Quaker Valley reflects on memorable run to another PIAA boys soccer title

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Sunday, November 28, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley’s soccer legacy climbed a notch higher this season.

The QV boys team rolled to section, WPIAL and PIAA championships in 2021, finishing 23-2 overall.

With nine starters and five of the top six scorers back from last year’s 11-1-1 squad, the Quakers started the 2021 campaign with great expectations. And the overall results plus their final numbers proved to be truly astonishing.

“I am so thankful for this team and for every player that contributed to it this season,” QV’s second-year coach J.J. Veshio said. “It was such a fun ride and one to remember forever.

“It ultimately doesn’t matter how you win in the playoffs, as long as you get the victory. But I always want to play quality soccer and win in a respectable way.”

The Quakers earned the No. 2 seed for the WPIAL playoffs, where they ran by Burrell, 5-1, East Allegheny, 14-0, Ambridge, 3-2, and section rival North Catholic, 5-0, in the championship game Nov. 4 at Highmark Stadium.

QV then posted four shutouts in the PIAA tournament, blanking Grove City, 8-0; Somerset, 7-0;, North Catholic, 2-0;, and Lewisburg, 1-0, in the finals Nov. 19 at Hersheypark Stadium.

“By allowing only three goals in the playoffs, having six shutouts, and scoring 44 (plus the shootout victory),” Veshio said. “I think it let the rest of the league know that we are serious about playing good quality soccer. And we did just that.”

QV has won WPIAL boys soccer crowns 10 times in school history: 1985, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’96, ’99, 2012, ’16, ’19, ‘21.

The state title is the Quakers’ third in five years (2017, ‘19, ‘21) and ninth overall. It is one the players, particularly sophomore defender Nick Allan, will remember for a lifetime.

QV battled with District 4 champion Lewisburg in a scoreless tie through 80 minutes of regulation and two 20-minute overtimes. The Quakers held a 17-6 advantage in shots and 11-3 edge in shots on goal.

“The weather played a large role for both teams, but we ultimately just tried to possess the ball and be very strong defensively,” Veshio said. “I think we did that and while we weren’t able to finish during the run of play, our confidence and composure going into the shootout paid off.”

Allan, the lone sophomore in starting lineup, was clutch. Allan knocked in his attempt as QV’s fifth participant in the shootout, giving the Quakers a 5-4 penalty kicks win.

“That moment is the exact reason why we practiced penalty kicks every day during the playoffs,” Veshio said. “Lewisburg is an excellent program and we fully expect to see them again in the future, so a credit to their players and coaches for a hard-fought match.”

Rowan Kriebel, Ryan Edwards, Keller Chamovitz and Wil Dunda also connected for QV goals in the shootout.

Chamovitz and Kriebel, both senior forwards and one of the WPIAL’s strongest offensive tandems, led Quaker Valley in scoring this season with 90 goals and 45 assists between them.

“Any team would be lucky to have just one dynamic player like Keller or Rowan, but to have two just opens up so much for our offense and makes us more multi-dimensional,” Veshio said. “It allows the team to be more creative offensively, knowing we have the guys up top — and not just Keller and Rowan — to do some amazing things in the attack.”

Chamovitz finished with 50 goals and 20 assists this year, and Kriebel netted 40 and 25.

“I was very happy with the end result this season,” Kriebel said. “You couldn’t ask for more from the team. I thought the playoffs went especially well. Even with some tighter games, it was fun, and we played well.

“I’ve had a great journey at Quaker Valley, and I’m very glad to end on a high note especially after last year.”

QV’s soccer teams not able to participate in the 2020 postseason because covid-19 issues.

Two other offensive catalysts for the Quakers this year were Edwards, who contributed 17 goals and 49 assists, and Dunda, with 16 goals and 13 assists. Both are senior midfielders.

Senior Zach Buhr and junior Isaac Waller shared the majority of the team’s goalkeeping duties, flanked on defense by seniors Blaise Burns, Jhon-Fredy Krebs and Tim Smith; juniors Colin Wood and Ben Henry; and sophomore Allan.

Buhr logged a 0.50 goals-against average in 17 starts (including all eight playoff games). Waller’s had a 0.125 GAA in seven starts.

“Defensively, our job is to be difficult to play against,” said Sean Ryan, one of two QV assistants along with Landon Grant, who played for the Quakers from 2014-17. “For us, that means relentless and organized pressure as well as making sure to close the gaps left by our midfielders as we progress the ball forward.

“It was difficult at the beginning of the season to reassure our defenders that the right decision was to step forward, not back, when they see the ball being passed out of the back, this would sometimes cause a gap to open up in the middle third of the field. It was one of our main coaching objectives to be able to press as a team by the end of the season and I think the players executed quite well.”

Key reserves for QV at the state finals included Carter Turk, a freshman midfielder, Cameron Diggins, a sophomore forward, plus Ian Morrison and Kellen Auth, both senior midfielders.

The Quakers opened the season with an 11-game winning streak — including two victories in the East-West Classic. Their only losses this year were to Peters Township and West Allegheny, the WPIAL runners-up in 4A and 3A, respectively.

“We came into this season with the highest of expectations and wanted to go beyond the norm or just winning a championship, making the season even more special, and I think we did that,” Veshio said. “Our players broke records, had spectacular goals scored, recorded 19 shutouts, and won our first state championship in a shootout. These players, from freshmen to seniors, stepped up to the task of being great and absolutely accomplished their goals.

“Now, it’s time to prep for the 2022 WPIAL and PIAA finals.”

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