SF boys second in WPIAL soccerPublished Nov 4, 2013 at 12:23 pm (Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 12:23 pm)
South Fayette's Jeremy Zyra (right) battles West Allegheny's Collin Wurst (left) for a header during the WPIAL Class AA boys' soccer championship game at Highmark Stadium. The Lions lost to the Indians, 1-0.
Nick McKee was inconsolable after South Fayette lost its bid for a WPIAL title in boys’ soccer. A senior, McKee was part of a defense that up until its 1-0 loss to West Allegheny had only surrendered six goals and recorded 18 shutouts this fall.
Though they hung their heads after their 1-0 loss to West Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AA soccer championship, the South Fayette boys had ever reason to be proud.
After battling to 0-0 and 1-1 ties with the Indians, the Lions knew there had to be a verdict in their title tilt with their Section 5 rivals because the PIAA playoffs had to begin last night. The Lions faced Bedford in their first-round state tournament game.
“There is not one ounce of disappointment in me about my kids and the effort they made,” explained head coach Rob Eldridge. “I’m obviously disappointed in the result, but the effort my kids put in this year in putting our program on the map. I couldn’t be more pleased with what they’ve done.”
In compiling a 17-3-2 mark, the Lions recorded 18 shutouts with Alex Gedrys in the net. Their defense also surrendered just seven goals, only two against like competition. However, it was Patrick Harmon’s tally that proved the difference between silver and gold for South Fayette.
Twelve minutes into the championship fray at Highmark Stadium, Harmon headed a left-footed cross from Joshua Kolarac into the net for the only goal surrendered by Alex Gedrys. SF’s senior goalie made many critical stops in the pivotal first half and defender Evan Yee cleared potentially another strong scoring chance by the Indians later in the game.
Meanwhile, the stingy West-A defense, which has allowed only five goals this fall, stymied SF’s offense, which is led by Brian Coyne, a 29-goal scorer.
While Zachary Graziani factors into the Indians’ offense, it was his defense and the goalkeeping of Spencer Wolfe that prevented the Lions from hoisting the championship hardware.
“(Graziani) is their wild card,” Eldridge said. “Zack gets a lot of credit for what he does, he’s an exceptional player, but he allows them to be the team that they are. (West Allegheny) is able to come out with that style of play because of (Graziani’s) solid defending and how he anchors the defense.”
Graziani, like Gedrys, is an all-WPIAL and all-PIAA performer.
Lance Lysowski contributed to this article.