WPIAL Girls Soccer Semifinals Monday Recaps
By: Don Rebel
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 | 4:06 AM
There was a chill in the air Monday as the district girls soccer Final Four took place. The night got a lot colder for eight teams who came up short, but for those eight winners advancing to the championship finals, the golden pot at the end of the rainbow is not one victory away. Here are recaps from the eight Semifinals Girls Soccer matches heard only here on the Trib Live High School Sports Network.
A special thanks to Jason Tennant, Steve Nagler, Drew Karpen, Lee Mohn, Sean Meyers, Kevin Zielmanski and Kyle Dawson for their help on these recaps.
WPIAL CLASS 4-A Semifinals:
Norwin Knights 2 – North Allegheny Tigers 0
Entering the Class 4A girls’ soccer semifinals, North Allegheny was riding high after its 2-0 quarterfinal win against top-seed and section rival, Pine-Richland. They also knew that even though they were the No. 4 seed, Wednesday’s semifinal match at Fox Chapel will be their toughest test of the playoffs. That proved to be the case as the Knights scored the game-winning goal 1:45 into the game en route to their 2-0 win, advancing to their third straight WPIAL Championship. Norwin’s fast start was led by senior Emily Harrigan. The Rutgers University recruit showcased her Division I talent, floating a perfectly placed ball from 35 yards out over the outstretched arm of TIgers’ goalkeeper Olivia Ruppersberger for the 1-0 lead. Harrigan had 85 career goals entering the playoffs. Facing their first deficit of the 2017 WPIAL playoffs, the Tigers responded well by controlling the tempo for the remainder of the first half. Although they were able to pepper Norwin goalie Sam Wexell with shots, none posed as serious threats to get past the all-section goalie. North Allegheny went into the half feeling good about themselves, trailing the No. 40 ranked team in the country by Top Drawer Soccer by one goal. The Knights showed why they earned that ranking by coming out storming in the second half. Harrigan was in the middle of it again, as she hustled to North Allegheny’s endline, floated a pass towards the middle of the box, and found Katherine Erickson’s foot that found the back of the net for the 2-0 lead. Senior Julia Correa allowed the goal, who switched with Ruppersberger at goalie during halftime. It is a tactic used by head coach Chuck Kelly all season. The Tigers couldn’t find any openings in the Norwin defense, allowing Wexell, the Ohio University commit, to record her 49th shutout of the season. It was also her second shutout in four games against the Tigers. The loss did not end the Tigers season, as they will play Upper St. Clair on Wednesday in the consolation game at a site and time to be determined for a spot in the PIAA playoffs. The Tigers defeated the Panthers 2-0 in the regular season.
Penn-Trafford Warriors 2 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 1
Penn-Trafford fell behind for the second consecutive game this time against Upper St. Clair. The Warriors were able to bounce back again and score two second half goals and go on to a 2-1 victory Monday night and move on to the WPIAL championship game. Upper St. Clair would start off strong when Jane Madson would just miss s goal trhee minutes in. Penn Trafford’s Hannah Nguyen would miss on a breakaway in the 11th minute. Jane Madson continued her strong play finally scoring in the 21st minute to give USC a 1-0 lead. She nearly made it 2-0 but a great save by Megan Giesey denied Madson. Penn Trafford was the dominant team in the second half. Kiley Dugan had two excellent scoring chances and Mackenzie Aunkst missed in the first nine minutes. A oul just outside the box resulted in a free kick for the warriors but he kick sailed high and the score remained. 1-0. Jill Stovar would finally get the goal to tie the game in the 25th minute. Beating goalie Jill Rocco to the far side. the heroics came with just 57 seconds remaining when Stovar would make a nice run down the near side and a cross deflected off of Mackenzie Aunkst then found Jordan Lawrence who ripped a shot from twenty yards out for the victory. Upper St. Clair will now face North Allegheny Wednesday night for a birth in the PIAA playoffs. Penn Trafford will face Norwin at a date to be announced.
WPIAL CLASS 3-A Semifinals:
Moon Tigers 3 – Montour Spartans 0
Moon kept its perfect season intact on Monday, as the Tigers notched a 3-0 victory against Montour in the Class 3A semifinals at West Allegheny High School. As a result, top-seeded Moon (21-0-0) will have a chance to successfully defend its WPIAL Championship later this week. In a rematch of the 2016 title match, the Tigers and No. 5 Spartans played relatively even for the majority of the opening half. The Tigers broke through in the 32nd minute, though, as Abigael McEnroe tickled the twine on a rebound following a Moon corner kick. From that point on, the Tigers carried the play, and took a commanding lead when prolific scorer Delany Snyder tallied in the 54th minute. Snyder, who is the all-time goal leader in program history, added the exclamation point with less than four minutes left, as she steered a left-footed shot past Montour netminder Sarah Malinsky to account for the final margin. Moon, which outshot Montour 14-3, received a shutout from goalkeeper Madison Sleva. Moon, which also won the PIAA title last year, will face No. 2 Mars at Highmark Stadium, while Montour (12-8-0) will play for a spot in the PIAA postseason in Wednesday’s consolation match.
Mars Fightin’ Planets 2 – South Park Eagles 1
The 2nd seeded Mars Planets overcame an early deficit to defeat the 3rd seeded South Park Eagles to gain a berth in the state soccer playoffs and the right to play for the Girls WPIAL 3-A Soccer Championship. Mars fell behind 1-0 in the 15th minute of play when Carly Pcholinsky scored past Claire Valentine on an assist by Haleigh Finale. But, Mars would get the equalizer in the 33rd minute of play. Sophomore Taylor Hamlett would score from a sharp angle when she lifted a ball up over the head of Eagles’ keeper Molly Saylor tying the score at 1-1. The Planets would get the only 2nd half goal as freshman Gracie Dunaway would bury a goal in the 62nd minute to give Mars their first lead. Their stellar defensive style choked off South Park and kept them from serious scoring opportunities for the remainder of the game. With the win, the Planets (16-1) will play the top-seeded Moon Tigers in the WPIAL Championship game.
WPIAL CLASS 2-A Semifinals:
Freedom Bulldogs 3 – Yough Cougars 0
Senior Forward Lyndsee Monac and Junior Forward Michaela Watkins each tallied one goal and one assist to lead the top-seeded Freedom Bulldogs to a 3-0 victory over the Yough Cougars in a Girls 2A Semifinal at Moon High School on Monday night. Senior Goalkeeper Jacklyn Hartle recorded the clean sheet, the 8th of the season for Freedom. Junior Midfielder Chloe Keller maneuvered onto the end of a low corner kick taken by Senior Midfielder Taylor Petroff to score the first goal of the match in the 6th minute. In the 15th minute, the Bulldogs performed one of the few extended passing sequences of the match which resulted in a long shot by Petroff that short-hopped Yough Goalkeeper Sara Krofcheck who allowed the ball to squirt away from her to right in the box. Watkins outraced defenders to track down the loose ball and make a pass to Monac who buried the shot from about 10 yards out. The Bulldogs lead 2-0 at halftime. The final goal of the match saw Monac overpower a defender down the right flank and create a bad angle 2 versus the goalkeeper with Watkins who smartly spaced out the attack by racing to far post where she converted the pass from Monac. Freedom will have the opportunity to defend their 2A championship later this week versus Waynesburg Central at Highmark Stadium on a date and time to be determined.
Yough 0-0 = 0
Freedom 2-1 = 3
Freedom – 6′ Chloe Keller (Taylor Petroff) Freedom – 15′ Lyndsee Monac (Michaela Watkins) Second Half Freedom – 12′ Michaela Watkins (Lyndsee Monac)
Waynesburg Raiders 7 – Freeport Yellow Jackets 0
In a rematch of last year’s 2A Semifinal, the Waynesburg Lady Raiders avenged their 3-1 loss from a year ago, dominating the Freeport Lady Yellow Jackets by a score of 7-0 to advance to the WPIAL Championship Game. As they have done all season, the Raiders started fast as they got on the board just 5:10 into the match when Kaley Pell scored from an assist by Rhea Kijowski. Following the goal, it was Freeport who went on the attack and really controlled the play for the next 15 minutes with no less than three great scoring chances that just missed the net. Later Madison Clayton would take the ball up the sideline and hit Kijowski with a cross that Rhea drilled into the back of the net at the 18:11 mark for a 2-0 lead. From that point on it was all Waynesburg. Not only for the rest of the half, but the rest of the game. Clayton and Kijowski connected again with 6:21 to play in the half and Waynesburg held a 3-0 at halftime. 10:26 into the second half, Kijowski found Kylie Sinn in front of the net. Sinn beat goalkeeper Jenna Menke for a 4-0 lead. Kaley Pell would get her second goal of the night at the 21:45 mark from an assist by Jillian Kijowski. Thirty seconds later Jillian would tally another assist on her sister Rhea’s third goal of the contest. The Raiders led 6-0 and Rhea Kijowski wasn’t done with a hat trick. She would add one more, off a Clayton assist with 2:07 to play, to close out a 7-0 Waynesburg win. Waynesburg has won their two playoff games by a combined 12-0, and on the season, have scored a total of 137 goals to just 12 allowed in 19 games. The Lady Raiders’ upcoming trip to Highmark Stadium marks the first WPIAL Championship Game appearance in program history.
WPIAL CLASS 1-A Semifinals:
Shady Side Academy Indians 4 – Seton-LaSalle Rebels 0
The second half of the doubleheader in Class 1A at Hampton was even colder than the first. For the first time all night, the weather seemed to impact the semifinal, as goalkeepers struggled with bounces and the slippery soccer ball for the majority of the night, while bounces and the wet surface forced what seemed like a throw in from the sidelines five times a minute. The first goal of the night came from Sophia McMahon who jumped on an opportunity to net a juicy rebound, that gave Shady Side a lead it wouldn’t squander. That goal came in the 26th minute of the contest, before Shady Side made it 2-0 by virtue of a goal by Krystyna Rytel with two minutes to play in the first half. The Indians added a third goal to extend their lead, this one in the 72nd minute by Caroline Davis, before Rytel netted her second of the night with just over three minutes to play in the semifinal, which Shady Side ending up winning going away. The Indians dominated the attacking third the entire second half, as the top-seeded Rebels failed to muster up much offense at all throughout the night. The win for the Indians sets up their title defense and sends them to the Class 1A title game for the second-consecutive season and the fourth time since the classification became a thing in 2010. Seton Lasalle has a matchup with CWNC in the consolation matchup Wednesday. The time and day of the 1A title game is to be determined.
Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 1 – Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 0
In a matchup of teams who had both scored eight goals in two rounds prior to the semifinal round of the Class 1A playoffs, and two teams that had nine or more shutouts on the season, Greensburg Central Catholic was the one who came out victorious, sending the Centurions to Highmark Stadium and the WPIAL Class 1A Girls Soccer Championship for the 7th consecutive season. The two, to the shock of no one, played a scoreless first half at a cold, damp Hampton High School before any scoring would be had. In fact, there was only one legitimate scoring chance for both teams in that half, before the Centurions finally broke through in the 14th minute of the second half, when senior Alexa Schwerha buried a rebound off a shot by Brenna Springer to give GCC a 1-0 lead, which would hold up as the final score in the first semifinal in Class 1A of the night at Hampton. While CWNC had its opportunities with corner kicks and free kicks, Bella Skatell pitched a shutout. For the seventh-straight season, GCC is headed to the Class 1A title game, and will face Shady Side Academy in a rematch of last year’s title contest. The Centurions will look for their 5th title in program history, which have all come since 2011 (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015). As for the Trojans, it’s a date with the top-seeded Seton Lasalle Rebels, who lost in the second semifinal to Shady Side Academy, in the consolation match for a spot in the PIAA tournament. The time and day of the 1A title game is to be determined.