A Plum regular-season sweep of its cross-river rival?
A measure of revenge for Fox Chapel after a tough double-overtime loss to the Mustangs three weeks ago?
The Section 3-4A boys soccer rivals were hoping for big things when they met Thursday at Fox Chapel. Eighty minutes of intense back-and-forth play told the story.
It turned out to be a happy ending for Plum as it topped Fox Chapel, 2-1.
“That was a big win for us, and it gave us more confidence going into a big game with Central (Catholic),” said Plum senior forward Callan Scharba, who netted the winner with 13 minutes, 50 seconds left in regulation.
“We knew this game was going to be tough, like a lot of the others are in the section.”
Plum improved its section record to 8-1 and kept pace atop the standings with Central Catholic. The Vikings won their sixth in a row and reached 7-0-1 in section with their 1-0 triumph over Allderdice on Thursday evening.
Plum and Central Catholic will meet Tuesday evening in a rematch of a 2-1 Vikings victory Sept. 14.
The Dragons fell to 5-3-1, one point ahead of Fox Chapel for third in the section. The Foxes maintained their three-point lead over Brashear, with a game in hand, for the final WPIAL playoff spot from the section.
“I was happy with the way the guys played tonight because we had been struggling a little bit,” Fox Chapel coach Erik Ingram said.
“We had been getting slow starts and playing better the final 40 minutes. Tonight was a good start and a good 80 minutes against a very good team.”
Plum took both section games from Fox Chapel for the first time since 2004.
“I had brought that up to the guys earlier, and (the season sweep) was something they really wanted,” said Plum coach Anthony Russo, who was a freshman on that 2004 Plum team.
From 2005 through last season, the Mustangs had scored a victory and forged a tie against the Foxes in the same season three times. Fox Chapel held a 16-4-4 advantage in the series during that stretch.
“It’s a very good, competitive atmosphere when we play,” Russo said. “No matter how each other’s seasons are going, it’s a pretty even game. It’s a rivalry we all take seriously and a rivalry we all enjoy.”
All three goals Thursday came within a 40-second span in the second half.
Plum came out in the second half and had the better of the offensive play. It fired four shots, including two strong chances off corner kicks, in the first 15 minutes of the half, but the Foxes turned away all threats.
Fox Chapel’s first shot of the second half came at 17:29 off the foot of Sam Zaltman. The game’s first goal came exactly three minutes later as Zane Ingram scored unassisted to give the Foxes a 1-0 lead.
The advantage didn’t last long as Plum got the equalizer by Kole Lisovich 13 seconds later on a penalty shot after the Foxes were whistled for a foul in the box.
Scharba’s difference maker came 26 seconds after the Lisovich PK.
Fox Chapel keeper Jacob Dunn came out about 25 yards to clear a ball, but the clear came right to the feet of Lisovich, who pushed it to Scharba.
Scharba quickly booted the ball past Dunn and into the open net.
“Plum got scored on, and they came storming back and gave us a little more than we could handle,” coach Ingram said. “After they scored their second goal, we kept battling and attacking. We’re going to put this one behind us and go out next Tuesday (against Brashear) and try to get that one.”
Plum finished with 14 shots to eight for Fox Chapel.