FINAL: North Allegheny 1, Pine Richland 0 (PSN Featured Game)
How it Happened
For 97 minutes two long-time section rivals, North Allegheny and Pine-Richland, battled in a hard-fought, tense match that felt very much like a playoff affair.
With less than two minutes remaining in the second period of extra time, the Tigers finally broke a scoreless tie when Jason Roman converted a cross in from Luke Anderson, by banging his shot just inside the left post.
“I had the easy part. Luke made the hard play, by beating two defenders,” Roman said. “I just happened get enough of it, and I thought it bounced out, but it was good enough.”
The goal came after North Allegheny started to add more and more pressure in the waning moments of the match.
“It was a back-and-forth match. It was one of the more evenly matched games we’ve played this year,” Jordan Wiegand, Pine-Richland’s head coach said. “All in one quick motion, we got beat, and the ball’s in the back of the net. Good finish, good service, can’t take anything away from them. It was a good goal. ”
With the win, playoff-bound North Allegheny completes a season sweep of Pine-Richland, and ended the surging Rams win streak at three games. Pine-Richland’s section record dropped to 6-8, after starting the season 2-5.
“In this section, no game is a gimme,” Bobby Vosmaer, North Allegheny’s long-time coach, said. “They (Pine-Richland) showed why they’ve done a good job, from where they started this season.”
In the first half, both teams had a few chances, but nothing dangerous, as the keepers, Pine-Richland’s Evan Dougal and North Allegheny’s Jonathan Partridge made two saves each.
Dougal made the most dazzling save of the match to that point in the 28th minute, jumping high to ward off a redirected ball from a corner that was heading under the bar.
The second half provided each team with stretches where each were on the front foot.
In the 43rd minute, NA’s William Stasko was a foot away from an easy tap in but Pine-Richland’s Dougal snatched a loose ball in the box in the nick of time.
From there, Pine-Richland built up possessions deep in the box with some consistency, even setting up two free kicks and corner in the 49th and 53rd minutes, which resulted set piece services that were pulled down by Partridge.
The Tigers finally got another shot on frame in the 60th minute when Anderson was on the end of a header in the middle of the box, but it was right at Dougal.
The see-saw action continued.
Another nice build up for Pine-Richland in the 63rd minute resulted in low cross from Vince Roller sailed through the box, with Zach Palko sprinting to goal box, but couldn’t catch up to it by the far post.
Moments later, Roman found room to shoot after a corner kick was deflected and came back to him, only to be denied by a Pine-Richland defender on the goal line to make the save.
As the match reached the dying moments of regulation, it was Pine-Richland which mounted a few opportunities, the most dangerous came when Will Sangpachatanaruk slid a clever pass through for Vince Roller on the left side of the box. Roller’s tough angle shot was saved by Partridge.
Much like the second half, the two overtime periods provided more momentum swings.
“It felt like it was going to be a scoreless tie,” Wiegand said. “It seemed like momentum was starting to shift against us at the end. We had our chances early in the first overtime. But, they started to pile on set pieces they were firing in. I was worried about man marking. Defending there.”
Ultimately, North Allegheny’s persistence paid off after a few previous failed attempts.
Anderson was robbed by Dougal in the 95th minute on a close range shot.
Then after receiving a pass into the right corner, Anderson found a way to beat two Pine-Richland defenders, and set up Roman’s game-winner.
Vosmaer’s senior-heavy roster finally came through, with two seniors hooking-up for the big moment.
“Somebody’s got to come through,” Vasmaer quipped.
The veteran coach, who led the Tigers to back-to-back WPIAL titles in 2016 and 2017, is hoping that they can ride some momentum into the playoffs.
With Butler’s upset of Seneca Valley on Thursday, North Allegheny finishes section play with a 8-5-1 record, as they’ll have to settle for fourth in the section, good enough to get them into the playoffs.
“We’ll see what type of draw we get, and who we’ll have to play,” Vosmaer said. “Now, we have to take it one game at a time. We’ll go from there.”
Pine-Richland (7-10 overall, 6-8 in section) has one more, non-section match at home on Monday which will also be Senior Night, but also end Wiegand’s first year at the helm with a promising future.
“They’re going to be good, and keep getting better,” Vosmaer said.
Even though it wasn’t the result Wiegand was hoping for, it feels very much like this is just the beginning of the process.
“It’s unfortunate. We wanted to send our seniors out on a good note, but we fell a little bit short,” Wiegand said. “They’ve been a big focal point of why been able to get to this point. They’re very mature. They fit into their own roles. But moving forward, This has been a great experience for our younger players, and to get some of the results we did get in section. Stretching North Allegheny, in a very even contest, there’s a lot we can take away.”
Ed Thompson Photo Gallery
John Krysinsky Post-Match Interview with North Allegheny’s Jason Roman
Head Coach: Jordan Wiegand
NORTH ALLEGHENY TIGERS
Head Coach: Bobby Vosmaer
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