West Allegheny falls in PIAA boys soccer final on late goal
TribLIVE Sports Videos
HERSHEY — Moments after the West Allegheny boys soccer team's 1-0 overtime loss to Holy Ghost Prep in Saturday's PIAA Class AA championship game, Indians football coach Bob Palko delivered a message.
“If it doesn't hurt,” Palko told a number of West Allegheny's players while walking off the pitch at Hersheypark Stadium, “it doesn't mean anything.”
Though the gesture was appreciated, it's doubtful Palko, an ardent supporter of West Allegheny soccer, needed to tell goalkeeper Spencer Wolfe about something being painful.
Wolfe was upended on the game's decisive play — a goal Matt Crawford scored in the 91st minute, which knocked the wind out of him. His arm throbbed. His forehead was scraped.
“We played well,” Wolfe said. “They just played better and came out with the win. There's nothing we can do about it now.”
Michael Kirby's cross started the game-winning sequence. Crawford and Wolfe collided. Holy Ghost's Tim French passed to Joseph Braun, who shot the ball. Wolfe turned around just in time to see Crawford slide a shot past West Allegheny defender Josh Kolarac.
West Allegheny coach Kevin Amos took the high road when it came to the final no-call, even though Wolfe was flipped some four feet in the air by Crawford.
“Keeper got played down,” Amos said. “The ball's in there. It's the referee's discretion. I'm not going to complain about anything. It was just unlucky at the end.”
Holy Ghost Prep coach Ken Lawson argued both players were going for the ball.
“When you get to overtime, it's going to be something like a ‘bang-bang' play,” Lawson said. “It's never usually a pretty goal. It's something like that. We collided with the goalie, and fortunately for us, we got on the right end of it.”
Though the game was tight, West Allegheny did have a few chances in the second half.
Mike Cummings turned and fired in the 57th minute but came up empty.
Same result from Nick Jaroszynski in the 69th minute on a long rebound attempt from about 25 yards, the ball sailing high and wide right.
Collin Wurst, tightly marked all game, found some open space with about two minutes left following a lead pass from Kolarac.
But by the time Wurst could establish possession, he was too far into the Holy Ghost Prep zone to get anything besides a bad-angle shot on goal.
West Allegheny (21-1-3), the WPIAL champion, allowed a goal for the first time since Oct. 10. Holy Ghost Prep (20-4-0), which had also posted eight consecutive shutouts, started the season 0-3 but won 20 of its final 21.
“It's tough,” West Allegheny defender Zach Graziani said. “They're a very good team. Hats off to them. I feel like we could have won. Sometimes things just don't go your way. That's just how it is.”
Though many were upset at the way the game ended, Amos didn't want it to take away from everything West Allegheny accomplished this season.
“There are a lot of teams that would want this second-place medal,” Amos said. “They're down and it hurts them right now. We had a great season. We expected to be here. Just the opportunity to play in this venue, to have this weekend is great.”
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.
- Cupboard’s not bare for Monessen boys
- Sewickley Academy girls chasing return to postseason
- Senior leaders take reins for Quaker Valley girls soccer
- Fox Chapel girls soccer returns 10 successful starters
- Experienced Sewickley Academy boys have lofty goals
- Seton-La Salle girls soccer team appears strong at midfield position
- BVA girls poised for another big year