Deer Lakes shuts out Waynesburg to reach WPIAL semifinals for 1st time
Deer Lakes did little celebrating even after a dominant performance in Thursday’s WPIAL boys soccer quarterfinals.
Right now, the Lancers are all business, and their business is unfinished.
Ryan Rodgers scored a pair of goals and Ronan Renter and A.J. Dorman added one apiece as No. 2 Deer Lakes beat No. 7 Waynesburg, 4-0, in a WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal game Thursday night at West Allegheny’s Joe P. DeMichela Stadium. The Lancers advanced to the semifinals for the first time in school history.
“Never in school history have we got here, and this was our goal,” said Rodgers, a sophomore. “But we’re not near done. Six more games left, till states when we win.”
Deer Lakes lost in the quarterfinals each of the past two seasons, including a 1-0 overtime loss to Beaver last fall, but the Lancers (17-0-1) took control early Thursday and didn’t look back.
They will meet No. 11 Shady Side Academy, their Section 2-AA rival, in the semifinals Monday at a site and time to be determined. Deer Lakes went 1-0-1 against the defending WPIAL champion Indians during the season.
“We want to go far,” Rodgers said. “We’re not done. We’ve just got to keep working.”
That’s been Deer Lakes’ motivation all fall, even through an unbeaten regular season that saw the program capture its first section title in 15 years, even after a 5-0 first-round win over Beth-Center and again after Thursday.
“We were really focused going into tonight,” coach Jordan Wiegand said. “We got a nice early goal. It’s just tough sometimes when you want to play a certain style and a team doesn’t really allow you to do that. It makes the game a little more difficult, but you just have to adjust and you have to combat it. I think we did. To keep a clean sheet, that’s what we’ve really been priding ourselves off of since Day 1.”
A dominant possession attack kept the ball in Waynesburg’s defensive end for much of the game as Deer Lakes peppered the Raiders defense and freshman goalkeeper Chase Henkins with shots. The Lancers held a 15-2 advantage in shots on goal.
Two of those shots resulted directly in goals: Rodgers cleaned up an A.J. Dorman rebound for the game’s opening goal just over six minutes into the contest, Renter corralled a loose ball off a blocked Michael Sullivan shot to make it 2-0 with just over four minutes until halftime, and Rodgers converted another Dorman shot for the final goal with 42 seconds remaining.
Dorman’s goal came on a breakaway in the 32nd minute of the second half.
“I have to give their keeper a lot of credit,” Wiegand said. “He made a lot of good saves tonight, and off of those, we do pride ourselves on that hustle factor. We say that we need to make sure we’re out hustling our opponent. I think that little something extra is going to get a team across the finish line.”
Henkins kept it close with 11 saves, including several sparkling stops, but Waynesburg (13-6) couldn’t muster much of a counterattack. Physical play by Deer Lakes in the midfield and on defense kept possession mostly with the Lancers, limiting Waynesburg to two shots on goal.
The Raiders’ best chance came when forward Gavin Benson rang a shot off the crossbar late in the first half with the score still 1-0 at that point.
Deer Lakes keeper Jesse Greyshock made two saves for his ninth shutout of the season, including the fourth in a row.
Next up is a third match with Shady Side Academy, which rallied from a two-goal deficit to force a 2-2 draw with Deer Lakes in the teams’ first meeting this year before Deer Lakes responded with a 3-1 victory in the second game.
“It’s funny because I’d consider them a rival, especially since I’ve been back,” Wiegand said. “There’s nothing hidden going into this semifinal. What each coach thinks will happen will happen, and it’s going to come down to who wants it more and who can finish.”