Hampton notebook: Strong boys soccer season ends in OT loss to No. 1 Mars

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Saturday, November 7, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Hampton senior Corey Scherer needed some time to ease the sting of a 1-0 double-overtime playoff loss to nemesis Mars.

“We all gave it our best,” he said. “We just happened to come up short.”

When Mars’ Dane Beller scored in the 107th minute of their WPIAL Class 3A quarterfinal match on Oct. 28, the Talbots’ boys soccer season came to an abrupt halt.

“It was a great finish by that kid, but I couldn’t be prouder of the way the boys performed,” Hampton coach Matt McAwley said. “It is really something we can build off.”

The Talbots, who were playing without one of their top players, junior Liam Nichols (ankle), went 0-3 against the top-ranked Planets this season, 11-2-1 against everyone else. Hampton reached the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year and beat Kiski Area, 3-1, in the opening round but dropped to 0-13 against the Planets since 2014.

Hampton, the No. 8 seed, played its best game against Mars (17-0), which outscored its opponents 83-5 on the way to the WPIAL title game against Franklin Regional on Nov. 5.

“Honestly, I was happy with the way everyone played, including myself,” Scherer said. “There’s not much you can do. It was a nice goal.”

The Talbots graduate a solid core of seniors — Scherer, Max Saltrelli, Brayden Docherty, Elliott Gmiter, Jack Murray, John Stapleton, Juan Oliver and Gus Wolf — but bring back a battle-tested, talented junior class.

“If we could play like we did in that Mars game in every single game, I believe there is so much potential for that junior class,” Scherer said. “They were pretty much our whole team this year.”

Girls soccer run ends

The Hampton girls soccer team entered this season facing dwindling numbers and the uncertainty of a pandemic.

The Talbots overcame both to extend their playoff streak to five years.

“It was a rough start to the summer because things were canceled for the longest time,” coach Bill Paholich said. “The girls put forth the effort, and they just kept working harder and harder each game.”

The Talbots were rewarded with their first section title since 2008 before beating Penn Hills, 5-0, in the opening round of the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs Oct. 26. Three days later, Hampton (12-3) lost to No. 6 West Allegheny, 2-0, in a soggy quarterfinal match.

“We had a couple chances,” Paholich said. “It was just kind of a sloppy game for us, especially in the rain, with the ball skipping around everywhere.”

After graduating 12 seniors last season, the Talbots received roster-wide contributions, from freshman goalie Isabella English (eight shutouts) and ninth-grade striker Madison Hurst (team-best 14 goals) to a senior class of Emmy Chismer, Megan Cook, Carley Klaas, Ava Lamory, Sam Langer, Olivia Maknoon and Adrianna Rossetti.

“We had small numbers this year,” Paholich said. “But those numbers should be coming back up in the next two years. … The future is promising.”

Volleyball saves best for last

Hampton limped into the WPIAL girls volleyball playoffs after losing three of its final four regular-season matches. But the Talbots weren’t going quietly.

The 12th-seeded Talbots nearly pulled off a big upset in the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs, losing to No. 5 South Fayette, 3-2, on Oct. 29. Hampton lost 25-22, 20-25, 25-21, 20-25, 16-14 in a back-and-forth five-set match.

“Honestly, it was the best we’ve played all season. So I think it was a great experience,” first-year coach Annie Bozzo said. “While we didn’t win, we ended on such a high note. I think it was great for the girls. We did very well.”

The Talbots will have to replace two senior captains, libero Julia Resch and outside hitter Addie Syglowski, in their bid next season to reach the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. Other departing seniors include middle blocker Lily Obendorfer and defensive specialist Bridget Wojcik.

Cross country hits tape

The Talbots boys placed 11th out of 30 teams at the WPIAL Class AA cross country championships on Oct. 28 at White Oak Park. Junior Michael Belch was the team’s top finisher, placing 45th in the 206-runner field with a time of 17 minutes, 50 seconds. Freshman Nathan Garrett was 46th in 17:50, placing fourth among all ninth-graders. Freshman Dane Hall (60th, 18:04) and seniors Aidan Sawyer (76th, 18:20) and Austin Garrett (90th, 18:43) also scored for Hampton.

In the girls Class AAA meet Oct. 30, the Talbots finished 26th out of 29 teams. Freshman Lydia Bailey paced Hampton, placing 125th among 200 runners with a time of 22:29. Sophomore Kendall Solkovy (141st, 22:46), seniors Ciara Evans (157th, 23:36) and Cadee France (163rd, 23:52) and sophomore Teresa Grimm (176th, 24:30) also scored for the Talbots.

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