Sewickley Academy boys soccer looks to cap solid season with playoff success

Sunday, October 23, 2022 | 11:01 AM

The Sewickley Academy boys soccer team finished in a tie with Eden Christian atop the Section 1-A standings this season.

The teams split decisions this fall. SA won the first game Aug. 30 by a 2-1 score, then held possession of first place the rest of the season.

Eden Christian climbed into a tie for first with a 3-0 victory Oct. 15 against the Panthers and finished its regular season 13-2-1 overall.

Both teams were 11-1 in section play. Sewickley ended up 14-2 overall.

The Panthers opened the year with 11 consecutive wins before losing a 3-1 thriller to rival Quaker Valley, then won three in a row before clashing with Eden Christian in their final regular-season game.

Greensburg Central Catholic and Sewickley exchanged positions in Class A in the final Trib HSSN WPIAL soccer rankings. GCC rose to No. 1, and SA dropped to second

Winchester Thurston, Eden Christian and Charleroi rounded out the top five.

Sewickley outscored the opposition by a 51-19 overall margin this season, posted five shutouts and held six other teams to one goal.

The team’s leading scorers in the regular season were senior forwards Michael DiSantis with 18 goals and Adin Zorn with 13 goals and senior midfielder Hudson Colletti with 10.

“We are overall happy with the 14-2 record,” said DiSantis, a four-year starter. “There has been a lot we had to persevere through to get to that. The mentality of our team is what really drives us. A lot of teams are filled with club players, but our team is driven to win by our chemistry and passion.

“Personally, I started really well, then slowed down on my scoring when I started (having) injuries. Now that I’m healthier and have a week off, I know I’ll be ready to return to top form going into playoffs. Our expectation is to push for the WPIAL title with most of our key players being seniors.”

Cooper Wentz, a junior, is the Panthers’ starting goalkeeper. SA allowed an average of just 1.1 goals per game heading into the playoffs.

“We have one simple goal for this season: to win a WPIAL championship,” Wentz said. “We know we have the athletes and the skilled players to do so. We know we’ve only scratched the surface of what we could become and look forward to more tests to prove ourselves as a team.”

Wentz has been a goalkeeper since a young age. He is in his second season as a starter for the Panthers and third overall.

“We are so fortunate to have one of the best goalkeepers in our area, Cooper Wentz, who now has several years of experience and has been extremely reliable for us,” Sewickley coach Alessandro Moreira said earlier in the year.

Rounding out the scoring column for the Panthers this season were senior midfielder Lucas Mendonca with four goals, junior forward Jackson Quigley (3 goals), freshman forward Chase D’Antonio (2) and freshman midfielder Nicholas Day (1).

Other key players on the team include senior forward Daniel Torres, junior midfielder Jayden Garcha and, defensively, senior Garrett Smith, senior Thomas Varghese and sophomore Andrew Colletti.

Top reserves include seniors Alex Quigley (F) and Suman Krishna (MF), junior midfielder Andrew Caridad, plus freshmen Finn Wentz (D), Blake Wilmot (D) and Luca Peluso (MF).

The WPIAL playoffs were scheduled to start Oct. 20 and run through Nov. 5. The championship games will take place Nov. 3-5 at Highmark Stadium.

Sewickley has not had a losing season in boys soccer since 2010, has won two PIAA and two WPIAL titles since then, was a PIAA finalist five times and finished first or second in section play all 12 years with eight section crowns.

The Panthers advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals in 2021 as the No. 3 seed in Class A.

Their outlook for the 2022 postseason?

“Our approach is to always go game by game, taking each game one at a time,” Moreira said. “We are proud of our performance so far.”

SA landed the third seed again this year and was scheduled to face No. 14 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (8-7) on Oct. 25. The Panthers defeated OLSH twice in section play in 2022 by scores of 3-2 and 3-1.

The WPIAL Class A quarterfinals will take place Oct. 29 with all four games set for 2 p.m. starts.


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