Shady Side Academy scores OT winner to beat Aquinas Academy for 5th WPIAL field hockey title in 6 years

Saturday, November 4, 2023 | 3:18 PM

After neither team scored in the first overtime of the WPIAL Class A field hockey championship game Saturday at Washington & Jefferson, Shady Side Academy senior Alexa Karet stepped into the spotlight.

Karet worked hard to get the ball down into Aquinas Academy’s circle and as her team kept possession, she found herself open in front of the net and scored with 1:05 left in the second overtime to send the Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory.

“There’s no better feeling in the world,” Karet said. “But it’s not about my goal. It’s about all the work the team put in during the season and it coming to fruition here today.”

Karet had a hand in all of the Bulldogs’ goals, assisting on both in regulation.

The Bulldogs (10-5) claimed their fifth WPIAL Class A title in six years.

“It means everything,” said Shady Side coach Elizabeth Peterson. “I’m so proud of all the hard work that our team has accomplished since August and the attitude and drive they bring to every practice and game.”

“We’ve been so forward focused,” Peterson added. “We trained all season for this moment, and we prepared so that we would peak today, and we did.”

Alexa Queen opened the scoring as the Aquinas Academy senior forward buried a spinning shot from 7 yards out to give the Crusaders the lead.

Halfway through the second quarter, Marley Grandizio pulled the score even with a goal, burying a 6-yard shot.

Early on in the third quarter, Megan McSorely scored on a feed from Karet, giving Shady Side Academy a 2-1 lead.

With 4:30 left to go in the third quarter, Bulldogs goalkeeper Olivia Parker made a host of saves, even sprawling on her back, preserving the 2-1 lead.

With just under six seconds left in regulation, No. 2 Aquinas Academy (7-4-1) looked to tie the game off a penalty corner. Elliot Keverline deflected a bouncing ball in front of the net for a goal, sending the game into overtime.

Keverline almost ended the game early into the first overtime. Chasing the ball down, she beat Shady Side’s Gretchen Chalmers to the ball and popped it over the goaltender. Luckily for Chalmers and Shady Side, reinforcements arrived in time, knocking the ball out of harm’s way.

Shady Side’s Mary Boyd Barker had a chance of her own with under two minutes left in overtime. Cutting down the left side of the field, she fought her way to the front of the net, but Aquinas senior defender Mackenzie Queen stuffed any shot opportunity.

For Aquinas, it was another tough championship game loss as the Crusaders were unable to win a title for the third year in a row.

“We had a lot of freshmen and were rebuilding,” said Crusaders coach Erin Queen. “They worked really hard all year. It was a hard-fought match, and it could’ve gone either way. We’ll rebuild again and be back next year.”

Shady Side will face a play-in winner from Districy 3, 5 or 6 in the first round of the state playoffs Tuesday.

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