Freedom High School Girls Soccer Team becomes first team in school history to make the PIAA state championship

Freedom+Middle+School+students+cheer+on+the+Girls+Soccer+team+as+they+leave+for+the+state+championship+game+in+Hershey%2C+Pa+on+Friday%2C+Nov.+16.
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Freedom High School Girls Soccer Team becomes first team in school history to make the PIAA state championship

Freedom Middle School students cheer on the Girls Soccer team as they leave for the state championship game in Hershey, Pa on Friday, Nov. 16.

Freedom Middle School students cheer on the Girls Soccer team as they leave for the state championship game in Hershey, Pa on Friday, Nov. 16.

Mrs. Miller

Freedom Middle School students cheer on the Girls Soccer team as they leave for the state championship game in Hershey, Pa on Friday, Nov. 16.

Mrs. Miller

Mrs. Miller

Freedom Middle School students cheer on the Girls Soccer team as they leave for the state championship game in Hershey, Pa on Friday, Nov. 16.

Dylan Scheel, Website Editor

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The 2018 season for the Freedom Area High School Girls Soccer team was one to remember. The team was the first ever Freedom High School athletic team to advance to the PIAA State Championship in any sport. The team ended up losing in the State Championship 3-2 in overtime to Southern Columbia on Friday, Nov. 16. After a 25 game season, the Freedom Area High School Girls Soccer team ended the year with a total record of 23-2, WPIAL Champions, PIAA State Champion runner-ups, and the only Freedom Area High School athletic team to ever make a PIAA State Championship.

It all started at the beginning of the year for the team. At the beginning of the season, due to injuries, the girls were going around asking people at lunch just to put a jersey on that night, so the team could field 11 players. The most astonishing part of the year was that during the regular season the players who were not injured and able to play, played almost the whole game without a single break, if not the whole game. This meant that for most of the season, the team had very few players and had to play an 80 minute, 11 on 11 game with only 11 or 12 players. Because of this, the team was used to playing every minute of every game. This allowed the team, during the state playoffs, that the only time they had to substitute players was when they were dominating the other team and wanted to give the bench players a chance to play. This helped the team majorly, because when the girls did have a tough opponent in the playoffs, the team was able to keep all the starters in the game when the opposing team had to give their starters a break, giving them the opportunity to make a big push for a goal while the other team had their younger and less experienced players in.

Even though the team had faced multiple amounts of adversity in the regular season, the girls still ended the regular season with a 16-1 record and won their section. Their only loss of the regular season came to Quaker Valley in a 3-2 loss in overtime. The girl’s largest victory of the regular season was a 18-0 win against Neshannock.  The team was led by freshman Jayden Sharpless with her WPIAL-leading 51 goals in the regular season. Going into the playoffs, Freedom High School was the number one seed. During the playoffs, the team won each game, blowing out teams left and right and winning the WPIAL championship in an 8-2 game against Bentworth High School at Highmark Stadium. In the state playoffs, the girls remained undefeated and continued their dominance and advanced to the PIAA State Championship game in Hershey, Pa.

“It was a fantastic season, and going from asking people to play for our team during lunch to making history with the team as the only Freedom team to ever make a PIAA state championship game was an unbelievable feeling.” said sophomore Jessica Scheel about the season.

The team played Southern Columbia in the state championship, losing in overtime with a score of 3-2. This was the first time any Freedom Area High School athletic team had ever made the PIAA State Championship. Also, if the team would have won that game, they would have been the first 1A public school to ever win the 1A PIAA State Championship. In the championship game, Freedom struck first, with a goal from Jayden Sharpless, but eventually came up short in overtime 3-2. Even though the team may have lost, being state runner-ups is an accomplishment to be proud of.  

“There are over 6,000 high school soccer players in section 1A of the PIAA that sat at home during your game; you should be honored that you aren’t one of them.” coach Colin Williams told his team after the loss.