Pine-Richland’s Niko Marsh‘s hat-trick led the Rams over Penn-Trafford at Fridley Field Stadium in Hampton on Wednesday.
After an absence from the WPIAL playoffs since 2011, long-time Rams Head Coach Jon Connor what he described as his “determined bunch” — as a surprise team heading to the 4A semifinals — along with two other teams from its section, Seneca Valley and North Allegheny.
I had a chance to catch up with Connor and the hero of the game, Marsh, after the game.
Marsh, a sophomore midfielder, scored twice in the first half, with a clinical finish from the right side in the 8th minute, then pounced on a loose ball in the box in the 28th minute.
After Penn-Trafford responded in the 61st minute on a Austin Mossellem‘s header, Marsh sealed the win with his third goal after his breakaway attempt was denied by Penn-Trafford goalkeeper Zach Werksman, he poked in the loose ball.
Penn-Trafford will now face North Allegheny in the Class 4A semifinal on Saturday. Top-seeded Seneca Valley will face the only non-Section 1 team remaining, Upper St. Clair.