Fluke goal costs Serra Catholic in overtime loss
Tyler Grebur knows how to use his head on the soccer field.
In fact, he scored the biggest goal in Serra Catholic history when he headed a pass home with 48 seconds remaining in regulation against Winchester Thurston last week to give the Eagles their first appearance in the WPIAL Class A semifinals.
All that aside, Serra Catholic goalkeeper Anthony Koval probably wishes he wasn't such a deadly shot.
Grebur headed a ball into his own net with 5 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in regulation to erase a one-goal Serra Catholic (15-3-1) lead against Riverside (15-4-1) in the WPIAL Class A semifinals. Sophomore midfielder Trevor Moser then chipped a shot home with 2:57 remaining in overtime to give the Panthers a 2-1 victory over the Eagles at Tony Dorsett Stadium in Hopewell.
“I feel we outplayed them most of the game, but give them credit: That team never gave up and they kept playing hard,” Serra Catholic coach Don Sabol said. “I've got no complaint about what any of them did, our boys, because they gave it their all.”
With Serra Catholic leading, 1-0, junior midfielder Logan Ridgley, who also assisted on the game-winner, flipped a pass from the left corner into the box. Grebur jumped up and tried to head the ball away from the net, but instead the ball caromed the opposite direction and just under the crossbar as Koval leaped up in a vain attempt to stop the errant ball.
When the ball went into the net, Grebur immediately fell prone to the turf and held his head in his hands. He stayed that way for several seconds before he got up and walked dejectedly back toward the Serra sideline.
“It hurts us as much as it does him because this has been the closest team I've ever played on,” Serra Catholic senior forward Josh Lohr said. “This is like an entire family, and we all felt it worse than Tyler.”
Lohr had give Serra Catholic the lead — and the inside track to the school's first appearance in the WPIAL Class A championship game — at 58:21 when he converted a pass from Mike Mercea into the team's lone goal of the night. Mercea played the ball from the left side at almost the same spot where he set up Grebur's game-winner against Winchester Thurston and lobbed it into the box where Lohr knocked it past Riverside goalkeeper Kyle Robertson.
“It was just the right positioning at the right time,” Lohr said. “Without Mike's ball it would have been nothing. It was entirely a team thing.”
Staked to a one-goal lead, Sabol wanted his team to sit on the ball, maintain possession and work the clock, but Serra Catholic got overly anxious as the game opened up a bit and tried to get an insurance goal.
The Eagles had several fair opportunities but never a really good chance to extend its lead before the own-goal sent it to overtime.
Despite the loss, Serra Catholic still has an opportunity to extend its season and qualify for the state playoffs. With a victory Saturday over Sewickley Academy in the consolation match at a site and time to be determined, the Eagles would enter the PIAA Class A playoffs as the No. 3 seed out of District 7 and would play at the District 10 champion Tuesday.
“I know it's rough on them, but after they've had a little bit of time to digest it, it's mainly up to them,” Sabol said. “If we win on Saturday, we're back in the tournament.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.