Grant guides QV boys into PIAA semifinals
Quaker Valley junior Landon Grant is the third of three brothers to play for the Quakers boys soccer team in recent years and the second to be part of a WPIAL championship team.
But he may have an opportunity this week to do something his brothers never did and compete in a state championship game.
Grant, 17, of Sewickley led the Quakers, the WPIAL Class AA champion, with three goals from center in an 8-2 win over District 9 champion Karns City in the quarterfinals of the PIAA tournament Saturday at Neshannock.
Junior forward Ian Rodgers and senior midfielder Walter Hubsch had two goals each for the Quakers.
The Quakers (19-4-1) met Shady Side Academy, the WPIAL runner-up, in the semifinals earlier this week at Mars, with the winner advancing to the final Saturday in Hershey.
Grant's brother Keaton was on the previous Quaker Valley team to win the WPIAL crown, in 2012.
His other brother Caulin was on the squad earlier.
The Quakers are seeking their first PIAA crown since 1996 and their fifth since 1985.
They have been WPIAL champions eight times.
They beat District 6 runner-up Bald Eagle, 7-0, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Nov. 8.
Landon Grant said it would be the “greatest feeling ever” to “put another mark on Quaker Valley's legacy” with a win in the final.
Sewickley Academy, the WPIAL Class A champion and defending PIAA champion, met Seton-La Salle, which finished third at the WPIAL tournament, in the PIAA semifinals Tuesday at North Allegheny.
The Panthers (20-4-0) are seeking their third PIAA title in four seasons and their fourth in Class A or AA since 1997.
They beat District 9 runner-up Brockway in the first round, 3-2 in two overtimes, and District 5 champion Windber, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.
Senior forward Ian Deihle scored late in the quarterfinal game with an assist by senior midfielder Mike Napoleone.
Deihle also tallied the lone goal in the Panthers' overtime win over Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic in the WPIAL final Nov. 4.
“He has been one of our leading scorers all year,” Panthers coach James Boone said.
Napoleone, 18, of Moon said he and Deihle have great chemistry.
“Against Windber, I had the ball with two minutes left and dribbled toward the defense,” Napoleone said. “As a defender stepped (toward) me, I slipped the ball to Ian where he was wide open in the box and shot near post, where it hit the post and went in.”
Senior defender Ben Mulholland, 18, of Sewickley said the Panthers had more depth.
“(It) allowed us to wear them out in the second half,” he said, adding senior goalie Derrick Littlefield did a great job defending corner kicks, a Windber strength.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.