Burrell falls in quarterfinals
SOUTH PARK — Defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AA soccer champion South Park appears on track to successfully defend its titles.
After Burrell played the Eagles solidly throughout much of the first half, a South Park goal in the 23rd minute got the No. 1-seeded team rolling to a 4-0 victory Wednesday night at Century United Field. The Eagles (14-3-3) advance to the semifinal round early next week at a site and time to be determined.
Burrell concluded a successful season at 18-3. Burrell had turned back every South Park opportunity until Josh Tolentino kicked the ball away from Bucs goalkeeper David Kunkle at about the time Kunkle was set to regain possession.
“It was a tough goal to let up, but I think our keeper had the ball,” said Burrell coach Pete Kariotis. “It was an unlucky bounce and things didn’t go our way today.”
Before that, Kunkle had stopped a shot from close range by Tim Busch and a shot from Scott Sabatasso hit the right goal post to keep the game scoreless.
“Let’s credit their keeper,” said Eagles coach Jon Cantwell. “He kept them in the game for a while. It was unfortunate for him how the first goal happened. He had made some unbelievable saves early on.”
Thirteen minutes after the Tolentino goal, Sabatasso booted home a penalty kick and South Park had a 2-0 lead less than four minutes before the intermission. The real backbreaker for Burrell came quickly in the second half when Justin Boehm evaded the Bucs’ defense and buried a shot into the right sector of the goal for a 3-0 advantage.
“What happened was their guy played it down with his hand in the (scoring) box and we’re all pushed up thinking (the referee) was ready to blow the whistle,” Kariotis said. “Our guys stopped for a second, and they take off and score.”
“We place a lot of emphasis on the third goal,” Cantwell said. “That third goal either brings a team back to 2-1 or puts you ahead, 3-0. It always drives the result.”
Boehm nearly had another goal several minutes later, but Brian Shaw stopped a breakaway deep in Burrell territory. Nathan Crain’s header concluded the scoring as both coaches substituted freely toward the end of the match. Burrell managed seven shots on Eagles goalkeeper Derek Yobbi while Kunkle made 12 saves for Burrell.
“David did well this year, coming out for soccer for the first time,” Kariotis said.
The game was played at the new Century United Field, several miles from South Park High School. The field was built for the Century V club program, partially through a grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation.