Bentworth nets OT winner to beat Burrell, reach WPIAL finals for 1st time

Monday, October 30, 2023 | 9:16 PM

Burrell threw everything it had at Bentworth in the final 15 minutes of regulation and Luke Postupack delivered a tying goal.

But Ryan Moessner wasn’t going to be denied the chance to make history for the Bearcats.

Moessner scored his second goal of the game with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first overtime to lift No. 7 Bentworth to a 2-1 win over Burrell in the WPIAL Class A boys soccer semifinals Monday night at Peters Township.

With the win, the Bearcats are headed to the WPIAL championship game for the first time.

Moessner scored with a shot that hit off the left post before rolling into the net. He was greeted by his entire team in celebration shortly after.

“He’s a special player,” Bentworth coach Nick Malarbi said. “Ryan is a kid that can play in any classification. People see him and say, ‘He’s too small and what can he do?’ but the game of soccer is changing. He’s going to go down in Bentworth history, and that’s a pretty cool story.”

The Bearcats (17-2) will face the winner of Monday night’s late semifinal between Charleroi and Seton LaSalle in the Class A championship game at 8 p.m. Friday at Highmark Stadium. Burrell (14-4) was also seeking its first championship appearance. The Bucs will play in the third-place match Wednesday with the winner earning a spot in the state tournament.

“Bentworth’s a good team,” Burrell coach Andrew Kariotis said. “I thought we did a good job containing them most of the game, but they got the last chance and that’s what it boils down to. With it going to overtime, it’s obvious it could’ve gone either way.”

Moessner scored in the 14th minute on a shot from the right side to put Bentworth in front early.

That goal held for most of the way, but Burrell really started to put the pressure on in the final 15 minutes and finally broke through.

Postupack took a shot from the left side that went just inside the left post to tie it with two minutes remaining in regulation.

“Luke was a monster all day, so I’m not surprised he was the one that put it in there,” Kariotis said. “He was a man on a mission for pretty much the entire game, going for every ball and winning every air ball. He was fantastic. I was really happy to score, but also really happy that he was the one to get it because he deserved it.”

The late goal stunned the Bearcats, but they regrouped once overtime started.

“It’s tough because some of your kids come over crying and you just have to tell them it’s not over and to wake up because it’s next goal wins,” Malarbi said.

While the Bucs fell short of making it to Highmark, they still have an opportunity at states in front of them. Kariotis expects his team will be ready to go Wednesday.

“We’ve never been this far before, so it stings a little bit now, but our kids will be hungry (Wednesday),” Kariotis said. “They’ll give the same type of effort on Wednesday that they did tonight.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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