BOYS 2A PIAA Final
Quaker Valley (20-4-1, WPIAL Champions) vs Lewisburg (23-1, District 4 Champions)
Saturday, Nov. 19, Hersheypark Stadium – 1:30 p.m.
Quaker Valley (20-4-1) advanced to PIAA Class AA final after defeating Shady Side Academy, 1-0, at Mars on Tuesday, and will play defending state champion Lewisburg of District 4 in the final at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.
Quaker Valley also defeated Shady Side Academy (16-4-1) in the WPIAL championship Nov. 5.
Quaker Valley last made the state final in 2005 and lost to Christopher Dock, 1-0. Overall, the Quakers have won six state titles. The last one came in 2000 when the Quakers were named co-champions with Fleetwood after the two teams tied 1-1 after four overtimes; that was before games were decided by penalty kicks.
“(The history) is always in the mind of a QV soccer player, of course,” Marshall said. “Kids in this area want to be a part of the program, contribute to the legacy and want to leave their mark.”
While the Quakers have rolled through the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs, outscoring opponents by a 26-7 margin, they were pushed by Shady Side in close contests twice along the way. Marshall believes his team is prepared for the challenge of taking on the defending state champion.
The reigning Class AA champs (23-1), Green Dragons are a team with 10 seniors that play regularly and have had to come from behind the last two times out in order just to get to their second straight final. Sam Rosevear’s finish late in regulation last weekend and Cole’s score in overtime pushed Lewisburg past Lower Moreland 2-1.
Then, on Tuesday night, the Green Dragons’ advanced to the finals for the second consecutive year as Joey Bhangdia scored twice in a win over Lansdale Catholic.
“We know they have a lot of talent and will be a tough opponent,” said Marshall, who replaced longtime coach Gene Klein in 2015. “They are defending champions with experience, but hopefully we’ll be able to adapt quickly. We have been a versatile team, and our strength has been as a group all year.”
The Quakers have had contributions from a number of players, including Owen Harkins, who scored both goals in the WPIAL final, senior midfielder Walter Hubsch and junior forward Ian Rodgers, who scored the lone goal in the sixth minute of their PIAA semifinal win.
Goalkeeper Dom Laganese has posted four shutout in the playoffs and came up with seven saves to keep a clean sheet against Shady Side.
“We know how important it is to come out strong and get an early goal and look to our defense to limit chances,” Marshall said. “Hopefully, we can do that again.”
BONUS: Here’s my interview with Marshall after Quaker Valley won the WPIAL title on November 5.