Sydney Snyder

Mountain Ridge’s Sydney Snyder (second from right) chases after the ball against Allegany on Tuesday night at Miner Stadium in the Class 1A West Region 1 final. Snyder finished with two goals and an assist in the Miners’ 3-0 win.

FROSTBURG — Mountain Ridge had near-perfect performances on both ends of the field, as Sydney Snyder provided the offense and was backed up by a shutdown defense and the No. 1 Miners shut out No. 3 Allegany, 3-0, on Tuesday night at Miner Stadium in the Class 1A West Region 1 title game.

Snyder opened the scoring at 29:30 in the first half with an unassisted tally before scoring again unassisted with 13:44 to play after halftime.

With less than nine minutes remaining, Snyder beat a pair of Allegany defenders and took the ball to the byline before sliding across to the mouth of the goal, where Meredith Munday ran on to the pass and scored to make it 3-0.

“They kept plugging away,” said Mountain Ridge head coach Todd Snyder. “We kind of went through a little lull there after we scored the first goal. I thought we outplayed them early on. Then we were kinda back on our heels a little bit. We were kind of on that bend-but-don’t-break mode. We kind of gave Allegany some opportunities, but nothing really deep. I didn’t think they had any clear scoring opportunities, which that’s typically how our defense plays. But they kind of controlled the middle of the field. I wouldn’t say they possessed the ball, passed the ball really well, but they seemed to win a lot of the balls in the midfield.

“We kind of got out of our game. It continued into the second half. We were a little worried, we went to our 4-4-2. We were worried in our 3-4-3 that things weren’t going to work out. We were flat so we wanted to shore it up on that backside a little more. I knew that Syd was going to be able to get open up top. If you just give her space, she’s going to get open, and I’ve got enough running mates with her that can run into space.”

The win sends the Miners (13-2-1) to the state quarterfinals for the second season in a row, while Allegany’s season ends at 9-5-2.

“Resiliency, never quit, never look over at the scoreboard,” Allegany head coach Adam Sterne said. “I told them to never look at the scoreboard and to continue to play the game, and we played the game the entire time. I was really proud of those girls for going out and doing it for the team. It’s a team effort. Just a couple little mistakes. The one early and then the one in the second half on balls they know need to get cleared out. But we told them we do make mistakes, and they capitalized on just the few mistakes we made. I thought we kept our turnovers down in this game more than any other game. But the few that they created, they just put it in the net and that was the big difference. Hats off to them.”

Sydney Snyder played with her back to goal for much of the game, but her hold-up play was effective no matter how many players were marking her, and it allowed the Miners to smoothly transition from defense to attack.

“She does a really good job with that,” Todd Snyder said of Sydney Snyder. “For only being a sophomore, she’s really experienced. She’s played a lot of soccer in life. She’s strong on the lower half. There’s not many girls in the area, I know they try to mark her all the time, and usually they have one in front of her and one in behind her. And she usually handles that pretty well, I think. She’s able to hold the girls off the ball quite well and it allows her attack to come. She typically finds the girls making those outside runs.”

“Take nothing away from Mountain Ridge,” Sterne said. “They’re a good team with a lot of skilled players, a lot of different angles they can shoot and score from. So it’s tough to set a formation. We marked Sydney all year, but yet she still finds a way to break away and score. She’s a special kid. I’m proud to say that I got a chance to coach against her.

“Hats off to Mountain Ridge and everything that they did tonight, but take nothing away from our girls because I think they played with their hearts out. I thought that we did control a portion of the game. … We got the ball in deep early, really thought we had chances to score but just couldn’t get it on frame. A couple opportunities and they didn’t go our way, but that’s just part of soccer.”

The Miners led in shot attempts (8-5) and shots on goal (6-1), while Allegany had a 3-2 edge in corner kicks. Shylah Taylor had three saves in goal for Allegany, while Bayleigh Lamberson stopped one in a shutout performance.

“The defense did an awesome job back there,” said Todd Snyder. “Paige Pirolozzi, Lexi Simpson, Allysen Miller in the first half, and Emma Komatz when we went to the 4-4-2. I thought they did a knockdown job for us.”

Although the Campers played a little helter-skelter in the opening 10 minutes, they seemed to settle down following Snyder’s goal.

“I really think that after they scored the first goal, we settled down,” Sterne said. “We understood what we had to do and where we made our mistakes. The girls recognized it at halftime. And I really think they played very well in the second half. They played better on our defensive side, they cleared a lot more balls out that we were miskicking. But again, one corner kick, and then it went out for a second, that ball just kind of sat there and spun. We had three close and nobody could get a foot on it, and Sydney just came through. And Shylah, take nothing away from her, she tried. She came out like she’s supposed to.”

One of the bright spots for Allegany was the play of Avery Miller, who despite being a freshman gave the Miner defense fits throughout the night.

“I really think she’s like an unsung hero on our team because a lot of people look at her that she’s a freshman, and you have to worry about Jordan (Chaney), the senior,” Sterne said. “But Avery has stepped up all year long. She has amazed me how she’s evolved throughout the year. She just doesn’t quit. She doesn’t get knocked down. She might have two fouls called against her all year. She stays on her feet. She gets fouled and she just keeps playing. Her play has been unbelievable, and it showed again tonight. Those long ball kicks tonight, she was able to run down and get crosses, that’s all we could ask for is opportunity.”

“Avery, she’s fast,” Todd Snyder added. “Yeah, she’s a freshman and still learning the game, but she’s fast. If she’s able to get a touch and run on, anything can happen. Up until the BW game, she scored two of the three goals that we had allowed in the area. We knew Allegany would want to try to use that and we wanted to try to limit that. Paige, she did a really good job of keeping her in position, and then Lexi and Allysen on the outside, they’ve been put up to the task.”

Mountain Ridge’s next opponent is to be determined, and it’s possible the Miners will get an automatic bid to the state semifinals. Since there were no teams in North Region 2, the top overall seed of the eight remaining teams gets an automatic bid to the state semis. If the Miners are seeded 2-4, they will host a state quarterfinal matchup on Friday or Saturday.

“I hope we keep bringing it and see what it’s like,” said Todd Snyder. “I’m sure the style of play will probably be a little different down state. We don’t know who we’re going to get. Right now it looks like we’ll probably be a 1- or a 2-seed in the state. We’ll have to wait and see. … We’ll just have to keep ‘er going. We just got to keep rolling and go from there.”

Kyle Bennett is a sports reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @KyleBennettCTN.

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