Norwin 2, Upper St. Clair 1
WPIAL boys semifinal
For the past four years, Norwin High School has been very well represented at Highmark Stadium when the WPIAL finals are played.
But for the first time in the Highmark Stadium era, it’s the Norwin boys who punched their ticket to play in the WPIAL boys soccer finals this coming weekend, with a 2-1 win over Upper St. Clair on Monday night at North Allegheny High School’s Wright Field.
With First half tallies from Carter Breen and Matthew Federovich, the Knights (17-2-1) built a strong enough lead to hold on for the victory — even despite a valiant second half effort by Upper St. Clair.
The Knights will take on Seneca Valley, who beat Canon-McMillan in the other Boys 4A semifinal 3-2.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Knights didn’t waste anytime in this match getting on the scoreboard.
Breen, with more than 30 goals on the season, made his mark from onset of the match.
In the 4th minute went toe-to-toe down the right side with USC’s Zach Shoemaker.
Eventually, Breen found enough space to deliver a shot that banged off the right post.
USC keeper Nate Murphy couldn’t stop the shot – and wasn’t quick enough to react to the rebound, but Breen was though, flicking the rebound into the open
It was Breen’s 33rd goal of the season.
Norwin doubled its lead to 2-0 in the 34th minute with a laser from Federovich.
More than 30 yards from goal, the junior midfielder let it rip.
“He worked on that specific shot all week. Everyone’s laughing on the bench because he’s working on a shot from so deep outside,” Scott Schuchert said. “The coaches, the players, we were all so happy for him — and we were so excited when that went in.”
Despite the two-goal lead, the game was far from over, but the Panthers were in a hole that they didn’t expect to be in.
“We just kind of weren’t ready in those first 10 minutes of the game. We talked about (Breen), but we didn’t do enough to stop him on that run,” Uwe Schnieder, Upper St. Clair head coach, said. “The second goal was a great shot. There’s not much you can do about that,”
Upper St. Clair had the upper hand in possession, crosses and shots (8-4) in the second half.
Eventually, they would cut the lead in half in the 65th minute.
It was Jack Murphy who won the battle for a ball in a packed box, knocking a shot past Knights keeper Kyle Krotec for his team’s first score. The sophomore’s goal in the 65th minute halved his team’s deficit to 2-1.
“In the second half, we turned it on. But by then, it was a little late. Overall, Norwin deserved to win it, but I’m happy with how we responded in the second half.”
WHAT THEY SAID:
There is no PIAA play-in game for the losers of the Boys 4A, as Upper St. Clair season ended on Monday.
Norwin will now look to capture its first-ever boys soccer district title when they take on Seneca Valley at Highmark Stadium. Date and time of the match will be announced on Tuesday.