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Relishing role as underdog, Norwin converts its chances to beat Fox Chapel, 2-1, to return to WPIAL Final

WPIAL Boys Soccer Class 4A Semifinal

Final:  Norwin 2, Fox Chapel 1

Norwin boys soccer team continues to relish in its role as underdog, this time, they made the most of their chances, defeating Fox Chapel, 2-1, in WPIAL Boys Class 4A Semifinal Round match at Hampton on Tuesday night.

Daniel Maddock had a goal and an assist, and Owen Christopher converted the game winner in the 72nd minute to break a tense, deadlocked affair to lead the Knights back to the WPIAL Boys Class 4A Final for the first time since 2018.

“Yeah, there were troubles we had during this game, but we got it back from a mental standpoint, and that was our biggest strength today,” Carter Breen, who filled in along with Mike Powers in place of Norwin’s Head Coach Scott Schuchert for this match, due to a suspension.  (Note — at 22 years of age — Breen, a former Norwin standout who played at Duquesne, may be the youngest designated Head Coach to win a WPIAL Soccer playoff match) 

“It’s playoff soccer, and it comes down to who wants it the most. Fox Chapel is a great team, and they’re very well coached, but we finished our chances, and that’s what set us apart today.

For Fox Chapel, they found a lot of moments getting forward, but couldn’t capitalize, falling short of the WPIAL Finals once again one round short.

“We beat them wide, but we needed to finish more chances in the box,” Erik Ingram, Fox Chapel’s Head Coach said.

“Unfortunately, they kept running right at us, and it didn’t fall our way tonight.”

How It Happened

Through the first 10 minutes, both sides were grappling to control tempo, resulting in a number of whistles, disrupting the flow of the match.

Fox Chapel started to assert its attack by building through the width, generating crosses and a few runs up the end line that resulted in a number of dangerous moments for Norwin and its keeper Anthony Scalise.

In a span of four minutes, Scalise was well positioned to turn away Fox Chapel chances from Calyx Kimbrough and deny a chance for a loose ball from a corner opportunity.  Norwin defender Dylan Moyer blocked another close range chance from FC’s winger Josh Angerman.

Despite not having many moments in getting forward, Norwin seized its chance in the 22nd minute, when Alex Brown found some space on the right side to advance to the end line, then sent a low cross, which was deflected, but found the feet of Daniel Maddock who slotted it into the right side of goal to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.

Only four minutes later, Fox Chapel responded on its next corner kick opportunity.  The service was played to middle of the box, but squirted through for Michael Shin to capitalize and knock into goal for the equalizer.

Through remainder of the half, and good parts of the second half, the rhythm of the match slowed with numerous whistles resulting in dozen free kicks and a lot of battles a midfield that were hotly contested, with both coaches acknowledged that Norwin was getting to a lot of second balls.

As the match hit the final stretch, Norwin were still short on chances up to the 62nd minute, when Maddock did get behind a Fox Chapel defender with a clear path, and Foxes’ keeper Connor Scanlan came off his line, dove to his left to deny the goal.

In the 72nd minute, the Knights created some chaos in the box on a free kick chance that came off the foot of Maddock, and this time, Scanlan had trouble containing it, as it took a wicked bounce, careened off the keeper, and Christopher, who earlier in the day was announced as one of 14 players in the WPIAL to earn All-State honors, was there to react, and put it past Scanlan.

Fox Chapel pushed for the equalizer late, but a few chances sailed over the bar, leaving the Knights left to celebrate another win against a higher seed.

Norwin will play the winner of North Allegheny-Butler, in the Class 4A Final on Saturday, at 5:45 p.m. at Highmark Stadium.

Goal Scoring Thread

Match Highlights 

16′ — FC Kimbrough shot saved by Scalise

18′ — FC Angerman shot blocked by Dylan Moyer

19′ — FC short corner — redirected low, trickles into goal box, but grabbed by Scalise

22′ — GOAL — NORWIN — Daniel Maddock. Forward is there to get to loose ball after cross in from Alex Brown is deflected.

26′ — GOAL — FOX CHAPEL — Michael Shin is there to put it through on far post side following corner kick. Carson Krushinsky gets credit for the assist.

32′ — Dangerous moments in Norwin box — as FC’s Josh Angerman drives low cross through goal box, but somehow ball evades Foxes feet for tap in.

40′ — Half ends on a 35 yard free kick attempt by Norwin’s Rick Zappone which is on frame but punched away by FC Keeper Connor Scanlan

44′ — Norwin corner, deflects around on ground, finds its way to goal box but Scanlan is there to grab it.

48′ — Foxes bringing some pressure — and Krushansky rips a shot from 14 yards that pings off the (American) football crossbar.

55′ — Every whistle seems like an eternity before play restarts. Been a bunch of free kicks already in 2nd half — latest coming from far right side, but Norwin packed the box pretty tightly, and they clear it away. Craving some back and forth action here!

58′ — Low Fox Chapel cross sees a few deflections, but Krushansky is there to redirect a shot which Norwin keeper Anthony Scalise easily handles.

62′ — Norwin’s Dannie Maddock gets past FC defender — and has clear cut shot chance — and forces FC keeper Scanlan to dive to his left to save it as he comes about 10 yards off his line.

72′ — GOAL — NORWIN — Owen Christopher is there in front of goal — as Daniel Maddock sets him up.

76′ — Shot from left edge for FC — Aiden Stein — but goes over bars.

80′ — Norwin clears — and Maddock draws a foul at midfield, and that seals the deal.

Post Match Interviews (Norwin’s Carter Breen & Fox Chapel’s Erik Ingram) 

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).

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