Norwin's season comes to 'heartbreaking' end
By Doug Gulasy
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Norwin girls soccer coach Jeff Palm chose a simple word to describe the end of his team's season: “heartbreaking.”
The Knights (14-3-2), the No. 8 seed, saw their season come to an end with a 1-0 shootout loss to No. 9 Canon-McMillan in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs Saturday at Norwin Knights Stadium.
“It's tough to see all their hard work on the field not be rewarded,” Palm said. “They played their hearts out. We were definitely the better team (and) had the better of the chances but just couldn't finish. ... Canon-McMillan's a good team. They held us out. We just didn't finish the opportunities that we had. It's heartbreaking.”
Norwin controlled play from the beginning of the game, generating several scoring chances throughout the 80-minute regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods. However, the Knights couldn't get the ball past Canon-McMillan goalkeeper Kyra Murphy.
“It's a problem we've had over the years and through this season as well — being able to finish,” Palm said.
“It's something we'll work on fixing as we get ready for next year,” he added.
Unlike the regular season, playoff games that remain tied after two overtime periods go to a five-person shootout. Palm said the team practiced the shootout leading up to Saturday's game.
Murphy led off the shootout by firing a shot off Norwin goalkeeper Cayla Imbarlina's hands, and the ball trickled over the line for a goal. After Murphy stopped Sierra Vecchio's shot, Sydney Keremes put the Big Macs up 2-0 with a goal of her own.
Micayla Livingston put Norwin on the board with a goal, and Sami Farabaugh tied the shootout after a Canon-McMillan shot went wide. But the Big Macs retook the lead on an Alena Poljak goal, and after Melissa Harris' shot went wide, Canon-McMillan won the shootout on a goal by Abby Gillespie.
“I had the girls out there that wanted to shoot and could finish,” Palm said. “Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't.”
Despite the finish, Palm called the 2013 campaign a “very successful season.” The Knights lost just two games during the regular season, to section champions North Allegheny and Penn-Trafford, and also defeated top teams like Baldwin, Peters Township and Penn-Trafford in a rematch.
The playoff committee gave Norwin the No. 8 seed despite some of the team's success, leading to a tough first-round matchup against Canon-McMillan (13-3-3).
“We expected it, since we didn't win our section, that we'd be somewhere after 5 or 6,” Palm said. “Going into the seeding with one or two losses and ending up an 8 seed is difficult, but you still have to win all four games no matter what.”
Palm commended the work of the senior class, including Abby Churchfield, Farabaugh, Harris, Imbarlina and Vecchio. The group's freshman season was Palm's first year as Norwin coach.
“They came in as freshmen in my freshman year as a coach, and to see them grow and be able to work with them — that's an amazing thing,” Palm said. “That's one of the things I love about this job, is that you can work with these young minds and grow with them as far as soccer goes and as far as life goes and teach them things along the way outside of soccer. It's very rewarding to see them improve and succeed, but disappointing to see it end.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.