West Allegheny 3, Mars 3 – (West Allegheny wins 4-3 on penalty kicks)
WPIAL Class 3A boys soccer semifinal
By Jon Hanna – Contributor to Pittsburgh Soccer Now
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa.- On a cool Monday night, the West Allegheny Indians (18-1-0) played host to the Mars Fightin’ Planets (18-1-1) at Moon Area High School in the Class 3A semi-final of the WPIAL high-school soccer playoffs. It was a game neither team wanted to lose, as the game would go into double overtime. West Allegheny would end up winning the game in penalty kicks.
With the win, the Indians will now take on Franklin Regional (16-0-1) for the championship at Highmark Stadium. Date and time of the match will be announced on Tuesday.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
It was a back-and-forth affair. One that you would expect from two teams that were section champions and among the elite teams in this competitive classification.
Mars would get on the board early in the game, as Dane Beller would put one in the net off of a corner kick to make it 1-0 just 3:24 in.
West Allegheny would look to respond just seconds later, as a bicycle kick went just over the bar. West Allegheny would again have a chance with less than a half hour remaining in the first half as Jaxon Ervin, a freshman would wire one just wide of goaltender Nathan Paras of Mars.
Austin Rocke would get a chance to put Mars up 2-0, but West Allegheny goaltender Braden Wurst would make an acrobatic save to keep the margin at one. Fletcher Amos would tie the game up for the Indians with 22′ left, as his shot would squeak under the Mars goaltender.
In the 25th minute, West Allegheny goaltender Braden Wurst would be called on again for the Indians, diving to his right to rob a potential goal for the Fightin’ Planets. For the next 20-odd minutes, the game was played mostly in the middle third of the field. West Allegheny would get a chance with a minute remaining in the half, after a shot out of a scrum in the net would make it to the net, but saved by Paras for the Fightin’ Planets.
With 38.7 seconds left in the half, Nathan Dragisich of West Allegheny would get a penalty kick on a questionable call by the referee. The Duquesne commit, Dragisich stepped up, and buried it in the center of the net to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.
— Jonathan Hanna (@SentryHanna) October 30, 2018
At the end of the first half, it was 2-1 West Allegheny. The West Allegheny goals were scored by Fletcher Amos and Nathan Dragisich. The goal for Mars was scored by Dane Beller.
Just under five minutes into the second half, Fletcher Amos would be given a yellow card for running into Mars goaltender Nathan Paras.
Mars scored the first goal of the second half with 33 minutes remaining in the half as Caden Ferguson was able to gather a cross by Zane Mundy and put it in the Indians net to tie the game at two apiece.
At the 27:00 mark, Steve Papik would nearly score an own goal, but the clearance just went over the net. On the ensuing corner kick, West Allegheny would score to take a 3-2 lead, as Antonio Fiordilino was able to freeze the Mars goaltender and put it past him to give his team the lead back.
With just under 25 minutes remaining, a free kick by Caleb Miller of West Allegheny from about 19 yards out was bobbled but eventually grabbed by Nathan Paras of Mars to keep the deficit at one.
Mars would tie it up yet again as Tyler Nymberg was able to get the ball after goaltender Brayden Wurst misplayed the ball and slotted it home with 17 minutes remaining in the second half. Mars would look like they scored with nine minutes left in the half, but it would be called off after the side judge saw contact with Brayden Wurst in the Indians goal.
The last five minutes of the half were very physical, with the refs not seeming calling anything on either team.
At the end of regulation, the game was tied 3-3.
Up next was a 15 minute golden goal period. In the period,
Mars was putting heavy pressure on the West Allegheny defense. With 11 minutes remaining in the first overtime period, Nathan Paras was able get finger on a shot by Fletcher Amos of West Allegheny to knock the shot wide and to keep the game tied up at 3.
With less than five minutes remaining, there were three excellent defensive stops.
First, Shane Lisman of Mars slid into the goal to stop a dangerous chance for West Allegheny. Next, Brayden Wurst made an excellent diving save to stop an attack by the Fightin’ Planets; and finally, Nathan Paras punched out a header from West Allegheny’s Benjamin Farelli.
Overtime period one was still tied 3-3 after 15 minutes, and at the start of the second period of golden goal, a shot off a crossing attempt by West Allegheny would go just past the left woodwork.
This was followed by a Mars attempt, as the header by Shane Lisman off a cross by Austin Rocke would go just over the bar. Sophomore Jake Gareis entered the game for the Mars Fightin’ Planets, as Nathan Paras left with an injury, but Paras would return soon after.
With a minute remaining West Allegheny would have two corner kicks in a row, but they would be saved by Nathan Paras in net.
At the end of two overtimes, the game went to penalty kicks.
In penalty kicks, Beller, Lispin, Mundy, Papik, Carter and Rocke all shot for Mars, with only Lispin, Papik and Carter scoring. For West Allegheny ー Miller, Ervin, Dragisic, Hanes, Chappal, and Wurst shot, with Miller, Dragisic, Chappal, and Wurst scoring. Goaltender Brayden Wurst scored the game winner for West Allegheny, as they will move on to Highmark Stadium.