USC headed back to Hershey

Published Nov 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm (Updated Nov 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm)

For the third year in a row, Upper St. Clair will battle for a PIAA championship in boys’ soccer. The Panthers will play in the Class AAA state final set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 at Hersheypark Stadium.

The Panthers earned their trip to Hershey with a 2-1 victory against Cumberland Valley in a state semifinal match played at Hollidaysburg.

Despite surrendering a goal in the first two minutes of action, the Panthers recovered to knot the contest, 1-1, before halftime on a goal by Rob Mertz. Joel Hart assisted.

USC forged a 2-1 advantage when Hart scored, off an assist from Shane Sibley, in the 54th minute of action.

With the win, the Panthers improved to 21-1-1 overall. The tie, 1-1, came against Section 5 rival Canon-McMillan back on Sept. 10 while the lone loss, 1-0, came in the WPIAL District 7 championship match Nov. 2 against rival Peters Township at Highmark Stadium.

After routing McDowell, 9-0, to open action in the PIAA playoffs, USC avenged that defeat, blanking the Indians, 3-0, to advance to the state semifinal match against Cumberland Valley.

USC is the defending state champion, having beaten Wilson, 1-0, in last year’s PIAA final. The Panthers dropped a 1-0 decision to Conestoga in the 2011 PIAA championship.

USC won back-to-back state titles in 2003 and 2004. In 2004, the Panthers were undefeated with a 27-0 record.

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