Three L-L League teams take the pitch tonight as the PIAA State Girls soccer playoffs begin play.
The trio of recently crowned District Three champions — Hempfield in Class 4A, Manheim Central in 3A and Elco in 2A — look to add to their bounty over the next two weeks, their quests concluding in a return to Hersheypark Stadium next Friday and Saturday.
Hempfield stays close to home, hosting Unionville at Warwick.
Likewise, Manheim and Elco won’t travel far, teaming up in a doubleheader at Cedar Crest.
Here’s a look at their first round matchups.
Unionville vs. Hempfield, 6 p.m. at Warwick: The Indians (16-6) placed sixth in the District One tournament, falling to Boyertown 1-0 — on a penalty kick — in the quarterfinals and to Council Rock South 3-1 in the seeding game.
They are led by junior forward Sara Darlington, a Pitt recruit, Hayden Wilson and Alex Wilson.
In their first states appearance since girls soccer was consolidated in the fall, the Black Knights (16-4-1) enter on a 14-1-1 run, the lone loss to Cocalico, on PKs, in the L-L quarterfinals.
Gabi Hollinger (10 goals, 5 assists), Jess Weinholdt (9, 0) and Anika Haski (8, 2) have carried the scoring load.
Freshman Emileigh Antesberger has grown into the starting role at keeper with 10 shutouts and a 0.85 goals against average.
Plum vs. Manheim Central, 5 p.m. at Cedar Crest: The Mustangs (17-2-1) saw their 15-game win streak snapped in the WPIAL (District 7) championship, with a 4-0 loss to Moon.
Kaitlyn Killinger (18 goals, 9 assists) paces the Plum attack, backed by Gina Proviano (14 goals), Marissa Liberto (12 goals) and Jamie Seneca (10 goals). Emily Kirkpatrick has 11 assists.
Makenna Copley (18 goals, 9 assists), Isabella Wendler (13, 8) and Hanna Adair (9, 8) are formidable offensive assets for the Barons.
One can’t overlook Kaylee Neff (4,3), Rachel Nolt (4, 0), Summer Bates (3,1), Tylee Stauffer (2, 3) and Tori Fahnestock (2, 4). Keeper Mia Reed has a 0.773 goals against average with 11 shutouts.
Lewisburg vs. Elco, 7 p.m. at Cedar Crest: Of the three matches involving local sides, this is the most intriguing..
In 2018, fresh off their district championship, the unbeaten Raiders entered states with a match against a Lewisburg team that came in 10-8-3. Ironically also at Cedar Crest.
The Green Dragons held Elco scoreless through 110 minutes, then pulled the upset in PKs, 4-2, riding that upset victory all the way to the state finals before finishing second.
Five seniors graduated from that team but the Dragons (16-5-1), whose 13-0-1 run was stopped in a District 4 finals loss to Central Columbia, return Ella Reish (13 goals, 3 assists) — whose made PK iced the upset — Taryn Beers (7, 1) and Sophia Kilbride (6, 4). Lauren Gross (0.400 GAA, 7 shutouts) returns between the posts.
With the graduation of All-State forward Ryelle Shuey, now playing at Lehigh, Tanisha Grewal (17 goals, 7 assists), Katelyn Rueppel (14, 7) and Natalie Swingholm (10, 13) have picked up the scoring slack.
They’re backed by Cassie Johnson (6, 9) and Desiree Balthaser (6, 3). Keeper Maddie Bailey’s 9 shutouts have dropped her GAA to 0.952.