USC Claims Boys WPIAL AAA Soccer Title After Beating Rival PT

Saturday, November 5, 2011 | 11:16 PM

The Upper Saint Clair Panthers collected their sixth WPIAL soccer championship Saturday at Baldwin High School, the title leaves them one short of the record, seven WPIAL soccer titles held by, the team they beat in the Championship game, the Peters Township Indians.

The Panthers really had the better of play for the entire night in defeating the Indians for the third time this season, but that does not mean this was not a thrilling contest. In fact quite the opposite is true.

Stoned by Peter's defenders and keeper Chris Gagainas in opportunity after opportunity for the first 33 minutes plus, the Panthers finally broke through in the 34th minute when senior Matt Keirnan directed a shot with off his shin from just to the right at the top of the box, behind Gagianas who got a piece of it but not enough to stop USC from taking a 1-nil lead.

Afterwards Keirnan who battled with a banged up knee and shoulder pain all night, said of the win, “Ahh man it’s was the moment of my life, there is nothing like it.”

The way the Panthers’ defense was playing the one goal lead looked insurmountable as Peters rarely generated any time in the offensive zone let alone any scoring opportunity, but in the 75th minute of play after a whistle and some pushing and shoving the Indians were awarded a free kick from about 45 yards in front of the Panther net, Matt Venanzi sent it into the box and after several players got a piece of it in one way or another the ball ricocheted to the top of the box where Matt Girouard, hammered it behind St. Clair keeper Joe Conlon and suddenly, shockingly with 4:43 to play in regulation we were tied.

Undaunted, the Panthers returned to their offensive attack and about two and a half minutes later freshman defender Garrett Blake had a throw in for USC from about 20 yards out, as the ball came into the middle of the box Mike Worthy got a piece of it, in fact it was just enough to squeeze it between Gagianas and another Indian defender, who appeared to miscommunicate and then subsequently misplay it into the game winning goal for Upper Saint Clair.

The Panthers held on in the final 2:07 for the title and the celebration was on as the student section and the girls team, who also picked up a championship on this day joined the Panthers for some on-field revelry.

The Panthers improve to 17-1-2 and run their winning streak to 15 with the victory, while Peters falls to 14-6-1 on the year. The title is the first for the Panthers since 2004.

Both teams continue on in the state tournament next week, there is a chance they could meet for a fourth time here in 2011.    

Upper St. Clair Panthers : 1 – 1 = 2
Peters Township Indians : 0 – 1 = 1

Scoring Summary:

1st  Half:
34:51 Upper Saint Clair Matt Keirnan from Dom Pezzone

2nd Half:
35.17 Peters Township Matt Girouard from Matt Venanzi and Zach Partyka

37:53 Upper Saint Clair Mike Worthy from Garrett Blake


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