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Sewickley Academy girls soccer team falls in PIAA quarterfinals

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr.| Sewickley Academy midfielder Molly Lennen (9) moves the ball downfield against Greensburg Central Catholics Aja Thorpe (24) during playoff action at Baldwin High School on Saturday, November 3, 2012

Enjoying its finest season in nearly a decade, the Sewickley Academy girls soccer team ended the year on a sour note with a 3-1 loss to archrival Shady Side Academy in the quarterfinals of the PIAA playoffs last week.

It was the most points the Lady Panthers (21-2-1) allowed this season. With junior Maggie Dewitt as goalkeeper, they had 12 consecutive shutouts and surrendered only four goals during the regular season.

“As a defender, I was proud of the way we played this year,” said senior Amy Kolor, who scored the lone goal against Shady Side Academy. “We were doing so well, a team was bound to score a lot against us.”

Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Shady Side Academy (17-5-1) stormed back with three goals in the second half.

“We dominated the first half, then had a lapse in the second,” Kolor said.

“We let our guard down,” senior Camdin Bartholomew said. “They had a few good minutes.

“You have to give them credit for taking advantage of it.”

Sewickley Academy, the WPIAL runner-up, reached the quarterfinals after beating District 5 champion Conemaugh Twp., 1-0, in the first round.

Junior Melina George, Sewickley Academy's leading scorer this year with 17 goals, scored the lone goal.

Sewickley Academy qualified for the PIAA playoffs after finishing second to Greensburg Central Catholic at the WPIAL championship.

Before losing to Shady Side Academy, the third-place team from the WPIAL, the Panthers were looking forward to a rematch with Greensburg Central Catholic in the PIAA semifinals.

“It would have been nice to have gone farther, but we had a good season,” Kolor said. “I have no complaints; it was a good ride.”

Sewickley Academy coach Jessica Peluso agreed the team played well.

“I am very proud of all that we accomplished this season,” she said. “While we may have hoped to script a different ending, we will certainly look back on this season with nothing but positive memories.

“It was a special group of girls that I thoroughly enjoyed coaching.”

It was the second time in three seasons the Panthers qualified for the PIAA championship.

In 2010, they were state runners-up after finishing second in the WPIAL to Shady Side Academy.

Sewickley Academy was PIAA Class AA champion in 2003.

In 2004, it was eliminated in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs after winning the WPIAL title.

The Panthers lost to Greensburg Central Catholic in the PIAA Class AA semifinals in 2005.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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