Strong finish lifts Gateway boys soccer into playoffs

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Saturday, October 24, 2020 | 11:01 AM


The Gateway boys soccer team last week finished its mission of returning to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Needing a strong stretch run to earn a berth to the postseason, the Gators won their final three section games, including a 4-0 victory Oct. 20 over West Mifflin.

Senior Chris Snyder scored twice against the Titans to give him a team-best 19 on the season.

Gateway also topped Obama Academy and Woodland Hills to conclude Section 4-3A play at 8-6, two games ahead of West Mifflin for the fourth and final playoff spot behind section co-champions Plum (13-1) and Franklin Regional (13-1) and third-place Kiski Area (10-4).

“We outscored Obama, Woodland Hills and West Mifflin, 20-1, in those games. The guys overcame a lot of obstacles and played at a high level,” Gateway coach Bernie Stiles said.

“We were training well and knew that would translate over into the games.”

Snyder also tallied five assists during the regular season.

AJ Brown recorded six goals to go along with a pair of assists, while senior Alex Gutierrez and junior Dietrich Zeisloft added five goals.

Zeisloft’s eight assists were a team-best.

Senior Sam Alexander posted his fourth shutout of the season with the West Mifflin victory, and he entered the playoffs with 55 saves and a 2.94 goals-against average.

Gateway, as the No. 14 seed, was scheduled to kick off WPIAL playoff action Saturday at No. 3 West Allegheny. The game was to conclude past the deadline for this week’s edition.

The Indians captured the Section 2-3A title with a 13-1 record and entered the playoffs on an 11-game winning streak.

The Gators played a compacted schedule in the last half of the regular season — 10 games in 16 days — after covid-19 issues in the Gateway School District shut down athletic activities late last month.

Gateway returned to action Oct. 3 and won four of five in section to put it in position for playoff qualification.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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