Finals' Call

Raider boys, Trojanettes both going after WPIAL titles

November 3, 2021 Cranberry Local Sports

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Seneca Valley midfielder Cole Kamerac gets off a shot in front of Fox Chapel defender Quentin Cook in WPIAL Class 4A boys soccer semi-final action at North Allegheny's Newman Stadium Tuesday night. The Raiders won the game, 1-0. Nate Black/Special to the Eagle

WEXFORD — Seneca Valley boys soccer coach George Williams was expecting Fox Chapel to be a very tough out in Tuesday's WPIAL Class 4A semifinal.

He was correct, but his Raiders had the mettle —and the goal — to get past the Foxes.

Nathan Prex scored in the 63rd minute as the defending district and state champions dispatched Fox Chapel, 1-0, at North Allegheny's Newman Stadium.

The game was the second of a doubleheader. In the first contest, North Catholic's girls defeated Shady Side Academy, 3-1, in a Class 2A semifinal.

Fox Chapel and SV are no strangers to each other. Both members of Section 1, they met twice this season. The Raiders won 2-0 before the Foxes forced a 2-2 tie Oct. 5.

“Fox Chapel (15-4-1) stepped up defensively from the last time we saw them,” Williams said. “Early on tonight, they weren't letting us get close (scoring chances).”

That changed in the second half. Cole Kamarec nearly put a through ball past Foxes' keeper Connor Scanlon in the 60th minute and the Raiders (17-0-1) kept the pressure on.

Minutes later, Connor Morrisard fed Prex the ball left of the net and the senior eluded a defender before burying his 33rd goal of the season, a school-record in one campaign.

Seneca Valley midfielder Nathan Prex (10) battles for a header with Fox Chapel defender Ashton Schutzman in the WPIAL 4A boys soccer semifinals Tuesdayu night. Prex scored the game's only goal breaking the school record in the process in the Raiders' win. Nathan Black/Special to the Eagle

“We'd like to score more, but one's all it took,” Prex said. “Scoring the (record-breaking) goal in a game like this, you can't ask for anything better.”

SV goalie Ryan Krumenacker made five saves, but didn't have to face a penalty kick when it appeared that officials missed a Raiders' handball in the goalbox in the 76th minute.

“Those things happen,” said Fox Chapel coach Erik Ingram. “Seneca Valley is a great team. We were right there, just fell short tonight.”

The Raiders will face Peters Township at 5:45 p.m. Saturday at Highmark Stadium for the district crown.

The same matchup decided the WPIAL title a year ago, with SV prevailing 4-3.

North Catholic players celebrate a goal by Makenzie DeBlassio against Shadyside Academy in the Trojanettes' 3-1 WPIAL Class 2A girls soccer semifinal win Tuesday night. Nate Black/Special to the Eagle

Girls Soccer North Catholic 3, Shady Side Academy 1

For the first few minutes of the game, it was Shady Side controlling the tempo.

The Bulldogs (12-2-1) put pressure on North's net, forcing goalkeeper Rylee Kumer to make a pair of saves within seconds of each other.

It was certainly not a sign of things to come as the Trojanettes received a goal from Tehya Dave in the 13th minute and built a comfortable lead before Shady Side could answer.

“Just scoring that first goal seems to relax everybody,” said North coach Brittni Grenninger. “We've tried to be an attacking team all year and we have a lot of scoring power. It opens up more space for us.”

For the second year in a row, two-time defending WPIAL champ North Catholic (17-1) will face Avonworth for the district crown. First touch will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh.

Shady Side was able to keep its deficit at just one goal for the rest of the first half, but the Bulldogs were struggling to mount much of a threat on Kumer.

North made things more difficult on them in the 46th minute. Jayden Sharpless' cross from the right of the net found Lauren MacDonald and the junior midfielder booted in her 19th goal of the season.

Makenzie DeBlassio made it 3-0 less than three minutes later.

SSA got on the board with Gabby Hill-Junke's goal in the 64th minute, but the Bulldogs could pull no closer.

“Gabby's a special player and she had a great finish on that goal,” said Grenninger, “but we played her well other than that.”

SSA goalkeeper Erin Vanetta had nine saves.

Kumer made five saves for the Trojanettes, who are in search of their third straight district crown.

The only loss suffered by North this season was a 2-1 decision against Avonworth in late September. The section rivals split their two meetings this fall, with the Trojanettes winning 4-0 Sept. 8.

North beat the Antelopes for the WPIAL title last year, 1-0.

“They're definitely a good team,” MacDonald said. “We just need to keep playing our game and attacking. Scoring early would help.”

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Derek Pyda

Derek Pyda

- Graduated from Connellsville High School in 1996
- Graduated from Clarion University in 2000 with a Bachelors in Communications
- Have also written for Clarion News (Clarion, PA) and the Herald-Standard (Uniontown, PA)
- Started at the Butler Eagle on April 2, 2002
- Interests include sports, history and geography