Share This Page

Canon-McMillan, USC boys end in deadlock

| Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday's Section 5-AAA boys soccer match between No. 2 Canon-McMillan and top-ranked Upper St. Clair, the defending WPIAL and PIAA champions, could've been viewed as a letdown by some, considering it ended in a 1-1 tie.

That would be widely inaccurate.

Canon-McMillan showed it's still stout defensively despite the loss of goalkeeper James Hathaway and three members of its back line, and Upper St. Clair got plenty of offensive fireworks from Robbie Mertz and Troye Kiernan.

“There's nothing negative to say,” Canon-McMillan coach Larry Fingers said.

Yet for Upper St. Clair (4-0-1, 2-0-1), which outshot Canon-McMillan, 9-4, and forced six more corner kicks, it was hardly a celebration.

“We didn't finish our chances, so how happy can you be?” Upper St. Clair coach Uwe Schneider said. “They're probably a lot happier than we are.”

In the two overtime periods alone, Mertz and Kiernan nearly won it for the Panthers. Canon-McMillan's Nick Sodini, wheeling from his left to his right, almost did likewise for the Big Macs.

Canon-McMillan goalkeeper Christian Snatchko made three gorgeous saves in the 20 minutes of extra time and finished with eight for the game.

“I was proud because we have some young kids playing in the back who are new to playing there,” Fingers said. “They're excellent soccer players, and they didn't miss a beat.”

Canon-McMillan (30-1, 1-0-1) struck first when Jake Wilcox finished a feed from Corey McCurdy in the fourth minute, banking it off Panthers goalkeeper Will Petley from about five yards out.

Mertz tied it for Upper St. Clair in the 59th minute, lofting a free kick from 25 yards into a tiny bit of open space in the top left corner of the Canon-McMillan goal.

“Robbie hit a great free kick,” Fingers said. “No keeper is saving that.”

Mertz nearly struck again when his shot from the left wing in the 73rd minute deflected off Snatchko's hands, sailing barely wide of the far post. His left-footed blast from 25 yards in the 82nd minute nearly made it a short overtime, but it clanked off the left post.

Kiernan's header off a throw-in two minutes later was another near-miss, with Snatchko pushing it out of play with his fingertips.

Two near misses – one on a throw-in, the other on a ball that first hit the football uprights – ensured Upper St. Clair didn't score in the opening half, despite an overwhelming advantage in time of possession.

Snatchko made a spectacular save while diving to his left in the 25th minute. It was reminiscent of the penalty kick that Hathaway stopped in the 2012 WPIAL Class AAA final.

Snatchko got some help about 10 minutes later when Bryan Sontag kept a header off the right post.

Another key defensive play happened in the 45th minute, when Canon-McMillan defender Alex Hannigan, stationed in the middle of the 18-yard box, deflected a shot from point-blank range.

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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.