2019-2020 Game Summaries
by Jonathan Spina
It was a rematch of Monday’s regular season finale between North Allegheny and Upper St. Clair. The Tigers won that game 2-1 but it was Upper St. Clair who got their revenge in the first round of the WPIAL Playoffs winning 2-0.
It was a very defensive first half as both teams’ back lines were very strong. There was only one shot on goal in the half which was taken by Jonathan Swann, who had scored on Monday. The Tigers defense of Samuel Gianetti, Jason Roman, Jonathan Ross and Ryan Schwartz played very well in the first half, not allowing a shot on goal.
Upper St. Clair had a fast start in the second half, getting a scoring chance two minutes in when a point-blank shot was tipped away by Jonathan Partridge which forced a corner kick. The initial cross was defended by the Tigers defense but from 30 yards out Cyrus Khani was able to chip the ball into the top left corner giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead. The next 30 minutes was absolutely dominated by the Tigers with NA getting six corners and two shots on goal but the Upper St. Clair defense and keeper Anthony Ioli stayed strong in the back. With time ticking down and North Allegheny bringing more and more people up on offense, the Panthers were able to counterattack and got a 2-on-1 chance. The odd-man break was finished by Jack Myers who chipped the ball over Partridge for the goal, giving Upper St. Clair a 2-0 lead with 5:04 to go in the game. The Tigers continued to fight and had multiple chances in the last five minutes but the Panthers came out of the game as 2-0 winners.
The Wright Automotive Player of the Game was the North Allegheny senior class of Braden Jones, Gianetti, Luke Anderson, Justin Mericle, Bryce Burroughs, Sam Maldia, Will Cinker, Matt Van Kirk, Roman, J.D. Runatz, Ali Saif, Jack Walsh, Sam Passodelis, Ross, Andrew Solman, Darien Sansosti, Schwartz and Partridge. This group had a four year record of 58-18-8, two section titles and back-to-back WPIAL Championships in 2016 and 2017.
The win improves Upper St. Clair to 12-3-2. They will advance to take on top-seeded Plum in the WPIAL Quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Tigers season ends at 11-7-1.
Boys Soccer Summary vs. Upper St. Clair, 10-19-19
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||FINAL|
|Upper St. Clair||0||2||2|
The North Allegheny boys’ soccer team faced off against Upper Saint Clair for the final regular season match. A victory took extra time, two minutes and 40 seconds of it, before the Tigers claimed a 2-1 victory for the second consecutive overtime win.
The all senior starting lineup began controlling the match early with most of the play occurring in the Tigers end of the field. However, at 26:58 remaining in the half, Panthers defender Devan Ekbote launched a rainbow from 40 yards out that found its way over the NA goalkeeper’s head, giving USC a 1-0 lead. Multiple offensive opportunities were generated in the attack during the balance of the first half from seniors Luke Anderson, JD Runatz, Will Cinker, Justin Mericle, Bryce Boroughs and junior Kensley Owens, however, none were able to be finished prior to the half ending.
The second half began much as how the first half ended. This time with senior Sam Maldia and sophomore Evan Cole, seeing his first varsity action of the season, adding to multiple opportunities for the offense that were still not finding the back of the net. Solid defensive play by the Panthers back line and goalie protected their lead for the first 30 minutes of the second half. That would soon end though as junior defender Max Kress played into the box a nicely hit direct free kick that appeared to be well defended and cleared by the USC defense. However, the rebound found junior defender Jonathan Swann, who hit a perfectly struck volley of a waist high ball that found the back of the net, top right, evening the score at 1-1. The Tigers continued to dominate possession the balance of the way, with defenders Darien Sansosti, Owen Smith, Zoha Petersen, Samuel Giannetti and Kress quickly cleaning up several counter attacks from the Panthers, pushing the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, the Tigers struck quickly. Holding possession in the Panthers end for the entire OT, multiple chances were generated that had the USC defense reeling. With the clock showing 7:20 remaining, Cinker was working the left side of the attack, beat his defender while pursing the goal and was fouled in the penalty area. He assumed responsibility of taking the penalty kick and cleanly finished the shot, dead center on net, as the Panthers goalie dove left, sending the cold Tigers and fans into their bus and cars to warm up and celebrate a 2-1 regular season finale victory during their drive home north.
The Tigers finish with a 11-6-1 record in the regular season and await the playoff brackets expected to be released on Wednesday.
Boys Soccer Summary vs. Upper St. Clair, 10-14-19
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||OT||FINAL|
|Upper St. Clair||1||0||0||1|
by Jonathan Spina
It was a defensive battle Thursday night at Pine-Richland as neither offense was able to get much going in regulation. Jason Roman’s goal with 1:55 left in the second overtime, however, gave the Tigers a 1-0 victory in their section finale.
The first half was a feeling out period for both sides as both defenses held strong throughout. Both teams had two shots on goal with them amounting to nothing and at the half, the score was 0-0. The second half saw a bit more offense, especially from Pine-Richland as they threatened late with two very good scoring chances but NA keeper Jonathan Partridge was up to the task stopping both chances and keeping the score 0-0 at the end of regulation.
The pace picked up in the overtime period with North Allegheny getting the bulk of the possession and chances and then finally, with 1:55 remaining in the second overtime, Roman got a pass from Luke Anderson and was able to put it in the back of the net giving the Tigers a 1-0 victory.
Roman was the Wright Automotive Player of the Game with a game-winning and only goal. Partridge stopped all five shots he saw picking up his fourth shutout of the season.
The Tigers finish section play with a 8-5-1 record and finish in fourth in the section, good enough to get them into the playoffs. One more regular season game remains for the Tigers though, it will be non-section as they go on the road to take on Upper St. Clair on Monday at 8 pm.
Boys Soccer Summary vs. Pine-Richland, 10-10-19
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||OT||2OT||FINAL|
In the final home match of the regular season, the North Allegheny boys’ soccer team hosted the Shaler Titans with a chance to secure a playoff spot with a victory. Goals came by the bunches, as the Tigers were completely dominant in an 11-2 win. The victory, coupled with an Allderdice loss earlier in the day, clinched a playoff spot for the Tigers for a 10th consecutive season.
Scoring opened for the Tigers four minutes into the match when senior midfielder Bryce Boroughs delivered a cross into the box that found senior forward Sam Maldia, who neatly finished the opportunity for a 1-0 lead. Forty-six seconds later, senior midfielder Matt Van Kirk banged home a rebound off a Shaler defender adding the quick second goal. The third came again from Van Kirk off a well-placed cross from senior midfielder Jack Walsh for a 3-0 advantage. At 18:33 remaining, senior forward J.D. Runatz scored the first of his four goals on the evening, finishing a nice pass from senior forward Justin Mericle, putting the Tigers up 4-0. Four minutes later, Runatz found the back of the net again after a sweet pass from junior midfielder, Kensley Owens. Scoring ended in the first half, when Shaler was awarded, and finished, a penalty kick opportunity, placing the score at 5-1, Tigers, going into the locker room.
Runatz opened the half by scoring two goals within the first eight minutes, putting the Tigers up, 7-1. Van Kirk added the eigth notch for the Tigers, closing off his scoring binge with a hat trick on the night. Owens soon followed with two additional goals and senior midfielder Saif Ali delivered a point-blank laser with 12 minutes remaining to place an emphatic end to the scoring for the Tigers. Shaler added a final mark with 6:02 remaining, giving the Tigers an 11-2 final victory.
The win raised the Tigers overall record to 9-6-1, 7-5-1 in the section. The next game for NA is Thursday at Pine-Richland in the final section match of the season. The game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Boys Soccer Summary vs. Shaler, 10-8-19
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||FINAL|
The NA boys’ soccer team traveled south on Saturday afternoon for a non-conference match up against the Bethel Park Black Hawks. With NA owning a clear majority of possession time, shots and corner kicks, the Tigers did not own the scoreboard, being edged out 2-1.
North Allegheny struck first when senior midfielder Sam Maldia slid a sweet pass to Evan Anderson in tight who slid it past the Hawk goalkeeper for a 1-0 advantage. The lead was short lived, however, when at 21:27 remaining a strong Bethel shot deflected off a Tiger defender and found its way past the NA goalie knotting the game at one apiece.
Wholesale player changes occurred as the second half began. Again, the Tigers found themselves with a significant majority in time of possession and quality scoring chances, however none were able to be finished. At 26:56 remaining, Hawks forward Tyler Kovak broke the tie with a nice header goal that found its into the net which ended up being the lone goal in the 2nd half, giving Bethel Park a 2-1 win.
North Allegheny falls to 8-6-1 overall on the season. The Tigers return to action on Tuesday against Shaler for their final home game of the season.