I was at the Peters Township girls PIAA Class AAA first round match Tuesday against DuBois and received what I thought was a funny quote from Lauren Ray.
After Ray said the team has a "lot of good finishers," I said she was one of them.
She responded by saying, "I wouldn't consider myself one of those."
I don't know if she was simply being modest or what, but here's why it was funny: she had just scored four goals - including a first-half hat trick - in a state playoff game against a district champion. And they were scored in various ways. She headed in a cross from Ali Forbrich, converted a penalty kick by placing the shot just past the goalkeeper's fingertips, shot with enough force from 18 yards that even though the goalie got both hands to the shot it still went in, and banged in a rebound off a Shelli Spamer free kick. She scored her hat trick in a span of five minutes.
That's what I call a finisher.
Ray is a senior defender, but coach Pat Vereb plays her at forward when it's necessary. If memory serves correctly, she started at forward for the Indians' first two playoff games and again Tuesday. Against Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL final, she started at defender and was later moved up to forward (she scored then too). I didn't see their semifinal game so I don't know where she started, but in a 1-0 overtime game, she had to have seen time at forward.
"She's a very very special athlete," Vereb said. "We situationally use her as needed based on the opponent and the score. She's very hungry in front of the net, very busy, very determined. She scores a lot of blue-collar goals."
Ray may not think of herself as a goal scorer, but her coach certainly does.