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Shady Side beats Quaker Valley with late-game heroics again to win back-to-back WPIAL titles

WPIAL Boys 2A Soccer Final

Shady Side Academy 1, Quaker Valley 1 (SSA wins on PKs, 3-0)

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

Yes, again, for most of the match they were trailing to the top-seeded Quaker Valley in a WPIAL boys final.

The Indians pulled off dramatic, late game heroics in finding the equalizing goal from Kenny Shegill, then defeated the Quakers for the second straight season, this time in a penalty kick shootout, to win the WPIAL Boys Class 2A final at Highmark Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The hero in the penalty kick shootout was goalkeeper Bruce David — who saved all three Quaker Valley shots he faced, while Max Farner, Sam Farner and Gunnar Pipitone  made their penalty kicks to put pressure on the Quakers shooters.


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Trailing 1-0 with just 37 seconds left in the match after Shady Side drew a foul on the far left side of the final third.

This set up a free kick from senior forward Gunnar Pipitone who delivered a ball to the near post area.

Senior midfielder Kenny Shegill got to the ball first, beating Quaker Valley’s goalkeeper Dom Lagnese to the ball.

“We talk about every possible scenario as a team,” Ed Ellsworth, Shady Side head coach, said. “So, nothing surprises us.”

Things started off well for Quaker Valley, taking advantage of a ball played high in the air, and into the box.

As he attempted to make a play on the ball, it slipped through Bruce’s hands.

Dom Reiter was right there to put it past Bruce.

“It was unfortunate,” Ellsworth said. “It got behind him. There was an open player there in the back of the box. You feel bad for him.”

Just like that, Shady Side would have to climb uphill again in a match against Quaker Valley.

“Do you draw up giving up a goal in the opening minutes? No, we would like to get the equalizer earlier,” Ellsworth said. “The first minute is just as important as the 79th minute. These guys fight every second. These guys get full credit. They got themselves back in this game, and they have a ton of heart.”

And first, the Indians found themselves defending for their lives.

David responded by making a tremendous double save later in the first half to deny Quaker Valley’s senior midfielder Toma David.

The Quakers continued to pressure the Indians throughout the first half, getting the ball into the box numerous times, but unable to convert on any of it’s chances to take a commanding 2-0 lead when they were on the front foot.

“We had our chances, especially in the first half,” Andrew Marshall, Quaker Valley’s head coach. “It’s so close. That’s the margins at this level. A post here, A missed penalty. A mishit on a shot. Things like that.”

In the second half, Shady Side played with more urgency after weathering a few storms in the first half, owning a lot more possession and creating numerous chances.

Ellsworth also did what he’s been doing quite a bit this season: switched his goalkeepers, replacing David with Zach Conti.

David’s day wasn’t over yet, but Conti sure held up the fort.

Quaker Valley turned into a more dangerous countering team in the final 40 minutes of regulation as Shady Side was pushing up higher. Conti was effective in coming off his line, sometimes a bit far, in denying Quaker Valley chances.

Conti was living dangerously all afternoon.

Halfway through the first overtime, after a hard collision from a Quaker Valley corner kick, Shady Side’s George Grune and Quaker Valley’s Thomas Guild were knocked down hard to the ground when Conti came out to punch the ball away from danger.

Both players were on the ground for a period of time. Eventually Guild got up, but Grune had to be carted off the field, and was taken away on a stretcher, and to a nearby hospital for treatment of a head injury.

“We talk about the injury to the player. But we rarely talk about the person inside the player. George is an unbelievable person who also happens to be playing an unbelievable game,” Ellsworth said. “The guys refocused, and asked themselves, what would George want? He would want us to play hard. But he deserved that moment as much as the rest of the guys.”

The teams battled hard in extra time, but neither would give an inch, and the rubber 2A Finals match of this trilogy between the two schools would go to penalty kicks.

“I was am really proud of our boys. They did a good job of pushing the game, especially in the overtime,” Marshall added.

Ellsworth brought back his starting keeper, Bruce David.

“I told him with about five minutes left, we are going to need you.

After Farner converted the first attempt, the Shady Side keeper turned away Toma David to set the tone for the shootout.

Shady Side put the pressure on with two more makes.

Then Bruce David did it again to clinch the Indians second WPIAL crown in a row.

“Three penalty kick saves,” Ellsworth said. “Incredible. We talk about holding on to the rope. That’s the response from every player. Even when it looks like someone should drop the rope, teammates will make sure they don’t. We saved balls off the line, headed balls away, our keepers made saves. Everyone held the rope. That’s something we believe in. Nobody drops the rope.”

“Credit to them. They keep riding this wave.  I don’t know how they keep it going. Things keep going to their way,” Marshall said, then adding about his opposing keeper’s three straight stops.

“It doesn’t happen. He needs to buy a lottery ticket,” Marshall quipped. “All due respect. He’s athletic. Decisive. Confident. Made all the plays. Credit to him.”

Three times now these two teams have played WPIAL finals at Highmark, and after Quaker came away with a 2-1 decision to win in 2016, and Shady Side pulled off late magic in the past two clashes for district supremacy, the question was posed, is this really a rivalry?

Both coaches pretty much gave the same answer.

“It’s weird. It’s not really a rivalry,” Marshall, a former Riverhounds player, said. “I don’t think either one of us think of each other until it happens. Credit to their coaching staff. We’re always trying to improve, and be the best team we can be, where ever that takes us at the end of the year we try to make the most of it.”

“It’s a game between two guys that really respect each other. One program is really storied,” Ellsworth said of Quaker Valley. “And the other is starting to get there.  Andrew’s one of the top coaches in the profession.  We love playing them and expect to be on front foot every time we play them.”


Bruce David, Kenny Shegill  & Zach Conti



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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