Seton-LaSalle (8-2, 6-1 – 1A, Section 4) at Shady Side Academy (5-2-1, 5-2-1 – 2A, Section 2)
Saturday, September 29 – Shady Side Academy – 11 am kickoff
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Spencer Witt – play-by-play on Facebook Live
John Krysinsky – reporting
Ed Thompson – photography
There was once a time when Shady Side Academy and Seton-LaSalle boys soccer programs that each boast successful and long-standing traditions, were seeing a lot of each other playing in the same classification for much of the 2000s.
Those times have changed, and since 2009, when Shady Side opted to play up a level into 2A classification, the two schools went their separate ways on the soccer field.
On Saturday, These two programs will renew acquaintances in a non-section match that will be part of Shady Side’s Annual Homecoming festivities.
“(Seton-LaSalle head coach) Ryan (Kelly) and I said to each other, why aren’t we playing each other,” Ed Ellsworth, Shady Side coach, said. “They’re a traditional power, it’s exciting to go outside section, classifications to play games like this
“We have competitive games in our section, but sometimes from top-to-bottom, it’s not competitive enough, and games like this, we try to schedule,” Kelly said. “It makes sense to play a team like Shady Side. It’ll be a measuring stick for us. They’re a quality team — and we’re going to figure out where we are.”
Both programs have won WPIAL titles in recent years.
Remarkably, for a program that’s been around for more than 100 years (and only has competed in WPIAL for the past 25 years), Shady Side won it’s first-ever district title last Fall in a remarkable match under Ellsworth’s guidance, knocking off the eventual PIAA champions, Quaker Valley, 3-2 in double overtime.
Trailing by a goal in the very late stages, the Indians scored the equalizer late in the second half on a long throw-in, and bicycle kick attempt.
Not to be outdone, they did it again, on a long throw and bicycle attempt near far post that was actually knocked in by defender in overtime to score the walk-off, golden goal.
Ellsworth has brought back eleven seniors from that squad including some of the heroes from that game including Wally Navid, Max Farner, Gunnar Pipitone and Adrian Beckford.
Much like a season ago, the Indians have a few hiccups in the regular season in the form of loss and draw against section rival Deer Lakes, and a close overtime loss against Freeport.
“The regular season prepares us for the rigors of the playoffs,” Ellsworth explained, as a year ago, Shady Side squeaked into the playoff tournament in 2A as a 15th seed, and won the entire tournament.
“We’re playing well right now. We’ve had a couple of tough losses, but we have a ton of senior experience. Hopefully we’ll get two more shots at Deer Lakes.”
Seton-LaSalle last won the WPIAL title in Class A in 2015 — also on a golden goal in overtime. They’ve remained as one of the top teams in the classification.
The Rebels are led by captains Chris Sigg, Kellen Krebs and Kyle Killen.
Domenic Viskovicz is the team’s fourth captain, but sustained a season-ending leg injury suffered in game vs Monessen on September 11.
Sam Reinhart has been Seton LaSalle’s primary goalkeeper, with three clean sheets thus far this season (had 12 in 2017). Krebs, a two-time all-WPIAL selection, was was Section Player of the Year in 2017 and currently has five goals and two assists. Sigg was also an all-WPIAL selection in 2017.
Having breakout seasons for the Rebels include Tyler Stack, a junior, who is tied for team lead with eight goals and also has eight assists, TJ Cherry (seven goals and nine assists), and Ethan Gardner (seven goals and seven assists).
“In recent seasons, we’ve been more top-heavy with scoring, but this year we’re more spread out,” Kelly said. “I’ve been pretty pleased with where we are as we might be more of a complete team.”
The game will be played as part of Shady Side’s annual homecoming festivities — that include all Fall sports being played on campus on the same day.