Greyhounds fall to Riverview, 3-1
Monessen's stay in the WPIAL Class A boys' soccer playoffs was a short one as the Greyhounds bowed to Riverview, 3-1, in a first round game at Thomas Jefferson.
The eighth-seeded Greyhounds (12-6) fell behind early to the ninth-seeded Raider (12-4-2), 2-0, and played catch-up all night.
“That's a good team we played and we missed out on a few opportunities early and I think that was a key to the game,” said Monessen coach Sam Perry. “I thought we controlled the first 15 minutes of play or so, but they really moved the ball well after that.”
The Raiders, who came into the contest riding a 14-game unbeaten streak after starting the season 0-4, peppered Monessen keeper Blake Carmello early and often before breaking through.
Carmello stopped a breakaway by Riverview's Even Lesnick with 30:14 left in the first half, but Cole Wilson beat Carmello from 20 yards out on another breakaway a minute later.
“Blake said that on the first goal, the sun was in his eyes the way it was setting and he never saw it,” Perry said. “That was a tough break because he really played a good game for us. He did his best to keep us in it.”
Riverview went up 2-0 six minutes later when Zack Lesnick scored.
Monessen didn't have its first real good scoring opportunity until the 21:25 mark when Blair Madison was stopped by Riverview keeper Ludger Oelck from 22 yards out.
A little over three minutes later, Justice Rice got Monessen on the board with a header from 15 yards out to make it 2-1.
Monessen had a chance to tie the game before intermission, but Zach Picchiarelli missed from the right corner with a shot.
“I thought once we made it 2-1, we could come back,” said Perry. “But their third goal made it tough.”
That third goal came with 19:17 left in the game when Wilson tallied for the second time.
“I thought we played well,” Perry said. “Our kids hustled. We just lost to a better team.
“I'm losing six seniors and its going to be tough to not see them here next year,” he added. “We made the playoffs three of their four years. That's a good group.”
Monessen seniors to play their final game included Madison, Luke Doptis, Justice Rawlins, Mallory Harrell, Mario Shenouda and Christian Scaccia.
Riverview will take on top-seeded Sewickley Academy (13-3) on Thursday.
Central Catholic 1, Ringgold 0
At North Allegheny, the Rams (12-5-1) gave third-seeded Pittsburgh Central Catholic (14-3-1) all it could handle in the first round AAA game.
The Vikings scored the game's lone goal midway through the second half when Matt O'Donnell scored on a corner kick.
Ringgold's best chance to score came in the first half when Nathaniel Patton rifled a shot from 18 yards out that the Central Catholic keeper dove and saved.
“Nathaniel hit a rocket and their kid just made a tremendous save,” said Ringgold coach Frank Perez.
“We had our chances and I definitely can not complain about the way we played. We played against one of the top teams and they know they had their hands full. If not for one goal midway through the second half, we might be still playing. I'm just so proud of my kids.”
Perez said that he was pleased that the Rams just made the playoffs, saying that it is part of a continuing process with the program.
“We've got something good going here and we just have to keep building on it,” he said. “It's another step for our program; a step forward.”
Ringgold will lose nine seniors, including Jeremy Perez, who was named to the Western Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association's 14-player all-state team.
Perez, the coach's son, tallied a school single-season record 29 goals this season.
“I think it's a great, great honor for him and our school to be named all-state,” Frank Perez said. “I'm just so proud of him.”
Other Ringgold seniors include Patton, Connor Dudas, Devin Beck, Lucas Stablein, Nick Marraccini, Zack Baynam, Noah Brown and Roman Selby.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.