WPIAL Semifinals Soccer Saturday Summaries

Saturday, October 29, 2016 | 9:44 PM

On a day that felt more like an early season matchup, the WPIAL soccer Semifinals were played under sunny and comfortable conditions on the final step to the district championships. All eight of the top-seeds made it through to Round Three, and while the girls top-seeds all swept through into the Finals, three of the four #1-seeds on the boys side were bounced out of the title chase. Here are recaps from the 16 Semifinals games played on Saturday, 15 of which can be heard archived here on the MSA Sports Network.

A special thanks to Lee Mohn, Jason Tennant, Mike Azadian, Rob McKinney, Sean Meyers, Kevin Zielmanski, Matt Vandriak and Lou Rood for their help on these recaps.

BOYS WPIAL CLASS 4-A Semifinals:

Seneca Valley Raiders 1 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 0 
The #1 ranked Seneca Valley Raiders scored late in the second half and defeated Upper St. Clair 1-0 to move on to the championship game next week.  The Raiders Louis Newell  made a nice pass from the goal line to Matt Happ and he was able to beat goalie Mac Dominick  with 12 minutes left.  The Raiders out shot the Panthers 9 to 3 for the game.  Seneca Valley’s Dylan Good was never challenged during the game while Dominick made several key saves to keep the game scoreless.  Seneca Valley will now face North Allegheny.  The Tigers are one of the three teams to score a goal against the Raiders.  Upper St. Clair will now face Pine Richland on Wednesday to determine the #3 seed for the upcoming PIAA playoffs.

North Allegheny Tigers 1 – Pine-Richland Rams 0 
The North Allegheny Tigers played in close games all year and Saturday was no exception.  The Tigers played in their eighth overtime game of the season and stayed undefeated in those game.  The Tigers scored with 9:51 left in the first overtime to defeat Pine Richland 1-0 and will move onto the WPIAL championship next week at Highmark stadium.  The Tigers were swarming early.  Sean Atwater missed an opportunity two minutes in when he shot the ball wide.  The game continued to be played tight with neither team creating scoring chances.  Nicholas Scheidler  came close to scoring with fifteen minutes left in the first  had a golden opportunity but goalie Grant Glrioso was up to the challenge to smother the shot.  A few minutes later Niko Marsh just missed a header sending his shot wide.  Both teams only had one shot on goal in the first half.  The second half the Tigers Ben Cinker was stopped by a great save by Tom Fest nine minutes.  Neither team could muster many opportunities because of the defense being played.  The OT started and Pine Richland”s Carlo Tozzi was stopped by Glorioso in the first minute.  Then came the winning goal.  A good throw in by Alex Goto into James Nolan who was fighting for space with a Pine Richland defender and the ball was deflected onto the foot of Sean Atwater who rifled the winning shot from 27 yards out for the only goal. The Tigers will now face rival Seneca Valley for the championship.  The Tigers are on of three teams to score against Seneca Valley all season.  Pine Richland will move on to play Upper St. Clair for the #3 seed in the upcoming PIAA playoffs.

BOYS WPIAL CLASS 3-A Semifinals:

Chartiers Valley Colts 1 – Montour Spartans 0 
Baldwin was the site of Saturday’s WPIAL 3A Semi-final matchup between top seeded Montour and #5 seed Char Valley, a game that wasn’t decided until 7 minutes remained in double overtime as the Colts upset the Spartans behind Jake Hackett’s Golden Goal.  The game went back and forth early on as both teams searched for a score, but it was Montour that struck first scoring with 15:10 remaining in the 1st half on Mario Ulizzi’s deflection of a corner kick to put the Spartans in front. It remained 1-0 Montour until about midway of the second half when Jake Hackett, scored to tie the game and set off pandemonium in the Colt rooting section.  Both teams had chances in regulation, but could not score and the game headed into the first overtime period.  Again both teams had chances to put the game away, but stout defensive play and outstanding goaltending by Char Valley’s Caleb Zajicek and Montour’s Brian Duggin kept the score deadlocked. Things changed a bit in the second overtime as Char Valley looked to have won the game on a monster throw in by Kaleb Krebs that sailed over Montour defenders header attempts and keeper Duggin’s desperate lunge to punch it away, settling into the net. One official immediately signaled it had been tipped in which caused a massive celebration to take place as Char Valley players rushed the field. Montour players and coaches immediately protested that it had not been touched which would negate the goal. After a brief consultation, the correctly ruled that it had not been deflected and waved off the goal.  It only took about two minutes more of double overtime before Hackett buried a rebound into the open net to give the Colts the upset win and a trip to the WPIAL 3A Championship game at Highmark Stadium where they will face the Mars Planets.  Montour will still have one game remaining as they will face Thomas Jefferson in a play-in game to determine the 3rd representative from the WPIAL in the PIAA tournament.

Mars Fighting Planets 2 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars 1
Mars the #3 seed defeated #2 seed Thomas Jefferson 2-1 in a thrilling 3A WPIAL Boys Soccer semi-final match Saturday at Baldwin.  Both teams traded punches early on looking to capitalize early but outstanding goalie play by Mar’s German exchange student Emin Diren and TJ’s Colin Busok kept the scoreboard clean.  The game was played at a high tempo with quick offensive attacks and counterattacks keeping the fans on the edge of their seats.  Mars was finally able to break through with a goal at the 19:19 mark of the first half when DJ Carter was able to bury a rebound into the net to give the Planets a 1-0 lead.  Despite constant pressure from the Jaguars, Mars defense and goalkeeper Diren were able to hold onto the lead until 13:39 remained in the game when TJ’s Cole Lutz was able to just dribble the ball off the hands of Diren, a shot he would definitely want back, to tie the game at 1-1.  It looked as if the game would be a repeat of the first semi-final played Saturday between and head to overtime when Mars’ Zane Mundy made a great individual play taking a run down the right wing, working around a TJ defender and blasting a shot in the top of the net past Busok’s diving attempt at a save. The goal came with 4:51 remaining in the game and would hold up for the Planets as they advance to the WPIAL 3A Boys Soccer Championship game vs. Chartiers Valley at Highmark Stadium. TJ will have one game remaining next week as they take on Montour in a PIAA play in game to determine the WPIAL’s 3rd representative in the state playoffs.

BOYS WPIAL CLASS 2-A Semifinals:

Shady Side Academy Indians 1 – South Park Eagles 0 in Double Overtime
Eric Zhang’s goal with less than three minutes left in the second overtime period propelled Shady Side Academy to the WPIAL Championship Game, as the Indians knocked off top-seeded South Park 1-0. With the triumph in the Class AA semifinals at Peters Township High School, Shady Side Academy advances to face Quaker Valley for the gold. Zhang has displayed a flair for the dramatics in this postseason run for the No. 5 Indians, as he also notched the winner in double overtime in their quarterfinals match against Waynesburg. On this occasion, Zhang tracked a pass from teammate Wally Navid and outraced a defender. His shot from tight quarters snuck past South Park keeper Ted Ceccotti and into the net. Much earlier in the match, Shady Side Academy controlled the action in the first half, including a chance where the Indians struck the post. Aside from that chance, though, the Indians failed to direct any quality shots on net. In the second half, the play evened, as the Eagles’ defense tightened. Both squads had golden opportunities in the overtime, but could not capitalize. In addition to Zhang and Navid, Ben Ream and Patrick Hill-Junke turned in solid efforts for the Indians, while netminder Doran Kozel earned the shutout. South Park received strong contributions from Nate Kacey and Logan Mannheimer, among others. While the Indians will take to Highmark Stadium for the championship, South Park will play on Wednesday in the consolation match.

Quaker Valley Quakers 3 – Beaver Bobcats 2 
For the third time this season, Quaker Valley defeated their section rival Beaver, this time for a birth in the Boys Class-2A Championship. The Quakers opened the scoring in the 24th minute, as Ian Rodgers found the net off of the rebound of a shot from teammate Landon Grant.  The Bobcats would get the equalizer in the 35th minute when Zach Bowser scored on a re-direct off of a corner kick.  The score would stand at 1-1 at the half. In the 2nd half, Beaver would take the lead for the first time in the game in the 60th minute when Frank Sestito converted the rebound off of a shot from Anthony DiBenedetto to put the Bobcats up 2-1.  Quaker Valley knotted it up less than three minutes later though, as Rodgers found the net for the 2nd time in the 63rd minute.  The Quakers went ahead for good in the 71st minute, when Grant took a free kick from 30 yards out.  Grant’s kick was re-directed into the net on a header by Owen Harkins, putting Quaker Valley on top 3-2. With the win, the #2 seed Quaker Valley improved to 16-4-1 on the season.  The Quakers will take on #5 seed Shady Side Academy for the Class-2A Championship at Highmark Stadium.  Beaver (9-10-1) will try to keep their Cinderella story season alive in the Class-2A consolation game, where they will take on #1 seed South Park for a birth in the PIAA tournament.

BOYS WPIAL CLASS 1-A Semifinals:

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans 3 – Seton-LaSalle Rebels 0 
The Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans with a 3-0 victory today over the Seton LaSalle Rebels move on to the WPIAL boys single A  championship for the first time in school history. They out played a veteran Rebel team that won the WPIAL championship last year. CWNC started 2 freshman and 5 sophmores. A very young and fast squad they took the offense to Seton early. At 20:20 Braiden Wills scored off a free kick by header to make it 1-0. This spurred the Trojan attack as they kept the pressure on and at 27:50 their leading scorer Joe Kearney scored off his left foot in front from 10 yards out to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead. In the second half Seton would make a small push but to no avail. Cardinal Wuerl was too strong on defense. They stopped the Rebels from getting anything going offensively. Finally Nick Milas would score from 48 yards out on a free kick at 24:45 of the second half to give the Trojans a 3-0 lead. They would hold on and win it sending them to the championship game next week against the Sewickley Academy Panthers at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh on a date and time to be determined. CWNC out shot the Rebels 4-2, had 3 corner kicks to 1 for Seton, and had 9 scoring chances to just 4 for the Rebels. This young upstart team with only 1 senior and 2 junior starters is a fun team to watch.

Sewickley Academy Panthers 3 – Freedom Bulldogs 1 
For the third time in four seasons, Sewickley Academy will be playing for the WPIAL Championship, as for the 8th straight time the Panthers defeated their section rival Freedom. Sewickley Academy scored twice in :35 seconds in the 34th minute to put the game away.  The first goal came with 6:45 left in the opening half, as Mike Napoleone converted the rebound of a shot from Tommy Lasorda.  Then with 6:45 left in the first half it was Alex Gordon who put the Panthers up 2-0.  Gordon broke in behind the Freedom defense and blasted a left footed shot from the top of the goal box into the upper right corner of the net, scoring the game winning goal for the Panthers. Sewickley Academy would make it 3-0 in the 2nd half, as Lasorda headed home a corner kick in the 46th minute.  The Bulldogs would get on the board in the 60th minute when Jon Kaercher took a free kick from 50 yards out.  Kaercher’s kick would hit the cross bar, but Carson Gilarno would bang in the rebound to make the score 3-1, which would be the final tally for the game. With the win, the Panthers improved to 17-4-0 in 2016.  They’ll take on #4 seed Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic for the Class-1A championship at Highmark Stadium.  Freedom fell to 13-7-1 with the loss, but the Bulldogs will try to extend their season when they meet top seeded Seton-LaSalle in the Class-1A consolation game Tuesday for a birth in the PIAA tournament.


Norwin Knights 1 – Fox Chapel Foxes 0 
The #1 seeded Norwin Knights defeated the the #4 seeded Fox Chapel Foxes 1-0 in the Class 4A Girls soccer semifinal played Saturday at the Mars Athletic Complex. Norwin entered the match with a record of 18-0-1 and the decided favorite in this match. Fox Chapel played the Knights evenly in the first half, closely marking star Junior forward Emily Harrigan and the match was scoreless at halftime. Play continued to go back and forth between the two sides until Norwin started carrying the play around the 60th minute. Harrigan began to find space and run onto the end of long passes creating chances for the Knights. In the 74th minute, Harrigan nicely played a combination with Junior Midfielder Lexi Kendro and found herself finally free against Fox Chapel Sophomore goalkeeper Kate Feczko who aggressively came off her line. Harrigan was able to pick up her head while continuing to dribble and slotted home the only goal of the match, inside the left post. Norwin advances to the WPIAL 4A Championship for the second consecutive season.

Canon-McMillan Big Macs 2 – Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 1 in Double Overtime
The #2 seed Canon McMillan Big Macs held off a determined effort by #11 seed Mt. Lebanon to advance to the WPIAL 4A Girls Soccer Championship with a thrilling 2-1 double overtime victory in the nightcap of a triple header at Baldwin Saturday.  Mt. Lebanon had already knocked off the #6 and #3 seeds in their march through the playoffs and despite having lost twice to Canon Mac in the regular season were determined to keep playing on.  It was a defensive struggle for most of the first half with neither team gaining any real advantage until Aideen O’Donoghue was able to put a shot past Mt. Lebo goal keep Molly Merrick with 59 seconds remaining in the 1st half to give the Big Macs a 1-0 advantage.  It stayed that way in the second half and looked Canon Mac was set to advance when Mt. Lebo’s Sarah DelFrate slipped a shot past Big Mac Keeper Megan Virgin with 12 :12 remaining to knot the game at 1-1.  Despite flurries by both teams regulation time ended in a tie and the first OT ensued.  It looked like Canon Mac was going to advance again when Cheyenne Trest was awarded a Penalty Kick with under 4 minutes to play, but Molly Merrick made a diving save to her right to keep the game tied.  Then in the second OT the fates reversed as Mt. Lebo’s Julia LaLama was awarded a Penalty Kick and it seemed that the Blue Devils string of upsets would continue. But Big Mac keeper Megan Virgin made a diving save to her left and Canon Mac fans breathed a big sigh of relief. As was befitting of an exciting match like this, it ended on a great individual effort by Big Mac Sophomore Addie Roman. Roman made a long run down the right wing and was able to work her way past the Blue Devil defense to blast a shot past Merrick and send her team into the Championship game. Mt. Lebanon’s season will continue with a game next week vs. Fox Chapel to determine the 3rd team from the WPIAL to enter the state playoffs.  #2 seed Canon Mac will remain undefeated and head to a great WPIAL 4A Girls Soccer Championship matchup with undefeated #1 seed Norwin.


Moon Tigers 6 – Ambridge Bridgers 0 
At West Allegheny High School in the  Girls single A soccer semi finals, the Moon Tigers defeat the Ambridge Bridgers easily 6-0. Moon will now play in he finals next week at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh on a day and time to be determined against Montour. Things came easily for this powerful Moon squad as they scored three times in the first half. Abigael McEnroe scored the opener as she was wide open in front of the net to make it 1-0 at 7:19. Chloe Kuminkoski scored at 11:45 to make it 2-0, then at 26:37 Moon’s leading scorer Delaney Snyder went thru two Bridger defenders to score on a breakaway to make it 3-0 at the half. The second half was more of the same as Moon dominated play throughout. Delany would score her second goal to make it 4-0 at 3:15, Emma Thomas from the right side about 15 yards out at 8;44 would make it 5-0, then Mackenzie Sheldon would end the scoring on a nice turn around shot at 37;36 to make the final 6-0. Moon out shot Ambridge 15-3. They had 8 corner kicks to none for the Bridgers. In scoring chances Moon had 15 to Ambridges 3. The Tigers did everything right. Defensively they stepped up to stop Ambridge. In the middle field they moved the ball to the forwards, and the forwards moved the ball around with ease to set up opportunities all day long. These section rivals had previously played twice before with Moon winning both. Moon improves to 20-1 on the season while Ambridge falls to 12-6-2. The Bridgers will face South Park next week in a consolation game to determine who will go to the PIAA state playoffs.

Montour Spartans 2 – South Park Eagles 1 
Two years ago the Montour Spartans Girls Soccer Team had never won a playoff game. Saturday night Montour not only won a playoff game, but advanced to the WPIAL Class 3A Girls Soccer Championship at Highmark Stadium by defeating number two ranked South Park, 2-1. The Spartans struck first in 22nd minute off the foot of Senior Striker Olivia Muha. Montour would tally another goal 36 minutes later when Junior Molly Marcinko scored off a beautiful feed from Junior Midfielder Samantha White. South Park did score later in the second half, but couldn’t notch another goal before games end. Montour will battle Moon next weekend for the WPIAL Class 3A Girls Soccer Championship in Station Square.


Freedom Bulldogs 1 – Highlands Golden Rams 0 
Freedom posted their 13th shutout in 2016 and for the 2nd time this season defeated Highlands 1-0 to advance to the WPIAL Championship for the 2nd time in three seasons. The top seeded Bulldogs, who allowed only 8 goals coming into the semi finals, made the only goal of the game stand behind solid goaltending Jacklyn Hartle, who stopped all 10 shots that she faced. After a scoreless first half, Freedom struck in the 44th minute as Michaela Watkins netted the game winning goal.  Watkins took a pass from Sydney Cook up the left wing, then made a great individual effort to get around two Highlands defenders before faking out Golden Rams goalkeeper Samantha Gildner.  Hartle made sure that goal held up, as she made her biggest save of the game in the 56th minute, making a leaping save on Taylor Gunn’s header attempt. With the win, Freedom remains the only girls team in the WPIAL with a perfect record, improving to 19-0-0.  The Bulldogs will meet #2 Freeport for the Class-1A Championship at Highmark Stadium.  Highlands (12-3-3) will take on #3 seed Waynesburg for a spot in the PIAA tournament in the Class-1A consolation game on Tuesday.

Freeport Yellow Jackets 3 – Waynesburg Raiders 1 
The Freeport Yellow Jackets found a way to contain the high-powered Waynesburg offense, and advance to the WPIAL Championship game with a 3-1 win at Elizabeth-Forward.  Freeport mainly used great ball control and possession to keep Waynesburg from registering many scoring chances at all. The Yellow Jackets didn’t take long to get on the board when Piper Claypool lofted a 30-yard shot toward the Waynesburg goal. The shot had a perfect trajectory that put it out of reach of Waynesburg goalkeeper Emily McCarty and just under the crossbar as it came nearly straight down. The goal put the Yellow Jackets onto the board, just 3:08 into the game. While Freeport would continue to dominate possession throughout the first half, the game was mostly played just barely on the Waynesburg side of midfield. Freeport was mostly unable to sustain pressure deep in their attacking zone and only registered 3 shots on net for the half.  Waynesburg, who only managed 2 shots on net in the half relied on McCarty to keep it a 1-0 deficit as she stopped a point blank shot from Cameron Lindsay late. The second half would be more of the same as Freeport was able to tally an early goal.  Lindsay was racing alone to a loose ball approaching the Waynesburg net in the 4th minute of the half.  McCarty made the decision to try to beat Lindsay to the ball, and did.  Unfortunately for Waynesburg, McCarty whiffed as she tried to clear the ball away with a kick.  The ball ended up behind her and Lindsay was left all alone to pound the ball into the net, giving Freeport a commanding 2-0 lead.  Just a few minutes later, Kaylee Comperatore scored to essentially put the game away despite over 30 minutes still to play.  Waynesburg was able to break up the shut out on a fantastic effort by Madison Clayton who battled a defender and then controlled the ball up the goal line for a tight angle shot that beat Freeport keeper Cassie Suran.  However with only 5:33 left at that point, it was too little, too late for the Raiders.  The Freeport Girls advance to their first ever WPIAL Championship Game, where they will face Freedom.


Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 5 – Vincentian Academy Royals 0
Senior Bailey Cartwright scored her 58th, 59th and 60th goals of the season as top-seed Greensburg Central Catholic cruised to their 19th consecutive victory and earned another trip to the WPIAL Finals with a shutout win over Vincentian Academy Saturday afternoon at Elizabeth Forward High School. The Centurions are looking for a third straight district championship and their fifth in six years as they qualified for the title match for a sixth consecutive season.

Shady Side Academy Indians 3 – Bentworth Bearcats 1 
The Shady Side Academy Indians handed the Bentworth Bearcats its second loss of the season Saturday afternoon. To make matters worse for the Bearcasts, the loss was a semifinal matchup that sent the winner to Highmark Stadium to compete for the Class 2A WPIAL Championship. Bentworth got on the board first after a Shady Side Academy defender attempted to clear a loose ball but instead hit Bentworth Freshman Midfielder Rori Schreiber in the face resulting in the ball taking a Bearcat bounce in Montour’s net. Bentworth’s lead quickly evaporated after Shady Side Academy Senior Midfielder Paige Moritz scored in the 27th minute. Just six minutes later, Shady Side Academy notched another goal off the foot of Sophomore Midfielder Kystyna Rytel. Rytel would find the back of the net again at the beginning of the second half after an absolute blast of shot from 20 yards out. The Indians walked away with a 3-1 victory over the Bearcats, and will compete for the WPIAL Class 2A Championship next weekend at Highmark Stadium.

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