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WPIAL Soccer

Seton-LaSalle spoils Shady Side’s homecoming with 2-0 non-section win


Seton-LaSalle 2, Shady Side Academy 0


It had been nearly 10 years since Seton-LaSalle and Shady Side Academy boys soccer teams faced each other, but when they finally renewed acquaintances, the results remained the same.

In four matches played in a three year span in the late 2000’s, including WPIAL and PIAA playoff games, Seton-LaSalle had beaten Shady Side by scores of 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 and 4-0.

Fast forward nine years on a splendid Fall day as part of Shady Side’s annual Homecoming festivities, Seton-LaSalle triumphed again in an open-ended, fast-paced match, 2-0, led by goals from Kellen Krebs and Gabe Rosario, along with some outstanding defensive play and goalkeeping from Sam Reinhart to pick up its fourth clean sheet of the season.

“It was a pretty even game, and we were fortunate to capitalize on some chances,” Ryan Kelly, Seton-LaSalle’s head coach, said. “That’s why we want to play these games. We were evenly matched, and we can see how we can muscle out a win. Hats off to those guys. They’re a good team and they really challenged us in some spots.”

Kelly knew his team, one of the top teams in Class 1A, was in for tough road challenge, taking on a Shady Side squad that has many returning players from its WPIAL boys 2A championship a year ago.

Sure enough, Shady Side came out at the start of the match looking solid in possession, and had most of the chances in the game’s first 20 minutes.

Despite decent bouts of knocking the ball around and giving Seton-LaSalle some fits with its high pressure mostly from forward Max Farner and Wally Navid roaming high in Shady Side had trouble penetrating past the Rebels’ back line. Seton-LaSalle were winning those battles, then found dangerous chances on the counter attack.

Krebs, who has taken a lesser scoring role early in his senior campaign (now six goals and three assists) after earning Section Player of the Year honors a year ago, was one of the primary nuisances that the Indians were dealing with on the day, winning balls away from Shady Side midfielders.

It remained a scoreless affair through much of the first half, thanks mostly to some outstanding goalkeeping on both sides.

First, Shady Side’s Bruce David would bail out his team, after a handball was called in the box in the 20th minute.

David stopped Ethan Gardner‘s penalty kick attempt to keep the match without a goal.

“That was a great save by Bruce David on the PK,” Ed Ellsworth, Shady Side coach said. “Our keepers have saved three of them this year.”

Not much later, Shady Side almost got the go-ahead goal on a free kick from very close range.

SSA’s Kenny Sherigill‘s free kick attempt just outside the left corner of the box was heading into the left side of goal, but Seton-LaSalle’s keeper Sam Reinhart was up to the task.

“We’ve had some issues in the past where we lose track of marks, and no one else is there to make the save,” Kelly said. “Sam came up with some big stops today, especially on set pieces.”

In a game with as much back-and-forth action going both ways, it was just a matter of time before someone scored.

The Rebels cashed in just before the half on a set-piece opportunity.

Earning a free kick right on the arc, it was Krebs who blasted a shot that bounced off the Shady Side wall lined up deep inside the box.

Krebs quickly reacted to the ball that bounced back his way, and found room in the left side of the goal.

“I found a spot where the keeper had no chance to get it,” Krebs said.

In a match between two teams that will likely be battling into late October, and trying to make it to Highmark Stadium for the WPIAL finals, that’s the type of opportunistic goal that can separate quality teams from the rest of the pack.

“That’s the kind of goal you’re going to need come playoff time,” Kelly said. “It was kind of an unfortunate foul, but to have a guy, to have that kind of composure when the ball bounces back off the wall like that. It was a great shot, and good for him because he was playing a little more defensive this year.”

Ellsworth concurred.

“Krebs struck a fantastic shot. He makes them so dangerous because he finds so many loose balls,” Ellsworth said.

When the second half opened, Shady Side replaced David in goal with Zach Conti.

Rosario took notice as the second half opened.

“I noticed that they made a change, and he really didn’t have much time to warm up and didn’t seem that confident,” Rosario would say after the match.

Sure enough, on the first ball played toward Conti, Rosario was sure to apply some added pressure on the newly inserted SSA keeper and defender

“I saw him coming out of the box, and he came way out the box, a risky move on his part,” Rosario said. “I saw that, and just had to go for it.”

Rosario got there first as appeared to be a miscommunication between the Shady Side players, and Seton-LaSalle had a two-goal lead.

“It was a lapse in concentration out of the half that cost us,” Ellsworth said. “We certainly created several quality chances, just never could get the final touch or find the right side of the post.”

Shady Side would continue to apply more pressure as the second half played on, but were unable, despite numerous corner kick, free kick and a couple of chances in the run of play to cut into the lead.

“Great defensive effort for us today. We weren’t as sure, with back line going into this match, but they really played well today,” Kelly added. “I don’t think we looked that way at all this year, so that’s a good step in the right direction.”

For both teams, it was a non-section match that provided a good test and measuring stick as each aspire to make deep runs into the playoffs.

“Ryan does a great job with his boys, I love playing his teams,” Ellsworth, who also coaches at Arsenal, and competes against Kelly’s Century United teams, said. “We still have some growing to do, gotta get some details cleaned up before the playoffs.”

Who knows, maybe we won’t have to wait another nine years to see another match between the two storied WPIAL boys soccer programs.


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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).

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