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Extrava-Panza: Hampton edges West Allegheny, 1-0, to capture WPIAL Class 3A boys title

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson
WPIAL Boys Soccer Class 3A Final

FINAL: Hampton 1, West Allegheny 0

In a battle of the top two seeded, senior laden teams who were undefeated against all competition in their classification, the Hampton Talbots earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory against top-seeded West Allegheny in the WPIAL Boys Class 3A soccer final at Highmark Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In a tight contest, it was Hampton’s Zack Panza who came through with the match’s two biggest plays on both ends of the field.  Panza broke a scoreless affair in the 65th minute with a vicious header coming from a corner kick, then made a goal line clearance that denied West Allegheny’s best chance to equalize the match.

“Two goal line clearances, scored the game-winning goal, you can’t ask anything more from a player,” Matt McAwley, Hampton’s Head Coach said.  “These boys have had this dream since they were back in middle school. For them to come in here, play for a WPIAL title, and play the best game they have all season, to beat an undefeated team, it’s a testament to their work ethic and all they do, not only in the high school season, but in the off season as well.”

It was the first WPIAL boys soccer title for Hampton since 2011, when they won back-to-back, while West Allegheny, who have won a state championship in 2018, remain a bit snakebit in the district final.

It was the third loss in the past four years in WPIAL championship games for West Allegheny, who came into this match with a perfect 21-0 record and ranked number one in the state.

“Every other team in the WPIAL would love to be here,” Kevin Amos, West Allegheny Head Coach said. “It’s a great experience, win or lose. Right now it hurts, but you remember it the rest of your life.  They’ll be upset, but we’ll get back. Get ready, and like in 2018, we’ll make a run to the state championship.”

Ed Thompson Photo Gallery

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Post Match Reaction

How It Happened

Look for a more detailed match report to follow later Saturday/Sunday as time permits.

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).

Glory on the Grass

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Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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