West Allegheny, WPIAL's run ends in OT

Class AA Boys

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HERSHEY, Pa. -- Things had gone so well for WPIAL teams in the PIAA soccer championships, the crash had to be ugly.

A controversial goal by Holy Ghost Prep 10:59 into the first overtime crushed West Allegheny's PIAA championship hopes and an unbeaten season in a 1-0 decision Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.

The triumph by Holy Ghost Prep (20-4) ended the WPIAL's run of three state titles this year: Greensburg Central Catholic girls, Sewickley Academy boys and Central Valley girls.

It was a tough way to end that streak -- and West Allegheny's season.

Both teams had chances, and both keepers -- Spencer Wolfe of West Allegheny and Matt Lingermann of Holy Ghost -- saved sharp shots. The game was destined for overtime.

After 10 minutes of overtime, Holy Ghost moved the ball just outside the Indians' goal box when Joseph Braun saw an opening and fired the ball toward the net.

Wolfe and Holy Ghost's Matthew Crawford collided going for the ball. Wolfe fell to the ground face-first and didn't get up. West Allegheny coach Kevin Amos said later that Wolfe just "had the wind knocked out of him."

The officials called neither interference on Crawford nor stopped play to attend to Wolfe (they could not do the latter by rule).

Play continued, and the ball skipped to Holy Ghost's Pierce Skelly, who passed to Crawford, back on his feet. With Wolfe still on the ground, Crawford had an open shot from 7 yards out and banged it home.

"We got a little unlucky at the end," Amos said. "It was the official's discretion [to call interference or not]. He didn't, and with our goalie down, we couldn't stop the shot."

It was the only goal the Indians yielded in the PIAA playoffs.

"It's frustrating, but we're still proud of the way we played," said West Allegheny captain Zachary Graziani. "We wanted to capitalize on set pieces, but we just couldn't quite finish. That happens when you're playing another good team."

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