Stager’s Golden Goal Lifts NA Past Canon-McMillan in WPIAL Semifinals

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Abigail Stager‘s goal 22 seconds into overtime propelled top-seeded North Allegheny to a 2-1 victory over fifth-seeded Canon-McMillan on Monday night in the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals from Moon High School. The golden goal by Stager punches North Allegheny’s ticket to the WPIAL championship game for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

From the outset, North Allegheny dictated the pace for the vast majority of the game and yielded several good scoring chances in the first half. In the first 40 seconds of the game, senior Jadyn Coy put a shot on net from the top of the 18 but Canon-McMillan goalie Cianna Butera made a diving stop to thwart the first of many threats put forth by the Tigers. With 24 minutes left in the first half, a header by senior Abby Lang was denied by another stellar stop by Butera, keeping the game scoreless.

Appearing in the WPIAL semifinals for the first time since 2016, Canon-McMillan played a physical game with North Allegheny. However, at times overaggressive, the Big Macs physicality created a free kick for the Tigers that was converted into the first goal of the evening. Granted a free kick from 35-yards out, senior Maddie Miller blasted a rocket shot past Butera for the game’s first goal and a 1-0 lead. The goal for Miller was her second of the season.

The North Allegheny defense, along with the back line of Miller, Lang and junior Elliana Vitale limited the Big Macs for most of the night. Canon-McMillan junior and Penn State commit, Lily Bane, was completely silenced and the field remained tilted in NA’s direction throughout the second half. However, the Big Macs put forth a late charge with their season on the line and managed to score the equalizer in the waning minutes when a header by Abby Ault found the back of the net with 1:32 remaining in the game. With the game tied at 1-1, the Tigers were headed to overtime for the second consecutive game in the postseason.

Coming off a win via penalty kicks over Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL quarterfinals, North Allegheny made sure this overtime contest came to a quick conclusion. Just 22 seconds into the extra session, Stager scored the game-winning goal, her 31st of the season, to lift the Tigers to a 2-1 victory. For her efforts, Stager was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

With the win, North Allegheny remains perfect on the season with a 20-0 record. Canon-McMillan’s season comes to an end with a 9-7-2 mark. The Tigers advance to the WPIAL Class 4A championship on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. to face a familiar foe, the Fox Chapel Foxes. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network.

Girls Soccer Summary vs. Canon-McMillan, 10-30-23

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