For 94 minutes you probably couldn’t tell the difference between the two teams battling for the WPIAL Boys 1A Soccer championship on Friday night at Highmark Stadium, as it was about as evenly played as any match in the history of the four-year stadium on the banks of the Monongahela.
It was Sewickley Academy (18-4), with nine seniors, coming off a season which they won a PIAA Championship, that won in dramatic fashion, 1-0, on a Ian Deihle goal in the extra period, that beat upstart Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (18-3-1), a team with only one senior, who made it to the WPIAL finals in its playoff appearance in more than 20 years.
As the teams battled back and forth — each trading chances and runs of possession, it took a wild sequence in the 94th minute, as the game’s first overtime period was coming to a close,for the experienced team to pull out the victory.
After struggling to possess the ball early in the overtime, Sewickley started building up some nice passes into the box. It culminated when senior midfielder Mike Napoleone received a cross right in the middle of the box and drilled a shot to the right of CWNC keeper Nathan Paras, who made an incredible diving save to deny the Panthers.
As the ball was cleared by the Trojans, Sewickley coach James Boone substituted Rees Blaylock into the game. Blaylock took a long throw from the far right sideline into the box. The ball skipped through to the far post area, where Ian Deihle was the man on the spot. Deihle swiftly ended the game with a simple one-touch finish to beat Paras, and give Sewickley its seventh WPIAL title.
Here was a very happy and relieved Boone after the game (be sure to watch til the end, as the Sewickley players douse him with the water bucket).
For the record, it was the fifth straight WPIAL Boys Soccer Final decided on a golden goal, OT winner.
I will have more to add, including quotes from North Catholic Head Coach Jordan Weigand later in the evening/morning.