Riverside ends Bentworth's season, 3-2
For the better part of Monday's WPIAL Class A first round boys' soccer playoff game between Riverside and Bentworth, the Panthers controlled the tempo of the game and never trailed.
And by the time the final minutes were ticking off the clock, the Bearcats may have gotten a little frustrated with their opponent.
Two Bearcat players were ejected for getting red cards in the final two minutes of the game, including Bentworth leading scorer Nick McCann, as Riverside held on for a 3-2 win at Ringgold's Joe Montana Stadium.
McCann, who scored his 31st goal of the season a penalty kick in the second half to pull Bentworth within 3-2 with 22:44 left to play in the game, was ejected with 2:08 to play.
Teammate Jimmy Liermann followed him with 45 seconds left.
“I definitely didn't agree with that first red card (on McCann),” said Bentworth coach Gary Amos. “They said it was because of his reaction after the call. But it definitely hurt us to lose our leading scorer at the end there.”
Riverside (13-4-1) took a 1-0 lead with 15:43 left in the first half when Austin Ridgley scored on a penalty kick.
Bentworth, was held without a shot in the first half until freshman Chad Gurdish buried a shot past Riverside keeper Kyle Robertson with 7:56 left in the first half to tie the score.
The goal seemed to ignite Bentworth as the Bearcats controlled the tempo the rest of the half.
“(Riverside) is a pretty skilled team,” said Amos. “They played well and dominated the first half. Still, we had our chances to score.”
In the second half, the Panthers broke the game open with two quick goals, the first by Anthony Meneice just 1:12 into the second half.
Five minutes later, Caleb LaDuke scored to make it 3-1.
“Those two quick goals definitely hurt us and gave them momentum,” said Amos. “But, like I said, we had our chances. We just couldn't tie the game.”
Bentworth closed to 3-2 after McCann buried the penalty kick, but the Panthers were able to thwart any other threat the Bearcats could muster.
“It's a tough loss, a tough way to end the season, but what are you going to do?” said Amos.
The veteran Bentworth coach had to say good-bye to 10 seniors after the loss.
“Most of those kids were with us for a long time,” Amos said. “This was a good group of kids.”
Riverside will meet Springdale, a 1-0 winner over Our Lady of Sacred Heart, in the second round on Thursday.
PLAYOFF NOTES: Bentworth was out-shot, 10-6 ... Robertson hurt his ankle with 25:19 to play and was replaced in goal the rest of the night by Meneice ... Bentworth keeper Nick Liermann made a masterful save late in the first half when he stopped a bullet fired by Meneice from directly in front of him.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.