Deer Lakes boys ready for ‘redemption game’ against Quaker Valley
By: Likitha Janga
Thursday, November 8, 2018 | 8:51 PM
It took just a few minutes for Deer Lakes to turn its focus from the jubilation of the biggest win in boys soccer program history to the next task at hand.
The Lancers kept that lasered mentality throughout their regular season and postseason, and they’re doubling it now in the PIAA Class AA playoffs — particularly as they prepare to face Quaker Valley in an all-WPIAL matchup in the state quarterfinals Saturday.
It’s a matchup Deer Lakes could have had last weekend in the WPIAL championship game until the Lancers fell to Shady Side Academy in the district semifinals. But they’re getting their chance now against the defending PIAA champion Quakers, one of the WPIAL’s most dominant programs.
“This really is (our WPIAL championship),” Deer Lakes coach Jordan Wiegand said. “We really wanted to get a chance to play them. They’re a very good side. We’ve seen Shady Side too many times this year, so it’ll be kind of refreshing to see something completely different. I think it’ll be really some quality soccer coming up between both teams pretty soon.”
Quaker Valley suffered an upset loss to Shady Side Academy in the WPIAL championship game for the second consecutive season. But just as the Quakers responded to their title-game loss last season by making a run to the state title game, the Quakers (19-4) have the ability and the experience to run it back again this month.
The 2-1 loss to Shady Side Academy snapped QV’s 18-game winning streak, and the Quakers responded with a 6-0 rout of District 6 champion Westmont Hilltop in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
Deer Lakes (19-1-1) beat District 10 champ Fairview, 1-0, in double overtime to set up Saturday’s game, which will be played at 3 p.m. at North Allegheny.
“It’s definitely a redemption game, this next-up game,” senior goalkeeper Jesse Greyshock said. “This will really show if we belong to be there. We definitely feel like we were robbed from that, and this next game is for us to showcase that we are able and good enough to beat them.”
The Lancers kept their eyes on the big prize — namely, the state title that Quaker Valley won last season — even as they rolled through the regular season with an unbeaten record and their first section championship in 15 years, even as they made the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA tournament for the first time, and even after their win over Fairview.
“We’re ready for Quaker Valley on Saturday,” Greyshock said. “It’s going to be a great game, it’s going to be close to home so we don’t have a lot of traveling to worry about. We’re all ready to buckle down, get ready this week and prepare for Saturday.”
If Deer Lakes is an upstart in the middle of the most successful season in school history, Quaker Valley is an established power.
After an 0-3 start, the Quakers rolled to the Section 4-AA title and their 37th consecutive postseason appearance. They have eight WPIAL championships and seven PIAA titles, the latter a record among WPIAL teams.
Wiegand acknowledged the challenge, but he added his team won’t back down from it.
“We don’t really shy away from anything,” he said. “I think the way we played all season up to this point, it showed the character of this team. They’re definitely not one to back down. And no matter what adversity we’re going up against, these guys, even being a younger age, fight through anything. Hopefully, it will produce a result on Saturday.”
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
Tags: Deer Lakes