Pine-Richland rolls into WPIAL boys soccer semifinals
Heading into the opening round of the WPIAL soccer playoffs, Pine-Richland coach John Conner ensured his team remembered the key to the its 16-1-1 record.
“Play every team as if they are the best team you faced,” Conner said. “These teams are here (in the playoffs) for a reason.”
The message was heard as the Rams struck early and often against Norwin, winning, 4-0, and sending the Rams to the second round against Kiski.
Pine-Richalnd senior forward Victor Osio scored the first two goals of the game.
“The early goal was good because it let us set the tempo,” Osio said. “The second goal, I have no idea, but we said a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous to have in soccer. It is a good thing we put another one in.”
Osio's performance set the stage for Mike Jones to seal the game with an early second-half goal, and he followed that up with another to make sure there would be no Norwin rally.
“I got a good pass from Aiden (Reuter) on the first one; he crossed it over the goalie for me,” Jones said. “Luke (McDonough) beat a defender and (passed it) to me, and I was able to finish.”
Pine-Richland goalie Grant Goldberg made a pair of key saves in the second half to keep Norwin from coming back.
The convincing win was chalked up to good work in the midfield, according to Conner.
“We were patient and worked through the midfield,” Conner said. “We worked out some problems because their forwards are dangerous. ... They have quite a bit of speed, which gave us some trouble.
“I think our energy level increased throughout the game, that was the difference.”
Pine-Richland 2, Kiski 1
Goalie Grant Goldberg made a pair of key saves as the game came down to penalty kicks, then scored a goal to boost the Rams.
“Anytime you have a chance to be a part of something like that, it is fun,” Goldberg said. “It was a heck of a game, and you do anything you can to live it. It just stinks it has to come down to a penalty kick.”
The win put the Rams in the WPIAL semifinals against Upper St. Clair. Results of that game were unavailable as of press time.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.