No. 15 Shady Side Academy edges Quaker Valley in OT to win WPIAL Class AA boys soccer crown
Seeding doesn’t matter to Shady Side Academy — WPIAL championships do.
The 15th-seeded Indians achieved their goal Saturday with a thrilling 3-2 double-overtime win against top-seeded Quaker Valley in the Class AA championship at Highmark Stadium.
“It’s fabulous for our team,” said Shady Side’s Wally Navid, who scored the team’s final two goals. “The whole team fought together.”
Shady Side’s magical postseason run continued against the Quakers (19-2-0), who beat the Indians in last year’s WPIAL championship (2-1) and PIAA semifinal (1-0).
“To be honest, I’ve said it several times, we know who we are,” Shady Side coach Ed Ellsworth said. “We have good players, and we know our strengths. We lost a bunch of games in overtime and late. We replaced eight starters from last year’s WPIAL finalist team, and it was a process. The kids never stopped believing.”
The Indians (13-7-1) knocked off South Park, Waynesburg, Central Valley and Quaker Valley en route to the program’s first WPIAL title.
“I don’t look at us as a No. 15 seed. We knew we were a good team. We just had a lot of players that were younger and were developing throughout the year,” Shady Side goalkeeper Chester Todd said. “As you can see, it paid off. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Franky Fernandez put Quaker Valley ahead 1-0 just 6 minutes, 19 seconds into the match. Close to the far post, he took a short pass from Bando Grant and knocked a rolling shot past Todd.
Shady Side tied it at 1-all when Ben Ream converted a penalty kick. He was tripped in the penalty box with 27:09 left in the first half. His shot beat goalkeeper Dom Lagnese.
Grant gave Quaker Valley a 2-1 edge with 8:44 left in regulation. He slipped through the Indians’ defense and lofted a shot past Todd.
Navid scored off a bicycle kick with 1:29 remaining in regulation to tie it.
“I knew we were coming hard,” Todd said. “You could feel something was coming our way.”
Navid provided the golden goal with 8:26 left in the second overtime. The ball deflected in front of the Quaker Valley goal to a crowd of players. Navid used a bicycle kick to get a piece of the ball, and it went into the net.
“I don’t even know what happened,” Navid said. “Max (Farner) flicked it on, and I just tried to bike it. It might have hit Adrian (Beckford) before it went in, but it doesn’t really matter because our team won. It’s fantastic.”
Both teams advance to the PIAA tournament. Quaker Valley meets St. Marys and Shady Side takes on Fairview on Tuesday.
“We started the season kind of poor, but, as a team, we came together and accomplished our goal. It’s great,” Navid said. “We’re going to go into states, and we’ll try to win as a team.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.