Sewickley Academy boys headed back to PIAA championship game
The 12 seniors on the Sewickley Academy boys soccer team have one more chance to win the ultimate prize.
The Panthers (19-3) defeated District 5 champion North Star, 5-0, at Hempfield to punch their tickets to the PIAA Class A finals for the second straight season. The WPIAL champion will face District 2 champ Mountain View on Friday in Hershey in a rematch of last season's championship contest.
“It is something we have worked four years for,” midfielder Steve Munn said. “We have been waiting for our time as seniors. For it to be our last game, it is icing on the cake.”
The Cougars' back line kept the Panthers in check during the first 20 minutes, but Sewickley Academy's Geoffrey Schuchardt finally broke through at the 13:47 mark of the first half.
The sophomore's goal was followed by breakaway goals from Anthony Stinson and J.P. Bowell in a span of 1:12.
“We knew they had tremendous speed, and to go along with tremendous speed, they have tremendous skill,” North Star coach Chad Duryea said. “That little burst of goals in a short time span pretty much gave them the confidence to possess their way the rest of the game.”
Later in the first, Matt Teitelbaum buried a shot off the fingers of North Star goalkeeper Kyle Louthan to give the Panthers a four-goal advantage.
“We always preach once you get one goal get another, then another and then another,” Sewickley Academy coach James Boone said. “They did a great job to put them away.”
Tom Pregel added the final score with 1:45 remaining.
North Star (18-3) was aggressive throughout the second half, but the Panthers remained poised. Sophomore goalkeeper Jackson O'Neill recorded his 13th shutout of the season.
When the Panthers take the field Friday at Hersheypark Stadium, it will be the reward for the seniors' hard work.
As freshmen, Sewickley won only seven games, but the team rebounded to win 40 the past two seasons. After falling to Mountain View, 1-0, in the title game last year, the veterans don't want a similar end to tarnish their legacy.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Bowell said. “We need to seize what we have in front of us.”