With under 23 minutes to play, Cameron Olsen’s shot ricocheted loudly off the crossbar above the head of Hiram’s goalkeeper. And while it didn’t go in, the pipe-rattling miss did seem to wake up the rest of the Allegheny men’s soccer team while putting the visiting Terriers on edge.
The rest of the contest was spent primarily in Hiram’s end of the field. And Allegheny senior Andrew Miller made the most of the situation, breaking a 1-1 tie with a goal in the 73rd minute to help the Gators claim a key North Coast Athletic Conference battle against the Terriers 2-1 on Wednesday at Frank B. Fuhrer Field.
“It was wicked how we just flipped the switch after something like that,” Gators goalkeeper John Lichina said about Olsen’s gong. “Everybody just started running forward, making good runs, getting to the ball, and putting (Hiram) on their back foot. And we found a goal.”
The win puts Allegheny at 7-3-3 on the season and 2-1-1 in the NCAC as they head to Delaware, Ohio to take on Ohio Wesleyan, the No. 1-ranked Division III team in the nation, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Hiram, meanwhile, fell to 4-10-1 on the season and 1-4-0. But that record may be misleading. The Terriers played tough last night.
“No, it wasn’t (easy),” said Miller. “In our conference we have two top 10 teams (in the region). Every single game is a battle. Every single game is a grind. So we’re extremely happy, especially against a team like Hiram, to get three points.”
Hiram put the pressure on early, putting four shots on goal in the first half before Allegheny’s offense could put one on target.
Fortunately for AC, Lichina was having a day, stopping four shots in the opening half and seven for the match.
“Definitely,” said Allegheny head coach Angelo Panzetta. “Johnny’s been on the last couple of games. He made some really key stops against Wabash to keep it at 1-1 in our last road game. ... He’s been doing it for four years at our place and we feel fortunate having him in goal.”
However Lichina couldn’t stop a crowded rush by the Terriers in the 18th minute. Hiram’s Jake Pastore had the ball deep to the right of the goal. He angled it toward the center of the box, finding teammate Ryan Kramarz, who blasted the ball into the net from point blank range.
“We knew they were going to get numbers deep if they had attacks late,” said Lichina. “They swung the ball in. One of their guys finds it between three of our guys at the far post and smashed it in the goal. It’s a shame I couldn’t get a better hand to it.”
It took a while for Allegheny to recover. But with under a minute to play in the first half, the Gators got a golden opportunity on a deep throw-in by Liam McNamee.
McNamee’s toss caused all kinds of trouble in front of Hiram’s net, pinballing around until Daniel Szekely got a hold of it and slung it past Terriers keeper Chris Minite, knotting the score with 20.4 seconds left until the break.
“Liam, one of my freshman, has a great throw-in that’s been dangerous all season,” said Panzetta. “We’ve got some guys that can get up and get after it. You know, any of those balls that we land in there it’s desire to get there. And Dan’s first step was great. He jumped on it and finished quick.”
Neither team seemed to be able to take hold of the momentum to start the second half. Scoring chances were few and far between for both squads.
But right at the halfway point, Olsen fired a laser at the Hiram goal, which sounded the wake-up alarm for the Gators.
Under five minutes later, Allegheny had a crew in Hiram’s penalty box. Brian Graham fired a shot. It bounced hard off the left post and ended up at the feet of Miller, who collected possession, then kicked it into the right corner as Minite slid the other way — 2-1 Gators.
“Luckily I was there to follow up,” said Miller. The goal was his first of the season.
Breese closes career with second straight title
Sam Breese now knows how it feels to be perfect.
Breese finished with an undefeated season record of 35-0, with win No. 35 being the sweetest one of all.
The Lakeview senior stared into the face of the pressure that comes with defending a title, and made the Giant Center in Hershey feel like home. Undeniable talent and an incredible determination are the hallmarks of Breese’s approach to wrestling, and for the second straight year, he can call himself a champion.
McLane’s Wheeling comes up short in final
On a night when six wrestlers repeated as PIAA Class AAA champions, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines stole the show.
Marsteller, of Kennard-Dale, and Haines, of Solanco, became the 11th and 12th four-time gold-medal winners in Pennsylvania history. Marsteller (166-0) also is the first four-time champion to complete his career without a loss since Cary Kolat (1989-92) and the fourth overall.
Serra outlasts Cardinals
For the second time in as many days a basketball team from Cochranton High School played a private school from the WPIAL, put forth a valiant fight, but ultimately had its heart broken.
On Friday, it was the Cochranton boys team, which fell to Vincentian Academy 95-85.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
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