Kiski Area boys soccer team wins 3rd straight section title
The implications couldn't have been clearer for the Kiski Area and Franklin Regional boys soccer teams: A win Monday meant a Section 1-AAA title; a loss meant a lower seed and a tougher road through the playoffs.
The Cavaliers got the better end of that scenario with a 4-2 win over the Panthers at Franklin Regional.
“It sounds good,” Kiski Area coach Bob Wright said. “This is the third year in a row (we've won the section). Each time, it's as gratifying, or more. This is probably more gratifying because you know the target is on your back.”
Both teams, which battled to a 1-1 tie on Sept. 18, entered the game with 9-1-1 records in the section.
Kiski Area (13-2-2, 10-1-1) rattled off four straight sections wins following a 3-2 loss to Hempfield on Oct. 2. Since the tie with Kiski Area, Franklin Regional (11-3-2, 9-2-1) won five straight section matches before losing two of its past three games, including a 2-0 loss to Norwin, also on Oct. 2.
Another tie would have ensured both teams shared the section title.
Kiski Area was in control throughout the first half, and it scored first.
A scramble, following a throw-in from the left side, led to a loose ball squirting to sophomore forward Zach Wilson. His shot snuck inside the left post 14 minutes into the game.
Sophomore forward Dakota Lange added another goal in open space less than three minutes later for a 2-0 lead.
“It made a bend about 2 1⁄2 yards away from the keeper,” Wright said. “There was so much movement on that ball; it was just sick.”
Franklin Regional cut into the lead to 2-1 at 14:36 with a header from senior forward Jake Roberge. The redirect, which came off a free kick from the center of the field about 30 yards out, was lofted enough to clear Kiski Area goalkeeper Brandon Smail's outstretched arms.
Lange added another score for Kiski Area from a sharp angle left of the goal in the third minute of the second half.
“I was just trying to get the ball across,” Lange said. “Luckily, it went in.”
Less than three minutes later, Franklin Regional answered when Danny McGrath headed a cornered kick into the goal.
Lange again gave Kiski Area a two-goal lead, 4-2, with his third goal, settling a rebound before burying it inside the right post at 30:31 of the second half.
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.