First Boys Soccer Title for Montour as Spartans Blank West A in 3-A Finals

Sunday, November 5, 2017 | 3:03 AM

Backed by a relentless defense and a senior goalkeeper who stepped up in the waning moments of the game, the Montour boys soccer team made its finals debut count with a victory over top-seeded West Allegheny, 1-0, on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium to capture the WPIAL Class 3-A title.

The No. 6 seed Spartans, who lost last year in the WPIAL semifinals, took the lead on a goal by Seth Schleicher in the first half and never looked back. Schleicher, who led Montour with 17 goals during the regular season, got behind the West Allegheny defense and put the game’s lone goal behind Indians’ goalkeeper Braden Wurst.

While Montour looked like the more dominant and aggressive team in the first half, West Allegheny, particularly in the last five minutes of the game, consistently pushed the ball upfield into Montour’s end and peppered Spartans’ keeper Brian Duggan, who turned back every shot he faced.

The final two West Allegheny shots on goal were particularly potent, but Duggan denied the Indians on both occasions. The first one was a spectacular shot that Duggan dove to his right and reached up with his left hand, completely laid out, and got just enough of the ball to deny Fletcher Amos. Duggan followed it only a few seconds later with an equally spectacular save; those two West Allegheny shots could have easily given the Indians a 2-1 lead late in the game.

Instead, it was Duggan and the Montour defense that held off the West Allegheny attack en route to the WPIAL Championship.

Leading scorer for the Indians, junior midfielder Nate Dragisich led West Allegheny with 21 regular season goals, but was relatively quiet in the loss. Dragisich was double teamed every time he took control of the ball, blanked by the combination of Mikel Battles and R.J. Stetz.

Battles was the standout defender for Montour, at one point turning away back to back corner kicks from West Allegheny in the second half, and Stetz, the only freshman starter for Montour, blanketed Dragisich.

For West Allegheny, this snaps a 14 game winning streak, and a two game winning streak over Montour. The Indians defeated the Spartans in two regular season meetings: 2-1 and 3-2.

Both teams have qualified for the PIAA playoffs.

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