Sewickley Academy's offense too much for Serra Catholic

| Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, 12:24 a.m.

When Sewickley Academy's offense gets rolling, watch out.

Serra Catholic realized that Monday night in a 6-0 loss in a WPIAL Class A boys soccer semifinal at West Allegheny.

The Panthers advanced to the championship against Beaver County Christian (15-4), a 4-2 winner over Seton-La Salle (16-3-1). The Eagles (14-4-1) play Seton-La Salle in Wednesday's consolation match. The winner of that battle moves on to the PIAA tournament.

It's the second-straight year Serra Catholic has played in the consolation contest. The Eagles dropped a 3-0 decision to the Panthers last fall.

“That's what we have to focus on,” Serra Catholic coach Don Sabol said. “This game is done and we have to focus on Seton-La Salle. I think we match up well with Seton.”

Sewickley Academy, last year's PIAA runner-up, had a good scoring chance 16:55 into the match negated by goalkeeper Anthony Koval. A long pass got by an Eagles defender. The Panthers' Anthony Stinson got to the ball and broke in on goal. However, Koval charged off his line, slid and knocked the ball away before Stinson could shoot it.

It was a sign of things to come as Sewickley Academy exploded for four goals in a 10:56 span.

After a cross in front of the Serra Catholic goal, J. P. Bowell got his foot on the ball and knocked it past Koval for a 1-0 lead with 18:30 left in the first half.

Bowell gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead just 1:21 later. He slipped behind the defense and found a long pass down the far sideline. He struck a hard shot past Koval and inside the near post.

Steve Munn made it a 3-0 Sewickley Academy advantage with 14:26 left in the first half. He took a pass near the top of the penalty box and lasered a shot past Koval and inside the far post.

Stinson found the back of the net for a 4-0 Panthers lead with 7:34 remaining. A long shot was blocked by an Eagles defender in front of the goal, but Stinson chipped the rebound into the open net.

Munn notched his second goal 8:32 into the second half. On a throw-in deep in Serra Catholic territory, the ball deflected to a wide-open Munn by the near post. He slipped the ball into the net to make it 5-0.

The Panthers' Tom Mulholland connected on a long shot for a 6-0 lead with 12:36 to play.

Sewickley Academy has won nine straight games since a 4-0 loss to Mercyhurst Prep on Sept. 28 and allowed four goals in that span. The Panthers have allowed only seven goals all season and have 12 shutouts. They did not yield a shot on goal to Serra Catholic.

“We didn't put our best effort out there, either,” Sabol said. “They didn't score until there was 18 minutes left in the half. It was up and down the field. But, when they scored, some of our guys panicked a little bit and we couldn't afford that. They were the top-rated team in Class A all season. To beat this team, we had to have a good game the whole game. Obviously, we didn't do that.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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