No. 2 Norwin girls edge North Allegheny to advance to WPIAL semifinals
Pitt recruit Lacey Bernick scored two goals and Norwin overcame a second-half surge from North Allegheny to post a tight and spirited 2-1 victory in the WPIAL Class 4A girls soccer quarterfinals Wednesday night at Norwin Knights Stadium.
Second-seeded Norwin (15-2), fresh off a first-round bye, advances to the semifinals for the fourth straight time. The Knights will play No. 3 Peters Township (15-3) on Saturday at a time and site to be determined.
Peters Township edged Butler, 2-1.
“Everything played into this win,” said an emotional Norwin coach Lauren Karcher. “The bye, the extra practices, we healed up some injuries. It was nice to see us get back the intensity we didn’t have against them last time.”
No. 7 North Allegheny ends its season at 11-6-1.
The win was a measure of revenge for Norwin: North Allegheny beat the Knights, 2-0, on Oct. 12.
The Knights beat the Tigers in last year’s WPIAL semifinals and in the PIAA quarterfinals.
This edition had numerous fouls and an odd warning to the Norwin student section, which added to mounting tension. Relief seemed to wash over Norwin as the final horn sounded.
“We’re lucky to get out of here with the win like we did,” Bernick said. “After they scored, we knew we just had to keep it going and stay focused.”
Bernick put the Knights on the board in the 31st minute as she found a lane to the box, evaded a defender and zinged a shot inside the right post.
Norwin managed to dodge a game-tying score just before the half.
Midfielder Sarah Schupansky knocked in a rebound from point-blank range but while she beat Knights keeper Liz Waskiewicz, she couldn’t beat the clock. Her shot went in after the horn and the no-goal gave the Knights a sigh of relief.
Waskiewicz made eight saves.
“We wanted to get them back,” Waskiewicz said. “The bye gave us more time to work on some things and that helped us.”
Bernick found the back of the net again in the 66th minute, this time coming up with the tail end of corner kick from Emily Shaw, getting a right leg high into the air and nearly using a bicycle kick to make it 2-0.
“I kind of swung sideways, and got lucky it went in,” Bernick said.
Waskiewicz made a number of lunging saves in the second half, including one in the 48th minute when Emma Bundy had a clean look in front but kicked it squarely into Waskiewicz’s stomach.
“It stung for a little bit but I’m OK,” Waskiewicz said.
North Allegheny, pressing more as the final 10 minutes approached, finally managed a goal in the 70th minute. Bundy delivered a handsome free kick from 35 yards. It sailed high and hit its target, getting over the head of Waskiewicz to make it 2-1.
Waskiewicz made a key save, running out to pull in a nervous shot, with 1:36 left.