The monkey is finally off the back of the West Allegheny boys soccer team.
After failing to make it past the quarterfinals in the WPIAL playoffs the previous two years, the Indians did something they have never done before -- become WPIAL Class AA champions.
"It feels great," said coach Kevin Amos, in his 10th season with the West Allegheny program. "It is still surreal a little bit. I can't even imagine having a banquet if we lost. We still have to make a run through states."
The top-seeded Indians captured glory on Saturday night when they defeated Section 5 rival and No. 3 seed South Fayette (17-3-2), 1-0, in the championship match at Highmark Stadium.
"It is sad that it happened against them," Amos said. "We have a lot of kids who play together on cup teams. You want to see them do well, too. It was a good win and they were the second best team in the WPIAL this year, so it was fitting."
West Allegheny (19-0-3) advanced to play District 10 runner-up Warren on Tuesday at Moon Area High School, a game they had a lot of confidence in knowing they weren't the ones having to travel far.
"I don't know a whole lot about them," Amos said. "I just spent the day relaxing. They are going to be a good test. Anything can happen in the playoffs. They have had a nice run.
"[Not having to travel far] is a nice thing. It is one of the benefits to winning your district and section [titles]. They keep those teams close to home. I think it will definitely be an advantage. We played Shady Side Academy here in the semis and it will be nice to play there."
West Allegheny made use of that "home area" advantage and blanked Warren, 6-0. The Indians will advance to the PIAA quarterfinals Saturday and will play District 3 runner-up Oley Valley.
The Indians are currently the only undefeated boys team in the WPIAL regardless of classification, with their only blemishes being two ties with South Fayette during the regular season.
"All three games were identical," Amos said. "First one was tight and both teams had opportunities. Second game was the same thing. We were up 1-0 in second and they got a [penalty kick] in final 30 and that was how it ended. Both defenses played great. I think Rob would say the same thing."
The difference in the third matchup was the goal scored early in the first half by defender Patrick Harmon.
Like they have all postseason, the defense and senior goalkeeper Spencer Wolfe took care of the rest.
"Defense has been great all year," Amos said. "Even some of those goals we gave up during the season were when we had JV players in. The goaltender has been great. The hardest thing is to stand around in the cold and to stay active when you are called upon.
Saturday's 1-0 win was the fifth consecutive shutout for the Indians. They also defeated Mount Pleasant, 4-0, in the first round, Deer Lakes, 3-0, in the quarterfinals and edged Shady Side Academy, 1-0, in the semifinals. They also defeated Seneca Valley, 1-0, in the final game of the regular season.
With how the Indians have been playing all season and picking up their first WPIAL title in school history, Amos believes this might be a team destined to make a run all the way through the state playoffs.
"I think we do," Amos said. "I said this in all my other interviews: Losing their two years ago and last year in the quarters hurt them. Winning the WPIAL championship was one of our milestones at the beginning of the season and we also set one for the PIAA championship. We are looking forward to getting there."