WPIAL Boys Soccer Semifinals Saturday Recaps
By: Don Rebel
Sunday, October 29, 2017 | 2:47 AM
When it rains it pours. And while the day was gloomy with rain and a windy chill, it was a day at the beach for the four top-seeds along with four others who were victorious in their Final Four match Saturday to earn a spot in the district finals at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh. Here are recaps from the eight Semifinals Boys Soccer matches heard only here on the Trib Live High School Sports Network.
A special thanks to Jonathan Spina, Justin McCauley, Sean Meyers, Kevin Zielmanski, Dave Floyd and Greg Kuntz for their help on these recaps.
WPIAL CLASS 4-A Semifinals:
Peters Township Indians 4 – Pine-Richland Rams 1
The top-seeded and unbeaten Peters Township Indians easily defeated the thirteenth-seeded Pine-Richland Rams 4-1 in the Boys 4A soccer semifinal at West Allegheny High School on Saturday afternoon. On a rainy day where ball possession was difficult to maintain, both offenses struggled for the first fifteen minutes of the first half. Peters got their offense started on a set piece in the 17th minute when Junior Midfielder Brian Bruzdewicz curled a long ball into the box and Senior Midfielder Luke Kelly elevated above everyone near the left side of the net and headed home the first goal of the match. Kelly was among a bunch of players in the 6-yard box but he jumped high enough to create some separation for himself and buried the ball high into the net. Peters got their second goal of the match when Senior Midfielder Mitchell Mindach played a long ball into the box that got knock around at the feet of many players until Senior Midfielder Bryce Gabelhart corralled the loose ball and slammed home the goal. Peters Township took the 2-0 lead into halftime. In the 9th minute, the Rams’ leading scorer Niko Marsh cut into the middle of the field from the left side and struck a beautiful shot from 35 yards out which beat Peters goalkeeper Derek Deyarmin to cut the lead 2-1. Marsh flashed his dribbling skills during the entire match, creating the best scoring chances for the Rams. The shot he took to score the Rams lone goal looked rather ambitious at first glance but end up in the back of the net, a really impressive strike. Before the Rams could really settle into the match after the goal, the Indians pushed the attack down the right flank when Mindach deftly laid out a nice pass into space that allowed Sophomore Midfielder to run into the ball and bury the goal from just inside box, inside the right post. Junior goalkeeper Tom Fest had no chance for the Rams. That third goal of the Indians was scored in the 10th minute, 1:13 after the Rams had scored. Bruzdewicz closed out the scoring when he found the ball at his feet along the goal line in the 24th minute after the ball popped into the air from the right side of the goal to the other side where Bruzdewicz slotted home the easy goal. Peters Township has a chance to win their 10th Boys Soccer Championship when the face North Allegheny at Highmark Stadium at a date and time to be determined.
Pine-Richland: 0-1 = 1
Peters Township 2-2 = 4
PT – 17’ Luke Kelly
PT – 36’ Bryce Gabelhart
PR – 9’ Niko Marsh
PT – 10’ Nathan Lopus
PT – 24’ Brian Bruzdewicz
North Allegheny Tigers 9 – Canon-McMillan Big Macs 0
In 2015, the Canon-McMillan boys soccer team took home WPIAL gold in Class AAA. Last year, in Class 4A’s inaugural season, North Allegheny won the WPIAL crown. After Saturday afternoon’s rainy Class 4A WPIAL semifinal at Mars, the Tigers left little doubt as to who the better team is in 2017. North Allegheny jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening 22 minutes and cruised to a 9-0 victory over the Big Macs. The triumph lifts the second-seeded Tigers into the championship game against top-seeded Peters Township either Thursday, Friday or Saturday at Highmark Stadium. NA opened the scoring less than seven minutes into Saturday’s contest against the 11th-seeded Big Macs. Senior Ryan Earle sent a cross in front of the net where classmate Josh Luchini, a defender, and the Canon-Mac goalkeeper waited. All three went to the ground, but Luchini got just enough of the ball to steer it into the goal. Less than 15 minutes later, the Tigers had tacked on three more goals on tallies by senior Cameron Yurick, Luchini, and senior Sean Atwater. Luchini also assisted on the markers by both Yurick and Atwater. Early in the second half, North Allegheny removed any suspense still remaining by notching three more goals in the span of just 1:06. Luchini scored two, one off of an assist by senior Samuel Neal, and the other off of an assist by Yurick. Sophomore Jonathan Ross added the third in that spurt. The Tigers eventually closed the scoring with two more goals in the final 12 minutes, one by junior Samuel Wilson and the other by classmate Kyle Kaczmarek. Earle and senior Ian Wilson picked up assists. Senior Grant Glorioso played the majority of the minutes in net for NA before giving way to junior Devon Angermeier, who came on to complete the shutout. While numerous Tigers got into the act offensively, Luchini once again led the way with his four goals and two assists. Those four markers brought his team-leading total to 32 for the season, and his efforts earned him the honor of Wright Automotive Player of the Game for the third-straight game. North Allegheny now turns its attention to Peters Township, one of only two teams to beat the now 18-2-1 Tigers. The unbeaten Indians (17-0-1), who defeated Pine-Richland 4-1 in their semifinal contest, edged NA 2-1 at home back on Sept. 9.
WPIAL CLASS 3-A Semifinals:
West Allegheny Indians 3 – South Fayette Lions 2 in Double Overtime
Evan Blunkosky scored the winning tally following a corner kick with less than nine minutes remaining in the second overtime, capping off a miraculous comeback for West Allegheny. As a result of the heroics, the top-seeded Indians defeated No. 5 South Fayette 3-2 in the Class 3A semifinals at North Allegheny High School. South Fayette appeared poised to pull off the upset, as the Lions were dominated in time of possession and chances for the majority of the match, but held a 2-0 lead until late in the second half. Jarred Renz put the Lions on the board in the 26th minute, when he rung a shot off the post and in, and Chad Eldridge cashed in on an Indians’ turnover deep in their own territory early in the second half. That margin held up until Steven Abbott put the Indians (19-1-1) on the board with 13:22 left in regulation. A late push yielded several chances for West Allegheny, but South Fayette goalkeeper Tim Locher made a bevy of key saves. With just 25 seconds left in regulation, though, Indians’ standout Nathan Dragasich deadlocked the match on a goal that literally led his teammate to do a front flip in celebration. West Allegheny and South Fayette (14-5-2) played relatively even in the first overtime, but the Indians capitalized on their chance in the second overtime to advance to the championship game. While the Lions will turn their sights to the consolation game, the Indians will look to capture their second WPIAL soccer crown in the championship game at Highmark Stadium next week.
Montour Spartans 2 – Chartiers Valley Colts 1
A loose ball squirted across the 6-yard box to a patiently waiting Gunnar Graham and the Junior Midfielder poked home the winning goal in the second minute of extra time as the sixth-seeded Montour Spartans upset the second-seeded Chartiers Valley Colts in the Boys 3A soccer semifinal at West Allegheny High School on Saturday afternoon. The ball was being knocked around the left side of the box, when somehow the ball rolled right to Graham who stayed out of the scrum hoping for some luck and an opportunity. Graham reached with his right foot as he went to the ground and he got just enough of the ball to roll it across the goal line and trigger the celebration by the Spartans. The match was played in a steady rain which made it was difficult for either side to control a ball played into the air that was allowed to bounce. Not much happened offensively for either side in the first half and match was scoreless at halftime. Montour found their game early in the second half which forced the Colts to defend more. In the 20th minute, just inside the box, a Spartan attacker had possession and was trying to turn for a shot on goal when a Colt defender ran over the attacker which drew a foul call by the official and a penalty kick for the Spartans. Senior Nolan Hutter stepped to the spot where he sized up goalkeeper James Moore of the Colts. Hutter converted the kick from the penalty spot with a low shot to the right side of the goal. Chartiers Valley got their own chance from the penalty spot in the 29th minute when the attempt by Senior Defender Baxter Eckenrode was stopped by Montour goalkeeper Brian Duggan diving to his left. However, Duggan was not able to control the rebound and Eckenrode followed his shot, gained control the of the rebound and shot the ball inside the far post to equalize at 1. No goals were scored during the rest of regulation, setting up the heroics of Graham early in extra time. Montour advances to play West Allegheny in the Boys 3A championship match at Highmark Stadium, time and date to be determined.
Montour: 0-1-1 = 2
Chartiers Valley: 0-1-0 = 1
M – 20’ Nolan Hutter (PK)
CV – 29’ Baxter Eckenrode (PK rebound)
M – Gunnar Graham
WPIAL CLASS 2-A Semifinals:
Quaker Valley Quakers 3 – Beaver Bobcats 1
The defending 2A champion Quakers were also seeking their second straight appearance in the Finals, and they steamrolled their way to the Semis with an 18-1 regular season record and wins in the playoffs over McGuffey and Riverside. Beaver, on the other hand, was another potential Cinderella story as they pulled off upsets in the first two rounds of the postseason over Keystone Oaks and Deer Lakes. It looked in the early going lkike another upset was brewing as the Bobcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. QV goaltender Dom Lagnese got a piece of a shot by Beaver’s Frank Sestito, but the ball ricocheted off Lagnese and went behind him into the net. The Quakers tied the game, however, just seconds before the end of teh first half as Franky Fernandez beat Danny Hughes. Fernandez got his second, which turned out to be the game-winner, in the 60th minute to give the Quakers a 2-1 lead. An insurance goal followed in the 67th minute as QV’s Ian Rodgers cashed in. It will be a rematch from one year ago int he 2A Finals at Highmark Stadium as the Quakers will square off against the upset-minded Shady Side Academy Indians. Both of those teams, by virtue of reaching the Finals, have also qualified for the PIAA State Playoffs. The winner of the Consolation Match between Beaver and Central Valley will also represent the WPIAL in the PIAA’s.
Shady Side Academy Indians 2 – Central Valley Warriors 0
The 15th-seeded Indians reached the Semifinals of the Class @A bracket with upset victories over South Park and Waynesburg, and they were seeking their second consecutive trip to the Finals.Central Valley also pulled off a pair of upsets over over #6 Charleroi and #3 Mt Pleasant to reach the same point.Thus the Cinderella story would only continue for one of these teams while striking midnight for the other. Both teams were at a stalemate for the entire first half.with SSA gettign most of the chances during the first 20 minutes and the Warriors coming on in the latter portion of the half. It was not until the 47th minute of the match that the scoreboard was finally cracked as SSA’s Adrian Beckford took a feed from Wally Navid and drove a shot into the CV net for the 1-nil lead. Navid also got a helper on the insurance goal as he fed Kenny Shergill to make it 2-0 in the 60th minute. The Indians played effective defense the rest of the way to punch their ticket to Highmark Stadium next week for the 2A Championship Game. The season, however, is not over either for the Central Valley Warriors as they will play in the Consolation Game next week for another shot at qualifying for the PIAA State Playoffs.
WPIAL CLASS 1-A Semifinals:
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 4 – Winchester Thurston Bears 0
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is heading to Highmark Stadium for the second year in a row after defeating Winchester Thurston 4-0 on a very rainy day at Mars High School. North Catholic was held in check for most of the first half but with 36 seconds left they converted a corner finished off by Luc Madonna to give them the 1-0 lead at halftime. North Catholic picked up right where they left off in the second half getting goals from Mike Drambel, Joe Kearney and Ian Daughtery. Kearney’s goal total is now up to 51 which leads the WPIAL. North Catholic’s defense who has only allowed six goals all season was strong again only allowing two shots on goal. The Trojans will take on Springdale in the WPIAL Championship either Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
Springdale Dynamos 2 – Seton-LaSalle Rebels 1 in an Overtime Shootout
The Springdale Dynamos have not been to the semifinals since 2010. They lost 2-1 in overtime that day. Today was not that day. It took two overtimes and six shootout kickers to finish it, but Springdale advances to Highmark Stadium with the win over Seton LaSalle. Seton LaSalle controlled position for most of the game dominating the time of possession, but the dynamic offense of the Rebels just seemed to be half a step off today. Which is the difference in a strong and weak shot or pass attempt The Dynamos speedster Jared Demore generated most of the offense for Springdale. Springdale got on the board first in the 36th minute of the first half. Senior Jared Demore found an opening during a scramble in front of the net and was able to finish it to put the Dynamos on the board. Seton LaSalle would have to wait until there were 15 minutes to go in that game before they got the equalizer on the foot of Gabe Rosario. Through two 15 minute overtimes, neither team was able to score. Each team sent five players to take the shootout. After a Seton LaSalle miss on their fifth shooters attempt, Springdale’s Zach Liberati walked up with a chance to win. Liberati’s kick went wide ride, and each team had to send another shooter to the line with the chance to win. Seton LaSalle went first and sent Gabe Rosario. Rosario missed his attempt which left the door open for Springdale and Matt Taliani. Taliani did not miss, and Springdale advances to the 1A WPIAL final at Highmark Stadium.