NA Falls To Pine-Richland in WPIAL Semifinals
Neighborhood rivals North Allegheny and Pine-Richland faced off in the WPIAL playoffs for the third consecutive season on Saturday afternoon and the host Rams defeated the Tigers, 3-0, in the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals. It also marked the sixth time in the last seven seasons that the Tigers and Rams have dueled in a postseason contest.
On a damp and overcast afternoon, the four-time reigning WPIAL champions got off to a strong start on their home turf when senior Jessica Albertson scored her team-leading 34th goal of the season with 12:51 left in the first quarter for a prompt 1-0 lead.
The Rams dictated the pace in the first half and held the Tigers without a shot on net in the first 30 minutes. Pine-Richland’s pressure led to a second goal with 10:54 left in the second period. Junior Georgia Rottinghaus blistered two high-velocity shots on net that were both skillfully saved by North Allegheny goalie Kayla Joyce. However, a rebound following Rottinghaus’ second shot fell on to the stick of senior Khushi Saini, who tapped the ball in for her 10th goal of the season, and the Rams extended the lead to 2-0. The defense of Eliana Jones, Haley Shanahan and Ryann Snowden, along with the net minding of Joyce, kept the deficit at two goals for the Tigers. Joyce made a pair of outstanding saves as time expired in the first half.
Coming out of halftime, the Tigers played their most spirited quarter of the game and junior Mia Brinkley yielded NA’s first shot on net midway through the period. Despite the uptick in energy from North Allegheny, the third quarter finished in a stalemate with Pine-Richland maintaining a 2-0 lead.
The Rams effectively put the game away with 12:33 left in the fourth period on Albertson’s second goal of the game and 35th of the season for a 3-0 lead.
North Allegheny fought valiantly in the remaining minutes and picked up one more shot on net from senior Isla Abrams, but PR prevailed by a 3-0 final to advance to the WPIAL Class 3A championship game next week to face Peters Township at W&J’s Cameron Stadium.
For their efforts on the day, and in their brilliant careers at North Allegheny, the senior class of Abrams, Shanahan, Khadija Bajwa, Tanvi Challa and Sophie Grafton were collectively selected as the Wright Automotive Players of the Game.
North Allegheny’s season comes to a close with an 8-9-2 record, while Pine-Richland remains unbeaten with an 18-0 mark. Congratulations to head coach Michelle Kessler, the coaching staff and the entire team for another outstanding season of North Allegheny field hockey.
Field Hockey Summary vs. Pine-Richland, 10-28-23
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