Norwin notebook: Boys soccer team stung by quarterfinal loss

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Sunday, November 7, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Stunned and seemingly unsure what to do next, Norwin boys soccer players gathered at midfield and talked over a 1-0, season-ending playoff loss to North Allegheny in the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals.

The home defeat was quite unexpected — the way it happened, where it happened and who it happened against.

Norwin was the higher seed at No. 3, but No. 6 North Allegheny did just enough offensively to back a stellar defensive effort and posted the shutout to end Norwin’s season.

“Scotty (Norwin coach Schuchert) has a good team here, and that’s why we like playing them,” North Allegheny coach Bobby Vosmaer said. “You win some, you lose some. Last year, they ousted us. Now, we returned the favor. They’re a good side.”

The Knights finished 14-2-1 after their 14-game unbeaten streak was snapped on a gray Saturday afternoon at Knights Stadium.

They truly expected to make a lengthy playoff run, perhaps to its first WPIAL championship. They made the semifinals last year.

“There was a calm and composure to this team,” Norwin’s Schuchert said. “This team really had a lot of key elements to make a push, with a great goalie, great defenders, midfield in Riley and Caleb up top. You only see players like Riley Zimmerman, Caleb Yuricha and Ryan Dimitroff — those three are so special, in tandem like that. We had the three phases, so I think that’s why everyone is a little shellshocked.”

Yuricha was one of the top goal scorers in the WPIAL, finding the net 28 times and earning All-State honors.

Schuchert was pleased with his team’s demeanor and leadership all season. He will miss his 12 seniors next season.

“The way they handled themselves all year, they handled it like champions,” Schuchert said. “Everybody in this area wants to put a medal around their necks to recognize that. They’re going to be winners in life.

“All of our underclassmen were saying how much they’re going to truly miss this senior class because they made it all as one.”

Girls reach quarters

The Norwin girls soccer team came close to reaching the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals.

The fifth-seeded Lady Knights went to overtime before falling to No. 4 Seneca Valley, 4-3.

They finished 13-5, closing out a season of overachievement. The team was riddled with injuries to key players but persevered to earn a runner-up finish in Section 3 and a top-five seed.

“It was a very physical match,” Norwin coach Diane Metzger said. “I’m extremely proud of the effort our girls put out there. Seneca Valley is a very good team. Taking a match like this to overtime is an indication of the caliber of both of these teams. It’s a disappointing result, but the effort was exceptional.”

Four Norwin players — senior defender Reese Aquilio, senior midfielder Emma Rigone, freshman midfielder Julia Bursick and senior forward Paloma Swankler — were named to the All-Section 3-4A team.

Norwin gets WPIAL final

Norwin Knights Stadium will host the WPIAL Class 6A football championship at 7 p.m. Nov. 20. The WPIAL made the announcement before unveiling playoff brackets Oct. 30.

Norwin hosted the Class 5A championship in 2019 between Peters Township and Gateway, and the ’18 5A final that featured Penn Hills and West Allegheny.

“The Norwin School District is honored and excited to be able to host the 6A championship game,” Norwin athletic director Mike Burrell said. “We consider it a great honor and privilege to do so and are looking forward to the opportunity.”

Recruiting

• Norwin senior basketball player Alyssa Laukus announced she will play at Chatham. Laukus is a 5-foot-10 forward.

• Norwin senior Jake Awenowicz committed to play baseball at Gannon, a Division II program that competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Awenowicz is an outfielder and pitcher.

College scene

• Allegheny football player Declan O’Brien, a sophomore wide receiver and Norwin alum, had a career-high nine receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown as the Gators fell to Wittenberg, 29-19. It was his first 100-yard receiving game.

• Ohio senior soccer goalkeeper Sam Wexell (Norwin) made three big saves across 110 minutes of soccer as the Bobcats tied Kent State, 0-0, in the regular season finale. Ohio finished tied for second in the MAC with Kent State and was set to begin the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed. Wexell is 11-4-3 in 18 starts with 55 saves and nine shutouts.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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