Norwin tops rival Penn-Trafford for 6th straight victory as Yuricha nets pair

Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 11:32 PM

Since a loss to Seneca Valley two games into the season, Norwin has been a brick wall.

The Knights boys soccer team is keeping the net sealed on the defensive end and winning games with a gritty approach that has allowed offense to come in the flow of games, rather than it being forced.

“We’re trying to kick more out of the back,” senior forward Caleb Yuricha said. “We’re playing real soccer, not kickball. Defense wins you championships.”

The speedy Yuricha netted his 19th and 20th goals of the season to propel No. 3 Norwin to a 4-1 victory over Penn-Trafford in a Section 3-4A game Thursday night at Norwin Knights Stadium.

“We got that momentum early,” Yuricha said. “That’s what we need to do every game.”

The Knights (7-1, 6-0) have six straight wins since a 5-0 loss to Seneca Valley, which also beat them in the WPIAL semifinals last season.

Norwin has outscored six opponents since its only defeat of the season, 18-2, including a pair of recent 3-0 shutouts over Central Catholic and Allderdice.

Norwin coach Scott Schuchert wanted another clean sheet against the rival Warriors, who could not rally from a 3-0 deficit.

“We let one slip in there. We want to be clicked on for 80 minutes,” Schuchert said. “This win was big tonight because we wanted to go through the first circuit undefeated. We’re starting to play our best ball and we’re finding our identity. “

Penn-Trafford (4-3, 3-3) also has shown some defensive know-how. All four of the team’s wins are by shutout. Although, two of their losses are to the aforementioned teams Norwin blanked.

The four goals are the most they have allowed all season.

The Warriors have not beaten the rival Knights since 2016. Norwin is 7-0-2 in the series since that loss.

Norwin started the scoring 21 minutes in when junior midfielder Jackson Sirianni crept behind the back line and sent in a shot for a 1-0 lead that held up until halftime.

A Penn-Trafford miscue led to the Knights taking a two-goal advantage. In the 48th minute, sophomore forward Alex Brown sent a rainbow of a delivery from midfield over everybody’s head. But Yuricha gave chase like a wide receiver in a Hail Mary and it paid off.

Warriors keeper A.J. Visco came out to corral the ball near the 10-yard line, but when he couldn’t handle it, Yuricha took possession and tapped into a wide-open net for a 2-0 score with 32 minutes remaining.

“Caleb has been outstanding for us,” Schuchert said. “It’s like a surprise when doesn’t get three (goals).”

Yuricha was wide-eyed as he saw Visco coming toward him.

“I was surprised,” Yuricha said. “I saw him come out of the net. He took a chance. I just went after it.”

The Knights’ third goal was all power from Yuricha, who sent a 28-yard free kick into the cage — a missile of a hit in the 63rd minute to make it 3-0.

“That one was beautiful,” Yuricha said. “I just kicked it straight in.”

Penn-Trafford kept attacking in the hopes of a rally, but only junior Cooper Sisson, who is listed as a backup goalkeeper, scored in the 73rd minute to trim the deficit to two.

Norwin, though, left no doubt as junior midfielder Andrew Wade headed home the fourth goal with five minutes left.

“We played better in the second half,” Norwin senior Riley Zimmerman said. “We came out strong.”

Norwin had 12 shots to the Warriors’ five. Knights’ senior goalkeeper Andrew Yanez and Visco each made three saves.

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

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