WPIAL Soccer Semifinals Recaps From 10/31
Thursday, November 1, 2012 | 12:42 AM
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Pushed back 24 hours and playing in a cold steady drizzle on Halloween, it was easy to think this was some dirty trick, but for 12 WPIAL soccer teams, 10/31 was one big giant treat. Those are the teams that picked up Semifinals victories and advance to play for district gold on Super Soccer Saturday. Here are recaps from the six broadcasts Wednesday here on the MSA Sports Network.
Thanks to Bob Orkwis, Matt Vandriak, Rick Smith and Greg Kuntz for the great help on these recaps!
BOYS CLASS AAA:
Upper St. Clair Panthers 2 – Pine–Richland Rams 1
Thanks to a great thrower and a nifty header, the defending WPIAL Class AAA Boys Soccer Champions will get a chance to defend their title. Sophomore midfielder Garrett Blake, whose throws are a definite weapon for the Panthers, got a late opportunity deep inside Pine-Richland’s zone. Blake’s throw from the near sideline reached the 12-yard mark, where senior forward Ethan Dysert rose up from a crowd of players to deflect the ball with a back header. The tip was enough to beat Rams goalkeeper Grant Goldberg inside the far post in the 73rd minute and give Upper St. Clair the victory. The teams traded tremendous goals in the first half. The Panthers got on the scoreboard first on a great set up from junior midfielder Troy Kiernan. Kiernan came streaming down the right wing and after some deft dribbling, sent a cross towards the far post. Sophomore midfielder Robbie Mertz was waiting and right footed the ball past Goldberg for a 1-0 USC lead 12 minutes into the contest. But Pine-Richland had the answer in the games 27th minute on an equally impressive play. Upper St. Clair was whistled for a foul in its own end and the Rams converted on a beautiful set piece. Senior forwards Victor Osio and Michael Jones both set up near the ball at the 18-yard mark on the near sideline. Osio moved towards the ball but stepped over it and into space near the top of the penalty area. Jones laid a beautiful pass for Osio to strike with his right foot just inside the near post past Panthers goalkeeper Joe Conlon to tie the game at 1-all. That score would last until Ethan Dysert would head the Panthers back into the title game for the second straight season and third time since 2009 when they finished as the runner up. 2nd seeded Upper St. Clair improved to (18-1-1) and will now face the tournaments Cinderella team in the championship match on Saturday. The (17-4) Canon-McMillan Big Macs, the tournaments 13th seeded team, upset the 1st seed Peters Township 2-1 to gain a spot opposite of Upper St. Clair in the championship game. The site and time are to be determined for that match. Pine-Richland, seeded 3rd, now faces top seeded Peters Township in the consolation match on Saturday. The winner of that match gains a spot in the PIAA Playoffs as the third team from the WPIAL along with the Panthers and the Big Macs.
BOYS CLASS AA:
Mars Fighting Planets 2 – Belle Vernon Leopards 1
On a cold, wet, and windy night at Antimarino Stadium on the campus of Gateway High School, defense "rained" supreme as the #2 seed Planets knocked off upset minded #11 seed Belle Vernon. The Planets defense provided an unbelievable effort, holding the Leopards to 1 shot and just 2 scoring chances, while their top scorer provided all the offense Mars would need. Spencer Posey struck with the game’s first goal in the 16th minute, putting Mars up 1-0. But that lead was short lived, as Belle Vernon's top scorer, Dave Wormlinger, scored in the 19th minute. 1-1 is where the teams stood at the half. Posey played his part in the game winning goal as well, as he re-directed a pass to Matt White. Despite the ball bouncing high, White floated a shot into the Leopards net, putting the Planets ahead to stay 2-1, in the 74th minute. The Leopards never had a chance to get the equalizer, as Mars held them without a shot in the entire second half. Mars (18-2-1,) will try to win the schools 3rd WPIAL title in five seasons as they head to Super Soccer Saturday. Mars were WPIAL champions in both 2008 and 2009. Belle Vernon (14-4-0), will try to keep their season alive when they play in the Class-AA consolation game. With a win, the Leopards would advance to the PIAA tournament for the 3rd consecutive season. Belle Vernon was the WPIAL runner-up in 2011.
BOYS CLASS A:
Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions 2 – Sewickley Academy Panthers 1
Top seeded and previously undefeated Sewickley Academy (17-1-1) had allowed only three goals the entire season. The Panthers had also recorded fifteen shutouts entering Wednesday night’s WPIAL Boys Class A semi-final playoff match-up held at Fridley Field at Hampton High School. By halftime, #4 Greensburg Central Catholic (15-4-1) made that a distant memory, however, tallying a pair of goals in the first half hour of the game and then holding on for a 2-1 win to advance to the title game on Saturday against Riverside, a 2-1 winner over Serra Catholic in the other Class A semifinal. The Centurions took the lead as senior defenseman Devon Nguyen launched a seemingly harmless ball from midfield that squirted through the hands of Sewickley Academy goalkeeper Hayden Moyer and into the back of the net during the game’s fourteenth minute. Then at the thirty minute mark, senior midfielder Dakota Randolph centered a deflected corner kick to sophomore forward Adam Tucker to give Greensburg Central Catholic a 2-0 lead at intermission. In an effort to protect the lead, the Centurions went into a defensive shell in the second half, often packing nine players into their own penalty area. The Panthers’ Steve Munn quickly brought that strategy into question as the senior midfielder netted a goal in the contest’s forty-fifth minute. But the stingy Greensburg Central Catholic defenders, led by senior goalkeeper David Kossol repelled a furious and continuous Sewickley Academy onslaught over the game’s final 35 minutes to preserve the upset victory.
GIRLS CLASS AAA:
Seneca Valley Raiders 1 – Bethel Park Blackhawks 0
Many times in a closely contested game between evenly matched teams, one opportunity is sometimes all that is presented and sometimes one opportunity is all that it takes. The opportunity for Seneca Valley came on a corner kick in the games 73rd minute. Kent State bound senior Morgan Williams; the Raiders top goal scorer started the play from the far corner. Her cross was settled by freshman midfielder Carline Miller and the loose ball found its way onto the right foot of another freshman, defender Lexus Lambert. Much like the car, Lambert was smooth as she found the top far corner of the net over Bethel Park goalkeeper Alycia Jimenez for the games only score. The corner kick by Williams was the fourth of the game for the Raiders who out chanced and outshot Bethel Park on the way to the win. Sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Neill made five stops in the net to post Seneca Valleys 7th shutout in the last 9 games and its 11th of the season. The 2nd seeded Raiders have allowed just one goal through three playoff games and just 12 on the campaign. The Blackhawks, who were making their first ever appearance in the semifinals, fell to (19-2) but the best season in the history of the girls’ soccer program is not over. The 3rd seeded Blackhawks still have a chance to qualify for the PIAA playoffs for the first time by winning a consolation match on Saturday. Bethel Park will face the 5th seeded Gateway Gators for the right to become the third seeded team from the WPIAL – District 7 in the state playoffs. For Seneca Valley and head coach Dave Sylvester, it’s another shot at WPIAL gold. The Raiders senior class captured the gold medal in 2009 as freshman and will be trying for the programs third girls’ soccer championship. Seneca Valley’s quest will not be easy, as the Raiders (19-1) will face the top seeded Peters Township Indians, also (19-1). Seneca Valley and Peters Township will do battle on Super Soccer Saturday for the Class AAA WPIAL Girls Soccer Championship at a site and time to be determined.
GIRLS CLASS AA:
Mars Fighting Planets 2 – Belle Vernon Leopards 1
The chance to "Three-Peat" as WPIAL Champions is on the horizon for the Mars Planets at Super Soccer Saturday. The top seeded Planets used a dominating defensive effort to knock out #5 seed Belle Vernon 2-1 at Antimarino Stadium in Monroeville. With the after effects of Hurricane Sandy leaving a cold, rainy, and windy night to play on, the Planets continued their 18 game unbeaten streak. The only goal of the first half came in the 17th minute, as Lydia Dennis connected for the Planets. The real story of the opening half was Mars controlling play so well they held Belle Vernon without a shot through the first 40-minutes. The Planets would build a 2-0 lead in the 65th minute as Karli Paracca found the net. But Belle Vernon had a response less than 2-minutes later, as Samantha Mendicino last touched a loose ball in the 67th minute. But that was as close as the Leopards could get, as Mars stifling defense held on for the final 12-minutes en route to the win. Mars (18-1-1) will try to win their 3rd consecutive WPIAL Class-AA title as part of Super Soccer Saturday. The Planets are also the defending PIAA champions. Belle Vernon (17-3-1) will play in the Girls-AA consolation game with a chance to earn a PIAA playoff berth.
GIRLS CLASS A:
Greensburg Central Centurions 3 – Shady Side Academy Indians 1
The Greensburg Central Catholic Lady Centurions are in position to defend their WPIAL Class A Title with a 3-1 victory over the Shady Side Academy Lady Indians in the Semifinal round. The scoring got underway in the 14th minute as Malea Fabean took a lead pass from a free kick and dribbled past two SSA defenders to bury a shot past SSA netminder Olivia Cochran for the early 1-0 lead. A little over 4 minutes later, Maggie Scott would tie the game by beating GCC's Olivia Binda. The Lady Centurions , however, would turn the 2nd half into the Frannie & Malea Show as twice Fabean would feed Frannie Crouse for goals to put the Lady Centurions up for good, the first goal coming in the 51st minute, the other coming in the 70th. The defending champions move on to Super Soccer Saturday as do the Lady Indians, but SSA can still clinch a PIAA berth with a win in the consolation match.
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