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Serra braces for upset-minded Riverside

| Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, 12:56 a.m.

Riverside boys soccer coach Ben Huth was a bit surprised that his team was only seeded 10th in the WPIAL Class A playoffs.

As it turned out, he's getting the last laugh.

Not only did Riverside (14-4-1) upset No. 7 Bentworth in the first round of the tournament, the Panthers sent second-seeded Springdale packing when Anthony Meniece scored the only goal of the game with 9:54 remaining in regulation for a 1-0 victory.

“I don't blame anybody for (being underrated) because we actually enjoy it,” Huth said.

“When we saw we were a 10 seed — and rightfully so if you just look at records — we knew it was because we started the season 0-2, and we really dug ourselves a hole.”

Riverside will look to make it three upsets in a row when it faces No. 3 Serra Catholic (15-2-1) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hopewell in the WPIAL Class A semifinals.

The Panthers come into the match riding an eight-game winning streak with five shutouts after a 2-0 nonsection loss Oct. 2 to 2010 and 2011 champion Seton-La Salle.

“When we lost to Seton-La Salle and we came out of that game, I told my guys that this was a team they should want to play again,” Huth said. “We felt that we dominated the game and we just made two mistakes and they got two goals out of it, so we knew at that point in the season we had a chance to do some good things.”

Riverside is riding high after its two upsets, but Serra Catholic also is on an emotional zenith after a 2-1 victory over 11th seeded Winchester-Thurston. In that match, forward Tyler Gerbur deflected a header past Bears goalkeeper Mathieu Lebiere with 48 seconds remaining in regulation. This will be the Eagles' first-ever appearance in the WPIAL Class A semifinals and comes on the heels of the team ending a nine-year postseason winless drought.

In 2011, Serra Catholic finished the regular season 8-7, went into the playoffs as the No. 14 seed and was knocked out in the first round, 4-1, by No. 3 Neshannock.

“Last year not many people were concerned about the team, which made me and Mike (Mercea) and the rest of the players want to come out and show ourselves,” Gerbur said. “This year, we did, and we've got to keep going.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kbarnes@tribweb.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.

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