PIAA Girls Class 4A Final
FINAL: Pennridge 1, North Allegheny 0, 2OT
In a tightly contested battle that lasted 110 minutes, it took one spectacular play to decide the PIAA Girls Class 4A Championship game — as Pennridge’s Leah Malone drilled a shot from 24 yards that denied North Allegheny’s attempt to win its first-ever state title.
North Allegheny’s goalkeeper Megan Miller was outstanding throughout the match, making nine saves and the Tigers had their share of opportunities, but Pennridge’s back line held Lucia Wells, Sarah Schupansky and the North Allegheny attack in check.
With the loss, North Allegheny, who won its second consecutive WPIAL title on November 5, ended an impressive season with a 15-3 overall record.
END OF 1st OT – STILL SCORELESS
92′ | Back in center MF — Schupansky’s ball over top for Wells — once again can’t create shot chance as Pennridge defending well, shielding Wells from getting near ball.
89′ | NA’s GK Miller comes off her line on a nice, hard cross into box from Pennridge. She’s been decisive and doing a great job coming out of box when needed today.
87′ | Schupansky at the top of the NA formation now. They’re trying to catch lightning in a bottle. 88′
END OF REGULATION: NA 0, PENNRIDGE 0
They’re heading to OT in Hershey!
80′ | Riley Hepler’s shot saved at buzzer by Miller.
North Allegheny withstood a late push from Pennridge, but after 80 minutes, neither side can get the game winner.
69′ | Pennridge definitely on the front foot the past five minutes or so. Another corner — and redirected shot on frame but Miller with another save for NA!
66′ | Casey Malone for Pennridge with shot from distance that Miller bobbles, but eventually secures it.
63′ | Wells accelerates into box — blows past a few defenders but her shot sails too high.
60′ | Schupansky going forward — plays it to her teammate Wells to left in a nice transition opportunity. Wells was offside. That’s one of those you might like to see Schupansky take on the defender and try to create something herself.
58′ | crazy sequence in box after NA corner. Couple shots blocked by Pennridge defenders.
That was so close! Who is going to make the first goal as the 2020 PIAA Girls 4A Soccer Championship is underway. pic.twitter.com/HRxinAnHvp
— PCNTV (@pcntv) November 21, 2020
43′ | As the second half starts, NA bringing the pressure. Schupansky sends left footed ball from right side that bounces and tricks up Pennridge keeper — and bounces off side of net. NA can’t convert ensuing short corner effort.
HALF | NA 0 Pennridge 0
NA with a few decent chances while Pennridge had less of ball, they had a spell late in 1st half when they were pressing more. Pretty even so far. Might take something special to break past either of these two.
By my count here’s some stats:
- Shots: NA 5-3 (NA 2-1 on target)
- Corners: 2-2
35′ | Great ball in from left side intended for Schupansky — and it connects but the senior’s header sails over bar.
28′ | NA not careful — giveaway at midfield — leaves Pennridge’s Rita Malone with room to maneuver and rips a shot from top of box that bangs off woodwork. NA’s GK Miller may have had a fingertip on it.
24′ | Pennridge counters into box. NA’s back line playing deep, sitting back — Spano makes clean tackle to deny chance.
22′ | NA’s Schupansky goes direct — with an deadly accurate ball from midfield for Wells who gets behind defender and into box, but Pennridge keeper is there to deny a scoring chance.
8′ | Lucia Wells with the first decent chance for either side for NA. — gets past a pair of defenders and to loose ball but steers shot attempt wide right of the goal.
— John Krysinsky (@JohnKrysinsky) November 21, 2020
— North Allegheny Girls Soccer (@nasoccergirls) November 21, 2020
It’s taken a while, but the evolution of the North Allegheny girls soccer program is almost complete.
Last year, they won their first-ever WPIAL title. This year, they’ve earned back-to-back titles with a strong returning core group, led by an experienced, relentless and speedy attacking core group that’s led by Sarah Schupansky, a Pitt recruit who leads the team with 24 goals, and she’s a finalist for the “Moe” Rosensteel Most Outstanding Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year.
The Tigers season was in jeopardy in early October, as they were forced to shut down due to COVID-19 exposures. Since that shutdown North Allegheny has come out flying. Using their speed and talent to overtake games for long stretches — they rolled through the WPIAL playoffs, led up top by Sarah Schupansky and a new partner in crime this year Lucia Wells and anchored in the backline by Tulasi Syamala, they limit the opportunities for the opposing team and counter and create their own repeatedly. Schupansky and Wells have scored 12 of the Tigers’ 14 goals.
It was Wells who scored the golden goal in overtime of NA’s 2-1 win over Butler in the WPIAL 4A title match.
Against a tough schedule in WPIAL Section 1, North Allegheny had only one shutout in nine regular season matches but have posted four postseason shutouts and only allowed two goals since the playoffs began.
In the PIAA’s, as the lone WPIAL representative this year, they’ve become the first 4A school from District 7 to reach the finals since Norwin did it in 2017. It was Schupansky who lifted her team when they needed it most, scoring with 22 minutes left in regulation in the 1-0 state semifinal win over Cumberland Valley.
Pennridge, like NA, have also been knocking on the door for a few years now. They’re also searching for their program’s first girls soccer title after a pair of PIAA championship match losses.
Two years ago, the Rams lost to fellow District 1 foe Souderton, 1-0 in overtime of the 2018 4A finals. Seven years prior, Pennridge lost to Peters Township in the 2011 Class AAA title match, 1-0. The Rams were the No. 3 seed in the 2020 District 1 playoffs and picked up four victories on their way to a second straight district crown. They outscored their opponents in those four wins, 14-2. Freshman Liv Grenda scored two goals for Pennridge in the Rams’ state semifinal win over Parkland, including the game winner in overtime. Senior Lindsey DeHaven scored the first goal for Pennridge while senior Cady McKean scored the game-tying goal with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
Ed Thompson Photo Gallery From North Allegheny’s WPIAL Title Win