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Sewickley Academy boys soccer team on to PIAA finals

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr.| For the Daily News Serra Catholic forward Tyler Gerbur (11) moves the ball downfield on Sewickley Academy defenders during WPIAL playoff action at Baldwin High School on Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Sewickley Academy boys soccer team missed out on the chance to play Riverside in the WPIAL Class A title game Nov. 3.

So when the Panthers did get their crack at the WPIAL champions, they made sure they didn't waste the opportunity.

Senior Jake Mulholland and junior J.P. Bowell scored goals, and the Panthers' defense shut down Riverside's attack in a 2-0 victory in the PIAA quarterfinals Saturday at North Allegheny High School.

“Both teams played very well, played hard,” Sewickley Academy coach James Boone said. “Both sides gave everything they had. I thought that was a very good game to watch, as a coach as well as a pure spectator.”

The Panthers carried their momentum on to the PIAA semifinals, where they beat Biglerville, 3-0, on Tuesday to advance to Friday's championship game in Hershey. They will play District 2 champion Mountain View at 7:30 p.m.

In the first round of the PIAA tournament Nov. 6, Sewickley Academy beat Mercer, 2-1.

Sewickley Academy (21-1-1) and Riverside compete together in Section 5-A, with Sewickley taking the section title after sweeping Riverside during the regular season.

Greensburg Central Catholic denied the section rivals a third meeting in the WPIAL playoffs, beating top-seeded Sewickley Academy in the semifinals. Riverside then beat the Centurions in the WPIAL championship game.

Boone said his players didn't dwell on the missed opportunity for a WPIAL championship Saturday.

“I think it was removed from our minds,” he said. “Granted, they made it and had a great run through WPIALs (and) we weren't so fortunate. (But) we're concentrating on the state right now and going one game at a time. I kind of thought we'd see them again, looking at the seedings in the state.”

Biglerville, in Adams County, advanced to the semifinals after beating Greensburg Central Catholic, 4-1, in the quarterfinals. Boone said he didn't know much about the Canners heading into the semis, but he'd heard a lot about their size.

“The eastern side (of the state) has some very, very well-coached teams out there, and the players are very good,” Boone said.

While the Panthers didn't have the size of Biglerville, they had the Canners beat in experience. Sewickley Academy played in the PIAA semifinals last season, while Biglerville had never won a game in the state playoffs until this season.

“These players that we've been coaching — they've been there, so they know what it takes,” Boone said.

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at dgulasy@tribweb.com.

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