- High School
Tuesday was a big night for WPIAL fall sports postseason action. From the Quarterfinals in the WPIAL Girls Volleyball playoffs to the Semifinals in the WPIAL Boys and Girls Soccer playoffs, to gold delivered with the 2011 WPIAL Girls Field Hockey Class AAA and Class AA Championships. Here are recaps from the matches broadcast exclusively on the MSA Sports Network.
Thanks to Randy Gore, Greg Kuntz, Sam Hall, Josh Rowntree, Mike Azadian, Adam Hoerner, Jonathan Whaley, Bob Orkwis and Matt Vandriak for their help on these recaps.
WPIAL GIRLS FIELD HOCKEY CLASS AAA CHAMPIONSHIP:
Penn-Trafford Warriors 3 – North Allegheny Tigers 0
The Class AAA Field Hockey championship game was a rubber match between two familiar foes, and it was Penn-Trafford who knocked off the defending champion North Allegheny Tigers, 3-0, on Tuesday night. The Lady Warriors split regular season meeting with the Tigers, but grabbed the early momentum in this game on a goal by Sydney Pribanic off a penalty corner that put Penn-Trafford ahead, 1-0, with 24:24 on the first half clock. On another penalty corner at 15:07, Cornell University recruit Marissa Siergiej increased Penn-Trafford’s advantage to 2-0. Despite boasting the top goal scorer in the state in Carley Thieret, the Tigers could mount little offense against an air-tight Warriors defense that was supported by junior goalie Harry Kramer. Penn-Trafford put the game out of reach in the second half when Amanda Vines scored to bring the score to 3-0. Penn-Trafford improves to 17-1 on the season as North Allegheny ends the year with a 14-5 record.
WPIAL GIRLS FIELD HOCKEY CLASS AA CHAMPIONSHIP:
Shady Side Academy Indians 2 – Ellis School Tigers 1
Shady Side Academy won their 11th WPIAL Field Hockey championship by defeating the Ellis School Tigers on Tuesday night, 2-1. To win the Class AA title, the Indians had to go through the defending champs to do it and we locked in a defensive battle, tied 0-0 at halftime. Shady Side’s Audrey Buckman broke the tie at 26:58 in the second half to put the Indians in front, 1-0. Now trailing, Ellis School picked up the intensity and bombarded the Shady Side net until eventually tying the game at 1-1 on a tally by junior standout Shae LaPlace with 5:19 remaining in regulation. The game didn’t stay tied for long though, just 29 seconds in fact, as Sydney Mardoh quickly put Shady ahead to stay for a 2-1 victory. Shady Side remains undefeated at 14-0 on the year and Ellis School finishes the season with an 11-4 record, with three of their losses coming in one-goal defeats to the Indians.
WPIAL BOYS SOCCER CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS:
Upper St. Clair Panthers 1 - Seneca Valley Raiders 0
Both the Seneca Valley Raiders and the Upper St. Clair Panthers carried momentum into their showdown at Chartiers Valley. The Raiders had won 7 of 8 with their only loss coming at the hands of the Class AA Mars Planets. They had outscored their opponents 17-2 in that stretch. The Panthers meanwhile were riding a 13-game winning streak with their last loss coming September 17 against Bethel Park, 3-2, and outscoring their opponents 42-4 since then. Also playing a factor in this game was the absence of one of the main offensive threats for SV. Junior forward Ryan Vilella was sidelined for the second game in a row with an unspecified leg injury. Both teams relied heavily on their defenses throughout the year, and though Upper S. Clair had the better of the chances in the first half, Raiders senior keeper Brian Pudlo came up with some key saves and kept the ball out of the net. USC also played stellar defense in front of junior keeper Joe Conlon, keeping the 1st half scoreless between both teams. However, USC would score the only goal of the game in the 49th minute as senior halfback Steven Machi took advantage of a beautiful cross from junior halfback Ethan Dysert and drove the ball past Pudlo. The Panthers kept the strong defense going, but the Raiders would come close to tying the game in the 78th minute as junior halfback Anthony Crivelli took a hard shot at the USC net, but Conlon came out to play he ball and got a hand on the shot to deflect it away from the net. Upper St. Clair follows the Girls AAA team, who were victorious in the first half of the doubleheader from Chartiers Valley, in advancing to the Boys AAA Finals. The 16-1-2 Panthers also qualified for the PIAA State Playoffs with the victory. The SV Raiders put up a valiant effort, but their season ends at 14-7-0.
WPIAL BOYS SOCCER CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS:
PETERS TOWNSHIP 2 PITTSBURGH CENTRAL CATHOLIC 1 (S/O)
The famous line from the USA hockey team's stunning upset of Russia en route to a Gold Medal in 1980 was "Do you believe in miracles?". For the Peters Township boys soccer team and all of their fans, the answer is a resounding "YES". Down 1-0 in the final seconds of regulation, the Indians found a small miracle in the form of Matt Vananzi. With :10 seconds left, the Indians Neil Harrison had a throw in from 30-yards out. Harrison threw the ball directly into the Central Catholic goal box. After bouncing off of several players, Vananzi found the loose ball in front of the goal and scored the equalizing goal with 1.5 seconds left on the clock, sending the game into OT and the Peters Township players and fans into a frenzy. The Vikings scored the first goal of the game early in the 2nd half, as Zachary Broujos scored in the 46th minute. It looked like that would be enough for Central Catholic to win their 15th consecutive game, until Vananzi's heroics in the final seconds. Despite giving up the late goal, the Vikings remained composed as the teams battled through two overtime periods without scoring. After 120-minutes of soccer without a winner decided, the game came down to penalty kicks. Peters Township shot first, and Zach Partyka beat Vikings goalkeeper Brenden Alfery. Mitchell House would shoot next for Central Catholic, but his shot was too high and went over the net. The next shooter for the Indians was Vananzi, who came through in the clutch again, beating Alferey to give Peters Township a 2-0 lead. Central Catholic's top scorer, Zachary Johnson shot next, but Peters Township goalkeeper Christopher Gagianas dove right and stopped Johnson's shot. Mark Enscoe would then strike for the Indians, giving them a 3-0 lead. With that, Central Catholic had to score to keep their season alive, but it was Gagianas who would be the hero this time, as he dove left to deny the Vikings Teddy Larkin and clinch the win for Peters Township. Peters Township (14-5-1) will look to win back to back WPIAL titles and their third championship in four years when they battle South Hills rival Upper St. Clair as part of Super Soccer Saturday. It was a disappointing ending for Pittsburgh Central Catholic (18-2-0), who lost for the first time since September 10th.
WPIAL BOYS SOCCER CLASS AA SEMIFINALS:
Hampton Talbots 2 - Ringgold Rams 1 in Overtime
If there was one team capable of derailing Hampton's (20-1-0, 13-1-0) bid to compete in the 2011 WPIAL Final and defends its title, the smart money would have been on Ringgold (17-1-1, 12-0-0). After all, what better counter to the 107 goals scored by the Talbots to this point than a Rams team which had allowed only two all year, not to mention 16 shutouts? And for 79 minutes, it looked like Ringgold would pull off the mild upset and guarantee us a new champion in Class AA, but the champs are still here after a 2-1 overtime thriller. Ringgold started the scoring in the 14th minute when Skyler Fransko got sprung behind the defense and beat goalkeeper Tyler Miller to the far post. The Rams had two more quality chances in the 23rd and 35th minutes, but it remained 1-0 at halftime. The physical play increased as the first half wore one and continued in the second with several yellow cards issued on both sides. One of those resulted in Ringgold's best chance for a 2-0 lead in the 61st minute when Skyler Zimmerman centered one that Fransko headed just over the top corner. The bulk of the second half offense came from Hampton, though, and just when it seemed they were out of chances, Jonathan Mercier headed one past the defense to Justin Carter on the doorstep for an easy finish and a tied score with under two minutes to play in regulation. Carter nearly won it four minutes into overtime, but it would ultimately be Mercier who drilled one into the top far corner from the left wing in the 90th minute. Mercier then led the charge over to the Hampton section of the stands and received the school's "dog bone" as a celebratory gesture from Athletic Director Bill Cardone. The Talbots will defend their gold medals against Belle Vernon on Saturday.
WPIAL GIRLS SOCCER CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS:
PETERS TOWNSHIP 4 PENN-TRAFFORD 1
Peters Township will be looking to go "back to back" at Super Soccer Saturday after defeating Penn-Trafford 4-1 at Baldwin Stadium. The defending WPIAL and PIAA champs scored four times in the 1st half to knock out Penn-Trafford. The Indians jumped to a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute when Veronica Latsko, who finished 2nd in the WPIAL in regular season scoring, buried Morgan Creehan's pass into the left corner of the net behind Penn-Trafford goalkeeper Kayla DiPaolo. In the 24th minute Latsko was able to gain control of a bouncing ball in the Warriors goal box and set up Emily Franty who's floating high shot beat DiPaolo to make it 2-0. The Indians would score the prettiest goal of the night in the 34th minute, when Franty one-timed a perfect pass from Latsko to complete a tic-tac-toe passing play. Franty's 2nd goal of the night made it 3-0 Peters Township. Just over 2 minutes later, Olivia Roberson would strike after an Indians corner kick to make the score 4-0 in the 37th minute. Peters Township goalkeeper Madison Creehan turned aside all 4 shots she faced in the opening half, including a diving save on Penn-Trafford's leading scorer Jamie Beretta in the early minutes of the contest. Creehan would be replaced by Megan Parker in the 2nd half, and Parker was perfect as well until the final minute, when Penn-Trafford's Kara Novotny struck with :49 seconds remaining after Peters Township couldn't clear a Warriors corner kick. Parker turned aside 4 of the 5 shots she faced in the 2nd half. Peters Township (16-2-1) now moves on to the Class-AAA title game for the 4th consecutive year where they will meet their "Route 19 Rival" in Upper St. Clair on Saturday. Penn-Trafford (17-4-0) will move onto to the PIAA playoffs as one of Class-AAA's four WPIAL qualifying teams.
WPIAL GIRLS SOCCER CLASS AAA SEMIFINALS:
Upper St. Clair Panthers 1 – North Allegheny Tigers 0
The third-seeded Panthers came into the contest with a strong defensive unit, allowing only 8 goals in 19 contests in 2011. North Allegheny has been nicknamed the “Cardiac Cats” as the Tigers had won 5 OT games on the season and 3 others in the final minute. With that said, a tight match was expected and a tight match was what the fans got at Chartiers Valley High School. Upper St. Clair junior forward Carley Bogan got the games first quality scoring chance, bearing down on NA sophomore keeper Maddie Martin in the games sixth minute. Martin was up to the task, making a fine save, but the ball caromed off of her hands and over top of the goal to set up a corner kick for the Panthers. Bogan, denied in close, would not be denied on the ensuing corner, as she snuck her shot inside the far post from the near corner to net the games only goal. The staunch USC defense, despite allowing 8 shots, would make that tally stand up for the victory. Junior goalkeeper Jocelyn Alfera notched her 14th shutout of the season and the clean sheet was the fourth consecutive posted by Upper St. Clair. The Panthers now have allowed only 5 goals in their last 12 games. North Allegheny dropped to (13-8) on the year, but the Tigers have clinched a spot in the PIAA playoffs. NA will represent District 7 (The WPIAL) as either the 3rd or 4th seed in the state tournament. Upper St. Clair, 10-1-1 in their last 12 contests, improved to (17-2-1) on the season. The Panthers will play for the WPIAL Class AAA championship for the first time since 2007, when USC lost to Seneca Valley. Upper St. Clair will try for its eighth WPIAL title and first since 2002 when they face Peters Township on Super Soccer Saturday at either Elizabeth Forward or Baldwin High School at a time to be determined.
WPIAL GIRLS SOCCER CLASS AA SEMIFINALS:
Mars Planets 3 - Elizabeth-Forward Warriors 0
The most successful season in the program's history for the #13 seeded Elizabeth-Forward Warriors came to an end in Tuesday night's WPIAL Class AA girls soccer semifinals to the #1 seeded and defending WPIAL Class AA Champion Mars Planets at North Allegheny High School's Newman Stadium. Elizabeth Forward had upset two higher seeded teams to arrive at this semifinal Southmoreland (1-0 in the first round on penalty kicks) and Knoch (3-1 in the quarterfinals). Mars did not take the Warriors lightly and it was demonstrated by their play. The "Fightin" Planets played their usual ball possession and attacking style to advance to Saturday's final with a 3-0 victory over the Warriors. Mars head coach Blair Gerlach's outfit played a physical game "all over the field" and kept Elizabeth-Forward bottled up in their defensive zone all match long. In fact, the Warriors did not record a single shot on goal! Mars lineup includes (4) players who tallied (16) or more goals in the regular season, led by senior, Mani Brueckner with (33), sophomore, Karli Paracca (18), senior, Kristen Check (16) and senior, Kristen McKenzie (16). However, it was senior, Crysta Ganter (Slippery Rock University recruit) who scored the first and winning goal in this match with 32:05 remaining in the first half. In the second half, Kristen McKenzie added the insurance marker with 36:30 left in the second half and Mani Brueckner (Gannon University recruit) tallied a penalty kick with 12:41 left in the second half to complete the Planets scoring. Sophomore goalkeeper, Sarah Dailey registered her (16th) shutout of the season. Mars increases their overall record to 20-0-1and will face # 2 seed South Park for the WPIAL Class AA Title on Saturday. Elizabeth-Forward's overall record drops to 12-8-1and they await the results of that championship match to see whether they are the third or fourth seed out of District 7 in the upcoming PIAA Class AA tournament.
WPIAL GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CLASS AAA QUARTERFINALS:
North Allegheny Tigers 3 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 1
North Allegheny used their size and depth to wear down Upper Saint Clair in a girls volleyball quarter final match at Chartiers Valley high school Tuesday night. The Tigers and Panthers were very evenly matched through the first two games with North Allegheny eeking out a close 25-23 decision in the opening set. USC was able to recover from that, and rebound for a thrilling 26-24 win in game two. But the Tigers were bigger and stronger and maybe more importantly a lot deeper on the bench for head coach Heidi Miller and that showed through as USC looked markedly fatigued in falling in sets three and four, by scores of 25-17 and 25-16 respectively, to be eliminated. North Allegheny had a run of seven straight points in game three to go from trailing 8-6 to leading 13-8. Their best run of the night game in game four when they rattled off nine straight points to turn the tide of what was a 7-6 deficit into a 15-7 lead, from there it was just a matter of time as USC never had any run of more than four points in a row, and never managed more than three in a row in eithe game three or four. The Tigers move on to the semis finals for a second straight season. North Allegheny was lead up front by sophomore Erin Swartz who had a big game along with outside hitters Danielle Wall and Claire Bradshaw. In the back junior libero Kristen Mitchel had a fantastic night getting to ball after ball as she literally mopped the floor with her body diving time and time again to save points for the Tigers. USC got tremendous work from seniors Maggie Slowey, Kelsey Michenko and Caitlyn Ollendyke but in the end the deth on the Tiger's side clearly wore out the smaller Panthers. The Tigers will face the Pine-Richland Rams in the semi-finals on Thursday night for a shot at playing for the AAA championship Saturday on the MSA Sports Network.
WPIAL GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CLASS AAA QUARTERFINALS:
Seneca Valley Raiders 3 - Baldwin Highlanders 0 (25-10) (25-13) (25-22)
Seneca Valley continued their dominance of WPIAL AAA volleyball Tuesday night at North Hills High School, dismantling Baldwin, 3-0. The second-seeded Raiders, who easily won the height battle, destroyed seventh-seeded Baldwin 25-10 in game one. Baldwin improved slightly in game two, but ultimately lost 25-13, in similar fashion. The Highlanders would battle hard in game three, fighting for their season. They would keep the game close, despite never leading and ultimately fall 25-22, losing the match 3-0. Seneca Valley, with their seemingly endless supply of 6-footers at the net, was just too much for the Highlanders, who have no starters over 5'9". The Raiders had four players with at least six kills and got fine efforts from Cate Seman (11 kills) and Abbie Trecziak (7 kills, 6 service points). Baldwin got a tremendous performance from Nicole Wallace (9 kills) who kept the Highlanders in the match in game three. Seneca Valley is back in the semifinals, where they have been every year since 2005. They await the winner of #3 Penn-Trafford and #6 Mount Lebanon, who they will meet on Thursday night for the right to go to the WPIAL Championship for the third-straight season.
WPIAL GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CLASS AAA QUARTERFINALS:
Pine-Richland Rams 3 – Peters Township Indians 0
In the second game of a double header at North Allegheny High School, the number one seed Pine Richland Rams cruised to an easy 3-0 match win in the WPIAL Girls AAA Volleyball playoffs over the Peters TWP Indians. In game one it was ugly for the Indians as the Rams were dominant. every mistake Peters made the Rams pounced on. It was 20-2 before long as Pine Richland had runs of three, seven and ten points to take a commanding lead. Abby Dix was serving during a ten point rush and the Rams were solid up front on defense and offense with Hannah Muzzionigro,a Notre Dame recruit, Caitlyn Sciosia, Chloe Dipasquale, Dix, and Sophomore Gabby Olson. Their height advantage was evident as they spurned Indians spike attempts, and on offense used Muzzinegro's setting to blast spikes toward the Peters court. The final in game one was 25-7 but it really wasn't that close. In game two the Indians were more solid on defense and got good all around play from Seniors Gabrilla Santa Lucia,Sarah Grippi and Madison Mincone. It was 10-8 Rams hen the game turned Pine Richalnd's way. Their offense and front court took over and they would score thirteen of the next nineteen points to go up 23-14. The Indians wouldn't die and came back with impressive defense to cut the lead to 24-22, outscoring the Rams 8-1 with two separate 4 point runs but it was a little too late as Pine Richland held on for a 25-22 game two win. In game three it was close early as both teams were strong and no one would give in. Tied at 6-6 the rams took the lead. The Indians stayed close and with the game 14-11 Rams, Olson scored on a vicious spike and it seemed to take the life from the Indians. Pine Richland would score nine straight points to lead 23-11 and win easily 25-13. In both game two and three the Indians held it close till mid game but the older veteran Rams with 7 upperclassmen left from last years championship team were too strong for a young up and coming Peter Twp squad. The Rams will move on to the semi finals and take on North Allegheny the number five seed on Thursday November 3rd at North Hills High School.
WPIAL GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS:
West Allegheny Indians 3 - Knoch Knights 1 (25-14) (19-25) (25-22) (25-21)
West Allegheny was pushed hard, but came away with a 3-1 Quarterfinal win over the Knoch Tuesday night at North Hills High School. After cruising through Derry in the first round, the second-seeded Inidans got a much tougher test from the very ready, seventh-seeded Knights. It didn't look like this would be the case after game one. West Allegheny scored 16 of the final 22 points and took game one, 25-14. Knoch would answer though. After the Indians built a 16-11 lead, the Knights would score ten-straight, making it 21-16 before winning game two, 25-19. What proved to be a critical back-and-forth game three was taken by West Allegheny, 25-22, giving them a 2-1 lead. Knoch would keep fighting, battling back from a 22-13 deficit in game four to cut the lead to 20-17, but West Allegheny was just too much and won the game 25-21 and the match 3-1. The Indians got tremendous efforts from their trio of Seniors at the net in Jaclyn Placha (9 kills, 4 service points), Morgan Seybold (21 kills) and Barb Lesko (19 kills, 2 service points). Celina Sanks contributed 17 kills and 4 service points for the Knights. West Allegheny moves on to familiar territory, the WPIAL AA Semifinals, where they have been the past seven seasons. Thursday night, they will play the winner of the Freeport-Mars matchup
WPIAL GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS:
Hopewell Vikings 3 – Ambridge Bridgers 0
At North Allegheny High School in the WPIAL Girls AA Volleyball Quarterfinals the Hopewell Vikings the number one seed cruised to a 3-0 match win. In game one it was close early as the Bridgers played good defense and the game was tied 5-5, but Hopewell would go on runs. First it was only two or three point runs, then then a four pointer to go up 13-7. Isabella Vavrek was a big difference for the Vikings on defense and offensively she set the tone. Monet Smith was setting the ball perfectly for her and they pulled away with a 25-15 game one win. The Bridgers had many unforced errors to contribute to the Vikings win. In game two the Bridgers went out to a 5-1 lead. They were led by Kristin Collins on offense, and Abby Brewer setting and defensively in the back court. Down early Hopewell head coach terry Borkovic called a time out, and that changed momentum. The Vikings scored eight straight points to take a 9-5 lead and they would never look back winning game two 25-16. Shatori Kimbrough the thre sport star for the Vikings was a force on offense, and Mackenzie Biggs provided front court strength as well. In game three Hopewell dominated early as Courtney Kress a senior leader provided front court strength and Alexis Rains and Taylor Belcastro were solid in the back court on defense as Hopewell ran ou to a 10-4 lead. Rains was a big support for Hopewell as she provided two long services where the Vikings gained points. The Bridgers came back to close the gap on solid front court play by Destiny Tucker and Alexis Hizendeger and Ambridge trailed 14-12. At this point the referees decided to replay a volley that seemed to be a Bridger point that would have made it 14-13. This changed everything as Hopewell would score eight of the next ten points to go up 22-14. Ambridge fought back valiantly but couldn't close the gap and ran out of time. Hopewell wins game three 25-21. The Vikings head to the WPIAL AA semifinals on Thursday November 3rd at North Allegheny High School and will play the winner of the Blackhawk Montour match.