Senior captain scores to send USC boys to WPIAL finals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Ethan Dysert couldn't have picked a better time to break out of a scoring slump.
The senior captain of defending WPIAL Class AAA boys soccer champion Upper St. Clair, Dysert had the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute to give the Panthers a 2-1 win against Pine-Richland in a WPIAL semifinal Wednesday night at Chartiers Valley.
“He's been struggling for a long time to put the ball in the net,” Upper St. Clair coach Uwe Schneider said. “Then, scoring a goal like this, it's huge. Just unbelievable. He's got all the talent — he just hadn't been finishing lately. But to step up and finish in a game like this?”
With less than eight minutes to go in a tied contest, Dysert ran across the penalty box off a throw-in from Garrett Blake.
Blake, a sophomore, expertly tossed the ball from deep near the left-wing corner to just in front of the left side of the net. Dysert deftly headed the ball into the far corner past Pine-Richland goalie Grant Goldberg.
“An incredible feeling. Nothing like it,” Dysert said. “Last year, we had (Mike) Worthy as our captain; he was the one that was out here leading us. Now, I got to fill in that space, and I feel good about it. I feel confident leading this team.”
Upper St. Clair will play section rival Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL title game Saturday.
The Panthers and Rams each gave up their first goal of the playoffs during the first half.
Upper St. Clair scored first when Robbie Mertz converted a nifty set-up from Troy Kiernan, who was streaking down the right side in the 12th minute.
Fifteen minutes later, the Rams' Victor Osio tied it with a low shot from high in the left-wing side of the penalty box off an assist from Michael Jones.
Unofficially, that was Pine-Richland's only shot in the first half.
Upper St. Clair, meanwhile, had an abundance of chances. Joel Hart hit the crossbar twice in the span of a minute late in the half.
The Panthers generally continued to control the play throughout the second half but could not beat Goldberg, who made a leaping stop on a Mertz shot with 18 minutes left.
Pine-Richland was hindered when it lost midfielder Patrick Sullivan to a head injury midway through the second half.
“He's a big, strong kid in the middle,” Rams coach Jon Conner said. “The score off the header, I think he probably would have won that ball. That's the way it goes.”
Pine-Richland will play Peters Township in the WPIAL consolation game Saturday. The winner earns the third PIAA tournament berth from the WPIAL.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.