Despite two goals apiece from Jack Korwoski and Bennett Haas, Quaker Valley head coach J.J. Veshio insisted that the whole team should take credit as the Quakers came out on top in a roller coaster affair to seal their spot in the Class 2A finals against Shady Side Academy.
The game was far from easy for the No. 2 Quakers, who having conceded just once in their previous two games in these playoffs, allowed three to go past them on the night, but having scored sixteen goals in those games, Veshio was always confident that they’d be able to come out on top despite those scares:
“We knew we had to make some changes at halftime because we knew it wasn’t working, and we did that and we were able to succeed even when we went up and then went down.
“It’s the playoffs, sometimes the games are ugly, and you want to have a shutout, you want to have these perfect games, but at the end of the day, it’s about who has more goals than the other team. We saw some things we have to clean up… we’re just going to chalk it up to how this game went, and that’s OK.
“I want to recognize the entire team. I think in games like this it’s a full team effort. I’d prefer just to recognize the whole team”
How it happened
Quaker Valley, no strangers to finding the back of the net having scored 16 goals in the past two games to reach the semi-finals, were in the lead after just 13 seconds, Jack Karwoski tucking home with his left foot after an inch-perfect slide rule pass from Benett Haas.
Shady Side though wouldn’t be deterred as just five minutes later they were back level, Drew McKim getting on the end of Jackson Suski’s cross after he’d won the ball back in rather physical fashion on the left wing.
The game began to settle down after the quick start, with each side having a few chances, but none of them were clear-cut apart from Nick Allan’s incredible half volley from the edge of the box which rattled the crossbar with Noah Levitt well-beaten.
Much like the first half, it was the Quakers who started the second half on the front foot and were once again put ahead through Karwoski, this time firing in from outside the box after a mazy run through the Bulldogs midfield. The lead didn’t last for long though, as Amir Awais was on hand to bundle the ball home after Nathan Pribik allowed the ball to slip through his hands at a corner kick less than a minute after the restart.
With things getting anxious as we entered the final half an hour, Shady Side managed to take the lead in the game for the first time as Awais managed to stay calm in the box and fire into the far corner after a neat turn in the box from Jackson Suski’s cross, but that lead didn’t last long as Bennett Haas brought the sides level minutes later as he tucked home after a powerful run through the Shady Side defense.
With less than ten minutes to go, it was Quaker Valley who once again took the lead, Haas on hand to tuck home the rebound as Levitt couldn’t hold onto Karwoski’s shot after the Quaker forward’s breakaway run down the left-hand side.
1 – Jack Karwoski gives Quaker Valley the lead after slotting home from just inside the box
6 – Drew McKim draws the two sides level from close range
19 – Kiril Grin’s cross flashes across the box, but no Quaker can get on the end
21 – A promising attack from Shady Side is halted as Amir Awais is flagged for a handball
34 – Nich Allan’s effort smashes against the crossbar
40 – Drew McKim stings the gloves of Nathan Pribik with the last kick of the half
41 – Hugo Castellini’s shot takes a huge deflection that nearly sneaks in but Noah Levitt got down at the last second to stop it on the line
44 – Jack Karwoski’s shot deceives Noah Levitt to find the bottom corner from the edge of the box
45 – Amir Awais brings things level again from close range after Nathan Pribik’s error
55 – Amir Awais gives Shady Side the lead for the first time after a neat turn and finish inside the box
58 – Bennett Haas drives through the back line and gets to the ball just before Noah Levitt to poke home and level the tie again
71 – Bennett Haas scores from five yards out as Noah Levitt spills Jack Karwoski’s shot
75 – Colin Benge had a chance to put the game out of sight, but his close-range shot goes over the bar