HERSHEY, Pa. -- For a brief moment late in the PIAA Class AA girls soccer championship Saturday, Moon junior midfielder Amanda Kachaylo was in shock. Emphasis on the word brief.
With her team holding a one-goal lead against Archbishop Wood, Kachaylo backed into the goalie box to help against a Archbishop Wood attack. Her presence proved timely. A low shot by Wood's Laura Romano spun off the hands of Moon keeper Nicole Falcione and made a beeline for the post to Falcione's left.
Kachaylo, stunned to see the ball heading toward the goal, suddenly sprang toward the spinning ball and lunged with her legs, knocking the ball past the post and the foot of an oncoming Wood player.
That slide saved Moon's first PIAA girls soccer championship and the eventual 1-0 victory against Wood (18-3-2), the District 12 champion.
"Amanda saved the game for us," Moon coach Bill Pfeifer said. "She wouldn't give up that ball. She doesn't give up on any ball."
Kachaylo acknowledged her uncertainty about reaching the shot, which came with 21:29 left in the game.
"I saw Nicole hit it with her hands, then spin away," Kachaylo said. "It was going in, and I just wasn't sure I could reach it."
But reach it she did, and the Tigers (24-2) maintained control down the stretch to win the PIAA title that eluded them in 2004 and '06 when they finished second in Class AAA.
"I just kept screaming at Amanda, saying, 'Don't stop. Get it. Get it,' " Falcione said. "It was definitely going in, but she came out of nowhere to save it."
Despite controlling most of the first 60 minutes, Moon only cashed in on one first-half charge. Kachaylo played a major role in that, too.
A little less than 25 minutes into the first half, Moon was working the right side when Kachaylo tapped down a ball near the 20. She saw teammate Antonia Grese streaking toward the goal and laid a perfect low pass on Grese's right foot.
Grese never broke stride and tapped the ball past goalie Deanna Messner in one motion for the score at the 24:44 mark.
"We practice that run all of the time," Kachaylo said. "Antonia was in great position, so all I had to do was give her a good pass."
It wasn't good. It was perfect.