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Farner pokes Shady Side past Deer Lakes and through to final

Shady Side Academy 1, Deer Lakes 0,

WPIAL Boys 2A Semifinal

Shady Side Academy’s boys soccer team did it again.

They found a way.

The lower seeded Indians knocked off yet another higher seed, as they’ll return to Highmark Stadium for the WPIAL boys Class 2A for the third straight season after beating section rival Deer Lakes 1-0,

The Indians will defend its WPIAL 2A crown as they will face Quaker Valley for the third straight season in the finals later this week.


Things were going according to plan for Deer Lakes, the 2A section champions, who beat and drew Shady Side in two previous meetings this year.

“We had things going our way in the first half, but we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net,” Jordan Wiegand, Deer Lakes coach said. “We couldn’t finish.”

The Lancers held a 6-1 edge in shots, and a 5-0 advantage on corner kicks — and appeared to be the better team for most of the game’s first 47 minutes.

Then the tables turned.

Shady Side’s Max Farner took advantage of a fortunate bounce in the box after his teammate Wally Navid fired a shot from the edge of the box into a wall of Deer Lakes defenders.

The ball spun and spiraled into the center of the box area where Farner was the first to the ball.

Farner poked the ball forward — and somehow it spun away from everyone including Deer Lakes keeper Jesse Greyshock, nudging its way over the goal line just inside the right post.

After scoring the early second half goal, Shady Side stayed on the front foot

Shady Side’s Kenny Shergill‘s shot to the upper right corner was heading in before Greyshock came up with a brilliant diving save in the 54th minute to keep the Lancers in it.

Frustration continued to boil over for Deer Lakes in the 69th minute when the second yellow card of the game was assessed to sophomore Ryan Rodgers — who was sent off for the remainder of the match.

A total of five yellow cards were dished out in the second half, mostly when Deer Lakes’ frustration started to build.

Playing down a man, the best Deer Lakes could do to find the equalizer in the final ten minutes were a few long free kick chances.

The first half saw both teams with set piece opportunities, but Deer Lakes were on the attack for longer stretches of the match including five corner kicks in the first 40 minutes.



“There midfield three are talented boys. I’ve coached two of them since they were 10-11 years of age. They’re really good, and we were struggling in the midfield,” Ed Ellsworth, Shady Side coach said. “Our players were the ones who made adjustments at the half. They really did. They knew they could play better. ”

The Indians may have been fortunate on the goal, but Ellsworth said they were prepared for that moment.

“We work so much on 2v2 games. We put benches in goal for rebounds. We talk about finishing the play. When you think it’s going in, should still be ready for the rebound.”

Ellsworth on his lone topman, senior Farner, who came through with the game’s lone goal.

“He’s probably the most improved player we have on our roster in the past four years.

Wiegand felt his players inexperience may have shown in the second half.

“We showed that we are a young team. Giving up possessions. Taking fouls.,” Wiegand said. “I’m not going to put blame on anywhere else. Ball would not go in the back of the net for us. Credit the keepers. But give credit to them too.”


Deer Lakes will have a quick turnaround, having to play on Thursday in the PIAA play-in game against Charleroi.

Shady Side advances to the WPIAL final at HIghmark Stadium later this week in what will be a highly anticipated rematch against Quaker Valley, who they beat in miraculous fashion in last year’s final, 3-2 in 2OT. It will also be the third straight season the two teams will meet in the 2A final. Quaker Valley took the WPIAL title in 2016.

The dates and times of all WPIAL boys and girls soccer finals will be announced on Tuesday.

“Quaker Valley is the program that we aspire to be,” Ellsworth said. “We’re excited to play teams like that. Some teams may be afraid to play teams like that.

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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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