2020-2021 Game Summaries
by Jonathan Spina
Appearing in the program’s first ever state championship, the North Allegheny girls’ soccer team proved they belonged but fell in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in double overtime to the Pennridge Rams Saturday evening at Hersheypark Stadium. The win for Pennridge was its first ever state championship and in three title game appearances.
With it being North Allegheny’s first time in the state championship and Pennridge starting six freshman, there was a feeling out process throughout the first 20 minutes of the first half with both teams playing conservatively and neither team looking to make the first mistake. From the 20 minute point on, Pennridge was much more aggressive. The best opportunity of the first half came with 13 minutes to go when High Point recruit Leah Malone beat the North Allegheny defense and tried to go top shelf on keeper Megan Miller. Malone beat Miller but hit the crossbar and the score stayed at 0-0. Pennridge kept the pressure on the Tigers and had another great chance with 10:40 to go in the half but Alexa Spano sacrificed her body and blocked the shot to keep the game scoreless. With 5:10 remaining in the half North Allegheny started to find their rhythm offensively and Sarah Schupansky was fouled from about 40 yards out. Schupansky put the free kick shot on net and it looked like Pennridge keeper Sierra Shaeffer misplayed it but was able to recover at the last second and keep the ball out of the net. The final opportunity of the first half was with the Tigers when Samantha Braden was able to create a little space on the left side and put in a perfect cross to Bri Torchia who put a strong header on the pass but the ball went just high and at the half the score was still 0-0.
For how eventful the first half was, in the second half both teams were even more aggressive. North Allegheny controlled the pace of play throughout the first 10 minutes but the momentum swayed into Pennridge’s favor and with 28 minutes left in the game, Pennridge had two point blank opportunities back to back, both of which were stopped by spectacular Miller saves. The field evened out for the rest of the half with neither team getting any more scoring chances and we were headed to overtime with the game still scoreless.
The first overtime was very similar to how the game started with both offenses using a conservative approach. The teams played most of the period in between the 30 yard lines and we were headed to a second overtime. In the second overtime Malone got her revenge, after hitting the cross bar in the first half she took another shot in the top right corner, this time going in and Pennridge became the PIAA 4A Champions with a 1-0 win.
Kena Shannon was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game for her phenomenal defensive effort. Malone had created havoc all throughout the first half and Shannon was matched up with Malone most of the second half and held her to no scoring chances. Malone was then switched to the other side of the field by the Pennridge coaching staff for overtime.
North Allegheny finishes the season with a 13-3 record. After a wild season where there was uncertainty if it would even start, the Lady Tigers were able to repeat as WPIAL Champions and go farther in the PIAA playoffs than any other girls’ soccer team in North Allegheny history. Congratulations to coach Chuck Kelley and the entire team for a memorable and historic season.
Girls Soccer Summary vs. Pennridge, 11-21-20
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||OT||2OT||FINAL|
by Jared Barton
For the first time in program history, the North Allegheny Girls Soccer program has advanced to the PIAA Championship game following a 1-0 win over Cumberland Valley Tuesday night in Altoona.
The wind and snow at Mansion Park played a factor in a slow start for both teams, as junior goalkeeper Megan Miller made three critical stops in the first half to keep the game tied at zero.
After struggling against the wind in the first half, the Tigers found some relief in the second frame with more offensive chances.
With 22 minutes remaining in regulation, the Tigers broke into the offensive zone as a lead pass headed towards the net and three Cumberland Valley players, including goalie Abbie Miller, went for the loose ball. The two defenders collided as Miller slid to stop the ball, causing a rebound that was picked up and shot into the open net by NA senior Sarah Schupansky. The goal was only the second shot of the game by the Tigers.
Just minutes later, the strong winds picked up, and a large snow squall blanketed the field, hindering the Eagles chances as the game waned.
With six minutes left in the contest, Megan Miller came up with yet another major save in the snow to keep the Tigers ahead.
With the win, North Allegheny improves to 13-2-0 overall, and will take on Pennridge in the PIAA 4A Championship Game Saturday from Hersheypark Stadium. The game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Girls Soccer Summary vs. Cumberland Valley, 11-17-20
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||FINAL|
The North Allegheny girls’ soccer team punched its ticket to the PIAA semifinals for the first time in program history with a 5-1 win over McDowell in the PIAA quarterfinals on Saturday at Hampton High School.
Appearing in the quarterfinal round for the second consecutive season, the Lady Tigers withstood and early offensive charge by the Trojans. McDowell applied strong pressure in the first five minutes and produced two corner kicks. Despite the McDowell momentum, the Tigers weathered the storm thanks to the defensive play of Kena Shannon, Alexa Spano, Olivia Mark and Tulasi Syamala.
The North Allegheny offense sprung to life shortly thereafter and scored the game’s first goal on a marker by senior Sarah Schupanksy, assisted by sophomore Lucia Wells, for a 1-0 lead with 31:26 left in the first half.
Following the Schupansky goal, neither team found the back of the net in the first half and the score remained 1-0, North Allegheny, at intermission.
Early in the second half, Wells was awarded a penalty kick and the sophomore capitalized for the goal 3:26 into the half for a 2-0 lead.
McDowell crept back into the game when Abigail Faulhaber scored with 28:24 left in the second half, cutting the NA advantage to 2-1.
With 25:53 remaining, the Tigers gained a stranglehold of the contest on a terrific goal by Wells. The speedy sophomore streaked down the left wing, cut into the middle of the field and let loose a shot from 20 yards out that tickled the back of the McDowell net and NA led, 3-1. With two goals and an assist, Wells was selected as the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.
The Tigers controlled the contest the rest of the way and added goals by Schupansky with 17:18 left, and Ally Ruiz with 3:25 remaining, to close out a 5-1 victory.
North Allegheny outshot McDowell, 8-2, and led in corners, 4-2.
With the win, North Allegheny 12-2 on the season and advances to the PIAA semifinals to face the Cumberland Valley Eagles on Tuesday night. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Girls Soccer Summary vs. McDowell, 11-14-20
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||FINAL|
In a game that featured three penalty kicks and numerous twists and turns along the way, the North Allegheny girls’ soccer team captured a second straight WPIAL Class 4A championship with a 2-1 win in double overtime over the Butler Golden Tornado on Thursday night. Sophomore Lucia Wells scored the golden goal for the Tigers with 5:50 left in the second overtime at Antimarino Stadium in Monroeville. It was only the second time this season the Tigers have gone to overtime and on both occasions it was Wells who delivered the game winning marker.
Facing a Butler team that was making its first WPIAL title game appearance since 2002, the fifth-seeded Tigers continued their playoff trend of starting quickly. Just 11 minutes into the game, senior midfielder Bri Torchia sent a long through ball to senior Sarah Schupansky who eluded goalie Paige Miller and drilled a shot into the Butler net for an early 1-0 lead.
Following the Schupansky goal, her 21st of the season, North Allegheny utilized a patient possession game with defensemen Olivia Mark, Sophia Spano, Kena Shannon and Tulasi Syamala. Butler refrained from approaching the NA possession game aggressively and the first half ended quietly with the Tigers leading, 1-0.
In the second half, Butler stretched out its offensive approach and produced a penalty kick when Gabrielle Boden was tripped up in the goal box with 18:05 on the clock. Youngstown State commit Chloe Weiland took the penalty kick but was denied on a diving save by NA goalie Juliana Werner, keeping the Tigers one-goal lead intact.
Still trailing by one with less than a minute to go, Butler was granted yet another penalty kick when Samantha Miller was contacted in the box with 32 seconds to play. Samantha Miller converted on the PK to tie the game at 1-1 and force overtime. After three consecutive shutouts, the goal was the first allowed by the Tigers in over 319 minutes of playoff soccer.
Undaunted, North Allegheny went back on the attack in overtime and drew its own penalty kick with 9:15 on the clock in the extra session. Schupansky took the PK but was turned away on a sprawling save by Paige Miller and the game continued on.
The Tigers had the better of the field position in extra time, but the Golden Tornado managed a great scoring chance with nine minutes remaining in the second overtime but Samantha Miller’s shot from 20-yards out was stopped on another diving stop by Werner.
Then with 5:50 remaining in the second overtime, junior Hallie Marsalis played a ball from the midfield to Schupansky, who quickly toed a pass to Wells. The NA sophomore streaked past the Butler defense and into the goal box for a left-footed shot that beat Paige Miller to propel the Tigers to a thrilling 2-1 victory. The goal was Wells’ 17th of the season.
For their respective efforts on offense and in net, Wells and Werner were selected as the Wright Automotive Players of the Game.
With the win, North Allegheny improves to 11-2 on the season and advances to the PIAA playoffs for the second straight year. The Tigers will take on either Altoona or McDowell on Saturday, November 14 in the PIAA quarterfinals. Butler’s season comes to an end with a 11-2 record.
Girls Soccer Summary vs. Butler, 11-5-20
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||OT||2OT||FINAL|
by Jonathan Spina
For the second consecutive year, the Peters Township Indians stood in North Allegheny’s way on the road to the WPIAL championship. For the second consecutive year, the Lady Tigers were able to defeat the Indians, this time 3-0, to clinch a spot in the WPIAL Class 4A Championship. Coming into the game, Peters Township was on a six-game winning streak and had only allowed four goals all season.
Similar to the win over Norwin in the WPIAL quarterfinals, North Allegheny started fast and scored six minutes into the game when Olivia Mark found Sarah Schupansky who chipped a shot over Peters Township keeper Emma Sawich for 1-0 lead. North Allegheny controlled the pace of play most of the first half but with about 15 minutes to go in the half, Peters Township’s Sarah Heisinger got behind the NA defense but Julianna Werner made the save and the Tigers took their 1-0 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the Indians got very physical, accumulating many fouls. One foul proved fatal when Lucia Wells was fouled in the box. The sensational sophomore stepped up and hit the penalty kick and North Allegheny had a 2-0 lead with 28:18 left in the game. Four minutes later, Schupansky was fouled from 30 yards out. She cashed in for a 3-0 lead, beating Sawich top shelf on the free kick and the game was all but over with 24:20 remaining. North Allegheny’s defense was phenomenal in half number two frustrating the Indians and posting their third straight shutout in a 3-0 win.
Schupansky was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game, scoring two goals and drawing a lot of the defense’s attention. She now has a team-leading 20 goals on the year.
North Allegheny improves to 10-2 on the season and Peters Township’s season ends at 11-2-1. Up next for the Lady Tigers is a date with the Butler Tornado, Thursday at 8 p.m. in the WPIAL 4A Championship at Gateway High School. This game will be broadcast live right here on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Girls Soccer Summary vs. Peters Twp., 11-2-20
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||FINAL|