Casey Gallaher’s soccer career has had one constant through all the years she’s played: Her mother, Donna Gallaher, has served as her coach.
In the younger Gallaher’s final high school game – with her mother on the sideline – the Forest Hills standout netted the go-ahead goal to give the North All-Stars a 2-1 victory over the South in Sunday’s Santa Fund Soccer Classic at Trojan Stadium.
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Casey Gallaher, who will play at St. Francis, was grateful for one last chance to play alongside her Rangers teammates and for her mother after capturing the program’s first District 6 Class AA championship.
“It was a great feeling because I will never be playing with them again and it was a good feeling to go out on a win,” Casey Gallaher said. “(Donna Gallaher) has been my coach my whole life and I’m just happy that she was chosen to coach me one last time.”
The feeling was also bittersweet for Donna Gallaher, who has guided Forest Hills to two consecutive trips to the PIAA Class AA tournament.
“I coached a lot of these girls in travel and high school and knowing that it’s done? It is bittersweet,” Donna Gallaher said. “I just love watching them play. I thought both teams played very well. Some of them had played it like they had been together for a while.”
Casey Gallaher, named Player of the Match and presented with a game ball following the victory, also assisted on the North’s first goal, poked in by Greater Johnstown’s Sierra Steele in the 17th minute.
The South All-Stars replied in the 26th minute as Berlin Brothersvalley’s Jorden Eutsey controlled the ball before arcing a shot past North goalkeeper Alyssa Wills.
“I was pretty much taking up the side,” Eutsey said. “I was actually planning on it being a cross and it hit off my foot and when I looked up, it was in the back of the net.”
Ligonier Valley’s Maddy Grimm nearly gave the South the advantage early in the second half when a save by Wills on an Allyson Lonas shot caromed to Grimm, who blasted the ball low off the left post.
After Gallaher’s go-ahead goal came in the 51st minute, South keeper Marah Riley held off further pressure from the North while Wills sent away chances from the scrambling South attack.
The North squad was comprised of standouts from Bishop McCort, Cambria Heights, Central Cambria, Forest Hills, Greater Johnstown, Richland and Westmont Hilltop. Donna Gallaher was joined on the sidelines by Bishop McCort coach Rebekah Walter and Greater Johnstown’s Alyssa Arcurio.
All-stars from Bedford, Berlin Brothersvalley, Conemaugh Township, Johnstown Christian, Ligonier Valley, Meyersdale, North Star, Rockwood, Somerset and Windber filled the roster for the South. Conemaugh Township’s Fred Galiote, Meyersdale’s Kayla Wedge and Susie Brenam of Rockwood handled coaching duties for the South.
The match presented the opportunity for rivals to play alongside each other or reunite teammates from travel squads.
“It was very nice,” Casey Gallaher said. “Usually you’re like rivals, so you don’t hate each other but you don’t like each other. Then when you get to know the person, it’s really different because they’re all really nice and you can be really good friends.”
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