T-D HS Soccer

Hughes nets two in MVP day in Santa Fund Classic

By: Shawn Curtis

It wasn’t hard to find Westmont Hilltop’s Shyleigh Hughes on the field during the girls’ game of the Santa Fund Soccer Classic at Greater Johnstown High School.
The gifted goal-scorer, who netted 107 goals as a Hilltopper, wore her hair in a mohawk style with coloring to celebrate the holiday theme of the matches at Trojan Stadium.
It wasn’t hard to find Hughes on the scoresheet either. Her two goals helped the North All-Stars to a 3-0 win over the South on Saturday.
Those two goals and a front somersault during the game’s introduction endeared her to fans and earned her MVP honors for the match.
“It was honor to play in this,” Hughes said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to play with anyone else. I was happy to meet new people, play with new people that I played against for the past four years knowing that on the field that nobody really likes each other, but whenever you get together they’re all actually really nice people.” 
Both goals saw Hughes deposit shots to the top-left of the net, the first coming in the 18th minute. Her second tally came off a long run with the ball before she pushed it past goalkeeper Sam Carmean in the 54th minute.
“It was the most open on that side with (Carmean) cheating to the opposite corner,” Hughes said. “So that’s the only spot where I had the chance of scoring.” 
The North squad – consisting of players from Bishop Carroll, Bishop McCort, Cambria County Christian, Central Cambria, Forest Hills, Greater Johnstown, Richland and Westmont Hilltop – also received a goal from Westmont Hilltop’s Daphne Valencia in the 80th minute to tie a bow on a final high school coaching victory for Forest Hills’ Donna Gallaher.
“This is my third year coaching the Santa Fund,” Gallaher said. “It’s just a great event. It’s a great event for the purpose behind it and it’s a great event for the girls. Just their smiling faces ... The pressure is just off of them and they’re having a great time out there. The way they connect with each other, it’s special.” 
Valencia’s marker was set up by a feed from Forest Hills’ Caitlyn Gallaher into the penalty area.
The South squad was made of all-stars from programs at Bedford, Berlin Brothersvalley, Conemaugh Township, Johnstown Christian, North Star, Rockwood, Somerset and Windber.
Proceeds from the match benefitted The Tribune-Democrat’s Santa Fund, a program which helps distribute Christmas gifts to needy children in the region.