2022-2023 Game Summaries
by Jared Barton
The North Allegheny girls’ soccer team fell to the Central Dauphin Rams, 2-1, in the PIAA Quarterfinals on Saturday at Westmont Hilltop High School.
NA started fast out of the gate and controlled the pace in the opening minutes. A combination of offensive zone time and stiff backline play gave the Tigers most of the possession time in the half. Central Dauphin took advantage of a North Allegheny corner kick, as a Ram fed a lead pass up field to sophomore Kayden Williams who was left alone in a one-on-one matchup with junior goalkeeper Natalie Rak. Williams slipped a shot into the NA net from 10-yards out with 22 minutes left in the half for a 1-0 lead.
NA struck back 12 minutes later, as senior Sophia Palermo drove a corner kick into traffic in front of the Rams net. The ball deflected off sophomore defender Maddie Miller for her first of the season. Miller became the 19th different Tiger to score at least one goal this season. The game was tied 1-1 at the half.
The Tigers once again came on strong to start second half play, but the Rams took full advantage of another corner kick with 27 minutes left in the contest. Senior midfielder Nia Chinapoo aired a shot from the far flag into traffic in front of the NA net. Junior Makenna Kirk deflected what turned out to be the game-winner into the back of the net.
North Allegheny had opportunities for an equalizer in the closing minutes. Sophomore Aubrey Wells clanked a shot off the crossbar with 22 minutes to go. Senior Riley Cerqua also rattled a shot from distance off the same bar with less than two minutes to go.
The Wright Automotive Player of the Game was awarded to all the seniors including Anna Bundy, Allie Burns, Riley Cerqua, Sophia Palermo and Lucia Wells.
The Tigers end another great season with a 21-2-0 overall record (13-1-0 in section play) and another WPIAL Championship. Congrats to Head Coach Chuck Kelley and the team on the success, and good luck to the seniors with your future endeavors on and off the pitch.
Girls Soccer Summary vs. Central Dauphin, 11-12-22
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||FINAL|
by Bob Orkwis
Coming off their third WPIAL title, North Allegheny has set its sights on capturing state gold for the first time. That quest got off on the right foot at Newman Stadium as the Tigers defeated Warwick 3-1 in the PIAA 4A Frist Round.
The match itself got off on the right foot, when the Tigers were awarded a free kick in the 4th minute of play. Senior Lucia Wells took the direct kick and found the net for her 29th goal of the season to put North Allegheny up 1-0.
— North Allegheny Girls Soccer (@nasoccergirls) November 9, 2022
The score would stay that way until the final minute of the first half when the Tigers would strike again. Abigail Stager had her shot blocked in the box, but Sophia Palermo picked up the rebound on deposited a left footed shot into the top right corner of the net. The goal was the fourth of the season for the senior.
In the second half, it was Wells again early. Just two minutes in, Stager sent a pass towards Jadyn Coy, but the Warriors deflected the ball to the right wing, where Wells quickly fired from around 25-yards out into the top of the net for her second goal of the match and a 3-0 North Allegheny lead.
Warwick would get on the board in the 50th minute, when WVU bound senior Olivia Schertzer scored her 25th goal of the year to pull the Warriors within two.
But that would be the end of the scoring and the Tigers would advance with the 3-1 win.
Junior Natalie Rak made five saves for North Allegheny, as the Tigers outshot the Warriors 15-6. North Allegheny also took all 7 corner kicks in the contest.
With two more tallies on the year, Lucia Wells was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. The Pitt bound forward now has a program record 80 goals in her career.
With the win, the Tigers (21-1) head to the second round of the state playoffs where they will face Central Dauphin. Central Dauphin (19-2-1), the second-place finisher from District 3, defeated Central Bucks East 2-1 in their first-round matchup. The Tigers and the Rams will play Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
Girls Soccer Summary vs. Warwick, 11-8-22
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||FINAL|
The North Allegheny girls’ soccer team won the WPIAL Class 4A championship for the third time in the last four seasons with a thrilling 2-1 win in a double overtime, penalty kick shootout at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh. The Tigers outscored the Indians 3-2 in penalty kicks and senior Riley Cerqua what proved to be the game-winning goal in the shootout. It’s the third straight postseason win over Peters Township, including a 2-1 triumph that was determined by penalty kicks in the 2019 WPIAL semifinals.
The top-seeded Tigers and the third-seeded Indians traded punches in a scoreless first half. In a defensive-minded game for much of the night, Peters Township scored the first goal of the night in the 47th minute. Senior Bliss Plummer’s shot from the left flank was saved by North Allegheny keeper Natalie Rak, who then stonewalled senior Bella Spergel on back-to-back rebound attempts. However, a third rebound for the persistent Spergel found the back of the net and the Indians grabbed a 1-0 lead. The goal was Spergel’s 12th of the year.
The Peters Township lead was short-lived, however, as North Allegheny senior Lucia Wells tied the game 24 seconds later on a feed from fellow senior Anna Bundy and the game was tied 1-1. The goal was Well’s team-leading 28th of the season.
Despite the quick flurry of goals in the 47th minute, the rest of the contest remained deadlocked all the way through double overtime. Sophomore defenseman Eliana Vitale made two terrific defensive plays in the extra session, including a wheel kick on a clearing effort in front of the net five minutes into the first overtime. Vitale made a defensive save in the second overtime to prevent the Indians from winning the contest. Junior Abigail Stager had the best scoring chances in overtime with two shots on net, but freshman keeper Molly Kubistek performed valiantly for Peters Township and made seven saves.
With the game still tied after two overtime periods, a penalty kick shootout was necessitated to decide a victor. Wells scored on the first kick for NA, but was immediately answered by Spergel to even the shootout at 1-1. Senior Sophia Palermo gave the Tigers the edge back with a goal and Ella Neupaver missed on the next opportunity for the Indians, giving NA a 2-1 advantage. Neither team scored on their next shot, but in the fourth round of penalty kicks Cerqua delivered to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Christina Sefer answered back for the Indians, cutting the shootout score to 3-2 with one more round remaining. NA didn’t convert on its final shot opportunity, leaving the game resting on the toe of Lexi Pirosko. The All-WPIAL defenseman missed the net on her shot attempt and the Tigers prevailed by a final score of 2-1 (3-2 in PK’s).
WPIAL Champions 🏆⚽️ pic.twitter.com/VWCh1goz1f
— North Allegheny Girls Soccer (@nasoccergirls) November 4, 2022
Rak earned the win for North Allegheny with six saves on the night. Palermo, who scored in the PK’s, was rock solid in the midfield throughout the game and earned Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.
With a 10th consecutive win, North Allegheny improves to 20-1 on the season and advances to the PIAA playoffs. Peters Township dips to 14-2-3 on the year and will also enter the PIAA playoffs on Tuesday as the WPIAL runners-up.
Girls Soccer Summary vs. Peters Township, 11-3-22
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||OT1||OT2||PK||FINAL|
Facing off for the third time this season, the North Allegheny girls’ soccer team won the all-important rubber match with Seneca Valley in the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals with a 3-2 triumph on Monday night at Gateway High School. The Tigers advance to the WPIAL championship game for the third time in the last four seasons to take on the Peters Township Indians, who defeated Mt. Lebanon in the other semifinal, 2-1. The victory also clinches a berth in the PIAA playoffs next week.
Both North Allegheny and Seneca Valley entered the semifinal round with only one loss on the year, with each team defeating the other during the regular season. In the most important matchup of the season between these two familiar foes, it was North Allegheny who came out on top.
In the early going, the Tigers had the better of the possession time and produced a pair of good scoring chances on corner kicks. In the game’s 11th minute, senior Sophia Palermo drove a corner kick from the far flag onto the toe of Ally Ruiz, who sent a hard shot on net. While Ruiz was behind Seneca Valley keeper Mia Humphreys, it was senior Emily Stratton who made a defensive save near the goal line for the Raiders to keep the game scoreless.
In the 25th minute, North Allegheny’s third corner kick of the evening delivered the game’s first goal. Once again, Palermo administered a strong corner kick that deflected to junior Abigail Stager, who tapped the ball in with her right foot for a 1-0 lead. It was the 16th goal of the season for the University of Kentucky recruit.
Seneca Valley tied the game in the 31st minute when junior Ayla Ward fed a pass to senior Kendall Walton for a shot from 30 yards out that clanged off the right post and deflected toward the left post, slowly leaking across the goal line to even the score at 1-1. North Allegheny goalie Natalie Rak made a sprawling effort attempting to prevent the goal but Seneca Valley’s fortunate carom evened the score and the game remained tied by halftime.
Just 2:05 into the second half, North Allegheny regained the lead thanks to a perfectly arched shot by Lucia Wells from 20 yards out over a leaping Humphries for a 2-1 advantage. The goal was Wells’ team-leading 27th of the season. Leading the charge with a spirited effort on the pitch throughout the night, Wells was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.
North Allegheny led in corner kicks, 7-4, but it was Seneca Valley’s fourth corner kick opportunity that tied the game. In the 72nd minute, Walton scored her second goal of the night, bending a corner kick from the far flag into the back of the NA net and the game was deadlocked at 2-2.
Undaunted, the Tigers went right back to work and continued to mount pressure. With 4:13 remaining in the game, Wells started a transition break with a pass to senior Anna Bundy on the right side. Bundy then directed a centering pass to junior Jadyn Coy, who buried a shot near the top of the 18 for a 3-2 lead. The goal, Coy’s fifth of the season, proved to be the game winner. It was also the second game-winning goal for Coy this year against Seneca Valley. She also tallied the deciding marker in a 1-0 defeat of the Raiders on Oct. 17 at Newman Stadium.
With the win, North Allegheny improves to 19-1 on the season, while Seneca Valley’s season comes to an end with a 13-2-2 mark. The Tigers have won eight of their last 10 meetings with the Raiders. The playoff matchup between NA and SV was the first between the two teams since the Tigers defeated the Raiders in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 playoffs, 5-1.
North Allegheny will next take on Peters Township in the WPIAL Class 4A championship on Thursday night at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh at 8:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network/Trib Live HSSN.
— North Allegheny Girls Soccer (@nasoccergirls) November 1, 2022
Girls Soccer Summary vs. Seneca Valley, 10-31-22
|SCORE BY HALVES||1||2||FINAL|
by Jared Barton
Top-seeded North Allegheny Girls Soccer earned a 2-1 win over No. 8 Bethel Park on Thursday night at Newman Stadium in the quarterfinal round of the WPIAL Playoffs.
The Tigers dictated the pace throughout the first half, keeping possession almost exclusively in the NA offensive zone. After plenty of chances, senior Lucia Wells took a feed from fellow senior Anna Bundy and chipped it past the Bethel Park goalkeeper with 17 minutes left in the half for a 1-0 lead.
North Allegheny took command early in the second half, but Bethel Park made necessary adjustments during the intermission to crack the NA defensive code. Freshman Callee Dalbon took advantage of a Tiger turnover and found the back of the net with 32 minutes to go, knotting the score at 1-1.
It didn’t take long for NA to respond, as the squad brought the ball back into the offensive zone, spurring a corner kick opportunity. Junior Jadyn Coy gathered possession off a rebound and took a diagonal shot towards the net that was initially saved. The rebound came lose, and senior Allie Burns buried the ball in the back of the net right on the right corner of the goal. The goal gave NA a 2-1 lead and came less than a minute after the Bethel marker.
North Allegheny kept control for the rest of the contest and ended the game with 16 shots on net. Junior goalkeeper Natalie Rak made three saves in the win.
Burns was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game for her game-winning goal.
NA is back in action on Monday in the WPIAL 4A semifinals in a rubber match with the Seneca Valley Raiders. Game time and location is to be determined. The game will be broadcast live on the North Allegheny Sports Network.