Upper St. Clair claims second straight state titlePublished Nov 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm (Updated Nov 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm)
While Zach Rider and his teammates, Andrew Barton (No. 19) and Matthew Latschar (No. 20), watch hopelessly as the soccer ball clears the crease and the official signals a goal, Dom Caruso (No. 14) celebrates with Joel Hart (No. 9). Caruso’s goal, assisted by Hart, 20 minutes into the game, launched Upper St. Clair to victory, 4-0, over Conestoga in the PIAA soccer championship game.
Doug Hapeman, who had the gamewinner in last year’s state championship, scored a goal again in Upper St. Clair’s victory over Conestoga in this year’s PIAA final. Garrett Blake initiated the play on a throw-in from the sideline. “It’s an unreal feeling,” said Hapeman, “to be given this opportunity two years in a row. I have to give a lot of the credit to the seniors. We won because of their leadership and because they stepped up.” A junior, Hapeman hopes to make it three in a row for the Panthers next season. “Both of the state titles are pretty exciting, but one more would be better next year. We’ll see what we can do.”
Upper St. Clair captains Sam Russell, Robbie Mertz and Troye Kiernan hoist the PIAA trophy after defeating Conestoga Valley. A senior bound for St. Francis University, Kiernan said to end his high school career with two state titles and on a victory felt “amazing.” “We played our hearts out. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication. We’ve been working toward this since we started training camp back in July. To win 4-0 in a state final is unheard of, but it was a result of a great team effort. And that makes this truly special.”
Rob Mertz (No. 22) leaps into action to prevent Theo Blantz (No. 3) from moving forward with the ball during PIAA championship soccer action. Mertz helped anchor the midfield for the Panthers, who outscored the opposition this season, 122-14.
Joel Hart celebrates after scoring a goal two minutes into the second half, lifting USC to a 3-0 advantage. “Winning 4-0 is better than 1-0,” Hart said referring to last year’s state championship score. “We were only concerned with winning. There is nothing else like it. There is no feeling like winning.”
Shane Sibley weaves his way around Evan Duffy (No. 8) on his way to setting up teammate Joel Hart for a goal during Upper St. Clair’s 4-0 victory over Conestoga Valley in the PIAA soccer championship match at Hershey.
Eleanor Bailey / Staff
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Troye Kiernan (left) and Joel Hart (right) savor the medals awarded them for capturing the PIAA title for boys’ soccer. Both scored goals to lift USC to victory. The seniors had been to three consecutive PIAA finals. USC scored 122 goals this season, 29 in the playoffs, and recorded 14 shutouts.
Pat Miller is one of 12 seniors on the Upper St. Clair soccer team, which has participated in three straight PIAA championship contests.
Upper St. Clair defeated Conestoga Valley, 4-0, to capture its second straight state championship. In the final, played Nov. 16 at Hersheypark Stadium, Dom Caruso, Troye Kiernan, Joel Hart and Doug Hapeman scored goals.
Garrett Blake registered two assists on throw-ins. Hart and Shane Sibley also had assists for the Panthers, who finished the season with a 23-1-1 record. For more on the team, see Page B3.