Shady Side Academy boys upset Quaker Valley in thriller to win WPIAL soccer title
Quaker Valley was 37 seconds away and a few inches short of its ninth WPIAL Championship.
There was just one problem -- Shady Side Academy was about to have a set piece, and coach Ed Ellsworth had the entire Indians team fill the box to try to tie the game at 1-1.
The ball was crossed toward a post where Kenny Shergill stuck out his foot at the last moment to flick it at the net and barely past the outstretched arms of Quaker Valley’s Dom Lagnese.
The goal would lead to an eventual 2-1 victory for Shady Side Academy.
“We knew it was coming, but we just had to be persistent to find a way to score and win,” Shergill said. “It’s not necessarily the preferred way to win, but, you know, our goalies stepped up big for us.”
The unlikely goal -- Lagnese had flawlessly warded off every Shady Side Academy shot to that point -- kept hope alive for the Indians.
“A lot of times we lose a big game I get really emotional, because it never crosses my mind that we could lose it,” Ellsworth said. “As long as we had time on the clock, I expected we would find a way to get a tying goal. These boys never let this program down and fight until there are triple zeros.”
Two scoreless overtime periods later, Shady Side Academy goalie Bruce David saved three consecutive shots to secure a 3-0 penalty kick advantage, a 2-1 win and the program’s second straight Class 2A title.
David didn’t do it alone.
The first-year varsity player was in net during the first half before he was substituted by Zach Conti in the second half and overtime periods, an unconventional tactic by soccer standards that is regularly used by Ellsworth.
“I’m so thankful for my teammates, especially Zach Conti,” David said. “You don’t get a lot of second chances, and he gave me that. I’m very grateful for that.”
It was the third consecutive Class 2A championship game featuring No. 1 Quaker Valley and No. 11 Shady Side Academy. The Quakers won 2-1 in 2016, and the Indians won 3-2 in 2017.
Quaker Valley’s Dom Reiter tallied the game’s first goal 57 seconds into the action.
Quaker Valley’s Lagnese and Shady Side Academy’s David and Conti, the game’s goalies, made several difficult saves to keep the game a low-scoring affair.
The Quakers had most of their scoring chances in the first half, but were regularly denied by David’s effort. David also made a diving save with less than 9 minutes left in regulation to keep the Indians within striking distance.
Shady Side Academy had its best scoring chances in the second half.
Lagnese first jumped above two Indians forwards to pluck the ball before it could be headed into the net. He also punched a ball out of the air near the end of regulation as it reached the goal line.
“I think the players did an awesome job today playing to win, and it could have easily bounced our way and it just didn’t,” Quaker Valley coach Andrew Marshall said. “You also don’t get to this stage without keepers coming up big for you. That happened for us and them. Dom has been fantastic all year and this year is no exception.”
Quaker Valley won the PIAA Class 2A championship in 2017 and will have an opportunity to defend the title.
“I think we need to be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far,” Marshall said. “We have a great opportunity ahead of us just like last year to go get some hardware.”
Both teams will open the PIAA playoffs on Tuesday.