November 28, 2022

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Tuesday, November 8, 2022 | 9:29 p.m


JOHNSTOWN — Maddie Barrick could see the ball coming towards her.

She could see the ball going into the net.

And she got to watch her team celebrate their first-ever state playoff win.

About a month ago, the Mt Pleasant second midfielder could barely see.

She was hit in the right eye by a ball during a game against Ligonier Valley and briefly lost her sight.

On Monday night, however, “Goggles” Barrick scored their first goal since that game to lead the Vikings to a 2-0 win over Bedford in a PIAA Class 2A first-round game at Richland High School’s Herlinger Field.

“I wanted the ball and as soon as it hit me I couldn’t see anything,” said Barrick, who was diagnosed with a contused retina. “I didn’t say anything and just kept playing. They gave me these glasses to wear. I didn’t want see-through ones, so they’re like sunglasses. I’ve gotten used to them.”

Suddenly, Mt. Pleasant has a new goal in mind: a state title.

WPIAL runner-up Mt. Pleasant (20-2) is advancing to play Fort LeBoeuf (15-1-2) in Saturday’s quarterfinals at a time and place to be determined.

“It’s so surreal to be a part of this win,” Barrick said.

Freshman Morgan Gesinski also had a goal on a penalty kick for Mt Pleasant, who went 12-4 through Bedford and made his 16th shutout of the season.

“It was a back-and-forth for a while,” Mt. Pleasant coach Rich Garland said of Barrick’s injury. “We’re glad she’s okay.”

Garland was just as surprised as Barrick to see the second-year student wearing the number 71 – a big fan of Evgeni Malkin – opening the scoring.

After several scoring chances were wasted in the first 40 minutes, Barrick took a cross from sophomore Rylin Bugosh and scored just after half-time – in the 41-4).

“We’ve got 18 point girls this season,” Garland said. “But yeah, I was surprised Maddie scored there.”

Bugosh hit the bar and had two more tight calls in the first 40 minutes as Mt Pleasant dominated possession. But she facilitated the first goal to break the tension and allow Mt. Pleasant to adjust to the state playoff environment.

“Bedford are a good team,” Garland said. “Their central defenders are really quick. We had to get them to move more from side to side.”

Bedford, the seven-time defending champion for his district, has lost three of four first-round matches at the state tournament.

“The first goal was a glitch on our part,” said Bisons coach Jeff Thomas. “There wasn’t a lot of defence. We could have done better. Our girls worked really hard and didn’t give up. We felt a lot better with the 1-0. We felt we had a chance.”

But a 2-0 cushion put Mt. Pleasant in the driver’s seat. Gesinski was fouled at the front of the box and quickly buried the PK Upper 90 with 11:23 remaining.

“I challenged them at halftime,” Garland said. “It wasn’t a passion to find our opportunities. We had to go and take it. Our girls reacted.”

The win was a nice gift for newcomer defender Raygan Mizikar, who celebrated her birthday on Monday.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a contributor to the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill via email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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