Gateway hosts Plum in search of payback for overtime loss
The Gateway varsity boys soccer team hosts Plum on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. at Antimarino Stadium, and revenge will be on the minds of the Gators players.
On Sept. 22, Gateway was less than two minutes away from a big Section 3-AAA victory over the Mustangs at Plum's Mustangs Stadium.
The Gators scored twice in the first half and led 2-1 at the break. They maintained the one-goal advantage for most of the second half.
Plum pushed some extra attackers forward late in the second half and got the equalizer.
Gateway had a couple of scoring chances in the first overtime but was unsuccessful. Plum then capped off the come-from-behind victory with a goal from junior defender Stephen Hemmerle in the second extra session.
Gators first-year head coach Chris Duda said the loss was frustrating considering how well his team played for a majority of the game. He said he's hoping to see a different outcome this time around.
“They are pumped for the game,” Duda said. “It's senior night, and they want to go out and perform well.”
Seniors Brian Carey, Doucet Creamer, Nathan Kleya, Ray Scalise and Kenny Stevens will be honored in a ceremony before the opening kickoff.
“They've held the team together and helped push the younger guys,” Duda said.
“Morale was down with a couple losses in a row, but they helped pull the team together and took charge of leadership. They helped me a lot when I got here and didn't know what I was getting into. They are a great group of kids.”
Gateway entered the week 3-6 in section play and still was alive for a playoff spot. The Gators knew they needed to take care of business with wins in their final three section games and get some help.
An overtime loss to Woodland Hills on Sept. 25 and a 2-0 loss to Allderdice on Sept. 18, Duda said, were two tough losses the team wishes they could have back.”
“With any team, it comes down to who is going to show up in a particular game,” he said. “We've played some really great games and came up short. There is a little frustration in knowing we could've played better in a couple of our other games.”
Gateway was slated to play section games against Fox Chapel on Tuesday and Penn Hills on Wednesday. Both games were to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.
Plum began the week 4-3-2 in section and was scheduled to play Penn Hills on Tuesday. The Mustangs close out their section slate against Penn Hills on Saturday.
Allderdice also started the week alive for the playoffs. The top three teams from each AAA section qualify for WPIALs.
Gateway stayed alive for the playoffs and slowed Allderdice's chances at a postseason trip in its first season in the WPIAL with a 5-1 victory over the Dragons last Thursday.
“It felt great. Morale was up. They came out and played hard,” Duda said. “They want to finish the season strong and play every game to the end. They did that against Allderdice.”
Everyone on the Gateway varsity roster played against Allderdice, and the Gators got two goals from Carey and one each from junior Matt Reynolds and sophomores Sam Seroky and Jared Jenkins.
Kleya earned the shutout in net, and he made seven saves. One of the saves came on a Allderdice penalty shot.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.