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Norwin boys soccer beaten in playoff opener

| Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

For the second straight season, Norwin's boys soccer season ended at Pine-Richland.

The Knights were shut out by the third-seeded Rams, 4-0 in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA tournament on Monday, two days short of one year since Pine-Richland's 2-1 win in the 2011 first round.

Victor Osio had two first-half goals, and Mike Jones scored two in the second half for Pine-Richland (17-1-0), which advances to face No. 6 Kiski Area in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Norwin's season ends with a 9-8-0 record, but with the school's lengthy streak of playoff appearances still intact.

“The one thing that really sticks out with this group is the unwillingness to quit,” Norwin coach Scott Schuchert said.

“All year, that's what this group has done. They've overcome tough losses, and that's a testament to their character.”

The first-year head coach, who only started working with his players less than a month before the start of the season, said that under the circumstances, this year's team — especially the departing seniors — couldn't have made the transition any smoother.

“From day one, even with a late start in camp, they showed immense respect to me and my staff,” Schuchert said.

“Going into my first year, I couldn't have asked for a better group of seniors because they trusted me, and I could trust them.”

The loss to the high-powered Rams started out the wrong way, as Osio put the home team on the scoreboard very early in the game. That gave Pine-Richland the emotional boost it wanted, while it kept Norwin on the back foot for much of the opening half.

“We gave up an early goal, and it really set the tone,” Schuchert said. “It seemed like they really thrived on that first goal, and it took us about half of the game to really get into a flow.”

Making a comeback more difficult for Norwin was the play of Pine-Richland goalkeeper Grant Goldberg, who made a series of spectacular saves in the second half to keep the Knights off the scoreboard.

“Their goalkeeper played a sensational game, and he made some huge saves,” Schuchert said.

“If one goal goes in, it might change the whole complexion for the game. But they finished on their quality chances, and we didn't, when we had them.”

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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