Kiski Area boys soccer team trips North Allegheny in WPIAL playoffs
For the second straight year, Kiski Area knocked off North Allegheny in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA boys soccer playoffs.
The sixth-seeded Cavaliers topped No. 11 North Allegheny, 1-0 (4-3 penalty kicks), on Monday night at Pine-Richland to move into the quarterfinals.
Kiski Area (13-2-2) advanced to face No. 3 Pine-Richland (17-1) on Thursday at a time and site to be determined.
Last year, the Cavaliers won in overtime, 2-1, in the opening round. In that win, goalkeeper Brandon Smail was stellar down the stretch, and Monday night was no different.
Smail made 13 saves, including two in the penalty-kick period, to keep the Cavaliers in the game. North Allegheny (13-4-1) had 15 scoring chances to Kiski Area's four in regulation.
“As Yogi Berra would say, ‘It was deja vu all over again,' ” Kiski Area coach Bob Wright said about his goalkeeper's play. “He's been on and off all season, but he was stellar tonight.
“He's a playoff goalie for sure.”
North Allegheny came out playing an uptempo style that had the Cavaliers on their heels for the first 40 minutes. The Tigers' Alex Dorazio made three excellent cross-field passes, but his teammates couldn't convert them.
Smail took over in the second half, making three spectacular saves to keep the game scoreless.
The first came early in the half when he leaped from a standstill to knock a shot over the crossbar. The next two came in succession, when he denied Tiger forwards Duncan Riding and Ryan Fulton from point-blank range. Each save was made from inside of 8 yards.
The Cavaliers took over in two overtime periods, outshooting the Tigers, 6-2. Smail's biggest save of the night came when he dove to the high right side to make a blind save on Fulton.
Kiski Area forward Dakota Lange had three solid chances in the second overtime period, but none could find the net.
In the penalty kick session, Kiski Area's Matt Dziadosz and Ian Moorehead exchanged goals with the Tigers' Steve Bining and Fulton on each team's first two attempts. After Lange scored for the Cavaliers, Smail robbed North Allegheny's Alex Correa. The game was over when Smail stopped the Tigers' Andrew Earle following a made Tyler Graham attempt.
“We just seemed to be in a little bit better condition in the overtimes,” Wright said. “We were very intense and got a lot of shots.”
R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.