Carlynton boys soccer's season comes to end
Carlynton's 2-1 shootout win over Vincentian Academy last week was the exclamation point on an impressive season.
After finishing the 2011 season with one win, the Cougars roared back and finished the 2012 regular season with 12 wins. The team used a 7-1-1 streak to end the season and clinch a playoff spot.
That streak included a victory over Seton-La Salle, a team Carlynton had lost against seven straight times. And the squad advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, they had to face undefeated and top-seeded Sewickley Academy in the quarterfinals. Carlynton fell to the Panthers, 4-0.
“It definitely wasn't the draw we wanted,” Carlynton coach Charlie Dagnal said. “Overall, we looked tired. I think the Vincentian game took a lot out of us. I don't want to make excuses though. Sewickley Academy is a good team.”
The Cougars seemed to have no answer for the stifling Panthers defense.
“They have smart individual players,” Dagnal said. “They have a lot of guys who play club year round. Their midfield is very talented. All we could do was kick the ball up field. Since we couldn't keep possession, they would bring it right back down.”
The win was the ninth straight game Sewickley Academy held an opponent without a goal and the 15th time this season.
Carlynton's 2-1 win over Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the playoffs was highlighted by the strong performance of senior goalkeeper Phil Meighan.
The Royals scored one minute into play as senior Alec Costa found the net. But Carlynton responded late in the first half as Peter Muszalski scored off of a free kick by Ted Ford.
The squads battled to a standstill in the second half and two overtime periods, sending the game into a best-of-five shootout.
The Cougars went into their final shooter up, 3-2, after Mason Herlihy, Emanual Burton and Grant Schuler all scored.
The final kick came down to Meighan, who had been in goal for Carlynton all night, and he sent the ball into the back of the net past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Michael Falgione.
“I am proud of the guys,” Dagnal said. “They could have easily went into a shell after that first goal. They have never won a playoff game. The only experience they have were the seniors during their freshman season.
“They didn't give up.”
It was that attitude that helped get the team into the postseason. Dagnal gave credit to his players for believing in the team and playing to their fullest when the squad faced doubters.
“I think the major thing this team, and especially the seniors, can hang their hat on is they didn't lay down,” Dagnal said. “They have been the underdog all season. People outside of maybe the coaches and players thought it was a fluke and didn't give us much of a chance to do well.
“The players didn't give up. And they helped start to get Carlynton soccer back on track.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-388-5813.