goalkeeper is awesome all the time,” Ross said of senior Brandi Tipton. “She’s always on her toes. She’s always ready.”

The defenders in front of Tipton had a huge role in the shutout.

“Brick wall defense,” Ross said. “All of my defense form a brick wall back there, every single one of them, Emily Stutzman, Jess Crawford, Cecelia Olsen and Faith Lambert.”

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