Arnav Patel’s Golden Goal Sends North Allegheny to the PIAA Quarterfinals
by: Jonathan Spina
Arnav Patel scored the golden goal with 44 seconds left in the second overtime period and North Allegheny advanced to the PIAA Quarterfinals with a 1-0 double overtime victory over State College on a windy Tuesday night at State College High School in the PIAA First Round.
The teams started by feeling each other out and the first 20 minutes was a lot of back and forth play around midfield. The first legitimate opportunity of the game came off the foot of State College’s Andrew Kogelmann from point blank range, but North Allegheny’s all-state keeper Dante Accamando made a great save to keep the score tied. North Allegheny responded with a chance of their own 10 minutes later when Zach Nash had a great opportunity in front, but State College’s keeper Luke Torbic was up to the challenge, and it stayed tied. North Allegheny had a corner kick with 15 seconds left in the half but couldn’t convert and it was 0-0 heading into halftime.
In the second half, the game really opened for both teams. State College’s Chase Zhou appeared to have a shot at an empty net, but Will Love saved the day keeping the ball out of the net to keep the game tied. North Allegheny quickly had an opportunity on the counterattack but once again Nash was stopped by Torbic. Zhou had another chance two minutes later, but this time Accamando was able to shut it down to keep the scoreless tie intact. State College kept the pressure on and Matias Harte got behind the defense for a breakaway, but Accamando just got a foot on the shot and the Little Lions continued to stay off the score sheet. State College got a free kick right outside the box with 45 seconds left in regulation but couldn’t cash in and we were headed to overtime with a 0-0 score.
Neither team took any chances in the overtime period but with 6:31 left in the first overtime, Nathan Katari put a well-placed shot in the top right corner of the net, but Torbic was there again to make a huge save for the Little Lions and keep the game going. In the second overtime period, it looked like Patel ended the game with 2:35 remaining when he took a free kick from right outside the box but even though Torbic was screened he was able to make the save. Two minutes later, a long throw-in was deflected by Brendan Moore on to Patel, who was able to bury it in the back of the net and the Tigers were headed to the PIAA Quarterfinals with a 1-0 overtime win.
With the game-winner, Patel was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. Accomando also played a phenomenal job keeping North Allegheny in a tie, especially in the second half.
North Allegheny improves to 17-2-3 on the season. State College finishes the season with a 14-2-4 record. The Tigers advance to the PIAA Quarterfinals where they will take on CB South, the sixth-place finisher out of District 1, on Saturday at a site and time to be determined.