Sewickley Academy girls turn attention to PIAA playoffs

Ronald Vezzani Jr.| Sewickley Academy's Melina George (21) moves the ball during playoff action at Baldwin High School on Saturday, November 3, 2012
Ronald Vezzani Jr.| Sewickley Academy's Melina George (21) moves the ball during playoff action at Baldwin High School on Saturday, November 3, 2012
| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

The Sewickley Academy girls soccer team is looking forward to a possible rematch with Greensburg Central Catholic in the PIAA Class A playoffs after losing to the Centurions, 2-0, in the WPIAL final, Saturday.

For there to be a rematch, each team would have to win its first two games in the PIAA playoffs that began on Tuesday, after deadline for this edition. The semifinal round will be Nov. 13. Sewickley was scheduled to play District 5 champion Conemaugh Township in the first round. The winner advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal against the first-round winner of Shady Side Academy-Fairview.

In the WPIAL final, Greensburg Central Catholic, the defending champion, handed Sewickley Academy (20-1-1) its first loss this season.

Sewickley Academy has enjoyed its best season since it last won a WPIAL title in 2004.

“I was proud of our team's effort; they played a good game,” Sewickley Academy coach Jessica Peluso said. “We had some tough breaks. We actually scored, but it was called back.

“We got (one shot) past the goalie before it hit the post.”

Junior Melina George, Sewickley Academy's leading scorer this year with 16 goals, agreed the team played well.

“If we play Greensburg Central Catholic again, there's really nothing we can do differently,” she said. “The game was scoreless at halftime. We had a mental lapse of three minutes in the second half that really hurt us.

“Greensburg Central Catholic had a throw-in where they put (the ball) in play quickly. You have to give credit to a team for a ball caught that quickly.”

“It really stinks when you're outplayed,” added sophomore Molly Lennen, 15.

Sewickley Academy reached the final by beating Mohawk, 1-0, in overtime in the semifinals.

In the first round, the Panthers shut out Riverview, 5-0, before advancing to the quarterfinals, where they beat Avonworth, 2-1.

George, senior Amy Kolor and freshman Mackenzie Coles, who scored the lone point against Mohawk, have two goals each in the playoffs.

Lennen and junior Jordan McClain have one goal apiece.

“Even though (the WPIAL final), didn't go our way, we played as a unit and fought to the end,” said Kolor, 18. “We'd love to play Greensburg Central Catholic again, but we can't look too far ahead.

“We really have to take it one game at a time.”

It was the 10th time in 16 seasons Sewickley Academy qualified for the PIAA playoffs.

The Panthers swept WPIAL and PIAA Class AA titles in 2003.

Two years ago, they went on to finish second in the state after finishing second at the WPIAL Class A championship.

They were PIAA Class AA runner-up in 1998.

Eliminated in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals by Springdale, Sewickley Academy failed to qualify for the PIAA championship last year.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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