Win over Penn-Trafford keeps Norwin soccer in third
In a match that could have major playoff implications down the road, Norwin defended its home field against its rival.
Matt Henry scored after four minutes, and Nate Andreyko added a goal on each side of halftime to lead Norwin to a 3-1 win over Penn-Trafford in Section 1-AAA play Saturday.
Adam Balko scored a late goal for Penn-Trafford (3-5-0, 2-3-0), which would have pulled into a tie for third place with Norwin (5-4-0, 4-2-0) with a win.
For the Knights, it was the team's third section win in succession and pulled the team's record above .500 for the first time this season.
“We're definitely starting to come together as a team, on and off the field,” Andreyko said.
“Our confidence is definitely up. The first few games, we kind of hit a buzzsaw with some tough teams. Now we've won a couple games in a row, but we have to keep taking them one at a time.”
Penn-Trafford, entering the week, sat six points out of a playoff position but with one more game to play than the Knights.
“We had the same problem last year when we were just sitting on the edge of the playoff line,” P-T senior Steven Sieber said. “To get back into the playoff picture, we have to keep working hard in practice, and getting our two guys back —Tyler Novotny and Pete O'Connor — is going to be a big help.”
Henry put the Knights ahead by getting on the end of a long diagonal pass from Tyler Livingston on the left side at the top of the penalty area. With P-T defenders and goalkeeper Bryce Tramuta closing, Henry finished with a shot to the right side of the net for a 1-0 lead.
“It's important in every game to get the first goal,” Andreyko said. “You can play a little more comfortably and a little more confident.”
Norwin doubled the lead 10 minutes before halftime when Andreyko got behind the P-T defense on a through ball from Tyler Liebdzinski. Tramuta made the save on the initial shot, but Andreyko outran the Warriors defense to the rebound and placed the ball to the right of the goalkeeper.
Norwin kept up the pressure in the second half, but P-T had chances of its own.
After Tramuta made one of his many tough saves on a Mitch Farabaugh header, the clearance by the P-T defense sent Jacob Donald in on a breakaway. Knights goalie Will Kerr came off his line to meet Donald at the top of the box, and the Norwin keeper covered the ball before the P-T attacker could take his shot.
Norwin added a third goal on a free kick, when Henry drove a ball toward the near post from the right side, and Andreyko redirected the shot into the net.
“I talked to Matt before the kick and said if he has a shot, take it, but I'll be at the near post,” Andreyko said.
P-T pulled one goal back in the 76th minute after a long free kick from the midfield stripe was headed by Sieber before going out of play wide of the goal. That header found Balko's head in front of the net, and he nodded the ball behind Kerr.
“We had a beautiful ball in, Stevie hustled to get it, and he headed it back to me. I just had to finish it,” Balko said.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.