Niko Marsh scored three goals to lead Pine-Richland past Penn-Trafford on Wednesday (Photo Courtesy Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Pine-Richland’s Niko Marsh‘s hat-trick led the Rams over Penn-Trafford at Fridley Field Stadium in Hampton on Wednesday.
After an absence from the WPIAL playoffs since 2011, long-time Rams Head Coach Jon Connor what he described as his “determined bunch” — as a surprise team heading to the 4A semifinals — along with two other teams from its section, Seneca Valley and North Allegheny.
I had a chance to catch up with Connor and the hero of the game, Marsh, after the game.
Marsh, a sophomore midfielder, scored twice in the first half, with a clinical finish from the right side in the 8th minute, then pounced on a loose ball in the box in the 28th minute.
After Penn-Trafford responded in the 61st minute on a Austin Mossellem‘s header, Marsh sealed the win with his third goal after his breakaway attempt was denied by Penn-Trafford goalkeeper Zach Werksman, he poked in the loose ball.
Penn-Trafford will now face North Allegheny in the Class 4A semifinal on Saturday. Top-seeded Seneca Valley will face the only non-Section 1 team remaining, Upper St. Clair.
John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).