WEST MIFFLIN — Charleroi’s dream of winning a WPIAL Class 2A boys soccer championship came to an end Monday night with a 4-2 loss in the semifinals to North Catholic at West Mifflin High School.
“When you don’t bring you ‘A’ game to a battle like this ... they exploited some of our holes and mistakes,” said Charleroi coach Jon Ducoli. “The boys have nothing to head their heads about, but the season isn’t over.
“We still have a chance to go to states. Now we just have to fight for the third spot.”
Charleroi (15-3-1) will play in the third-place match Wednesday night against Ambridge at a stie and time to be determined. The winner advances to the PIAA tournament.
The No. 9-seeded Trojans (12-7) opened scoring with 28:46 to play in the first half on a penalty kick when Charleroi was called for a handball in the goal box.
Dylan Greggs took the shot and buried it in the bottom right corner past a diving Charleroi Nate Mazon.
A little more than three minutes later, Charleroi’s Eben McIntyre, a Pitt commit, drilled a shot past North Catholic goalkeeper Devin Paschall. However, it hit the right post with 25:25 to go in the first half and the ball was cleared by the Trojans.
The Cougars tied the score with 19:08 to go in the half. McIntyre beat three Trojan defenders, including Paschall who had come out several yards to try and get to the ball, only for McIntyre to find Dom Tocolano in front of the left post and the senior scored to trigger the massive Charleroi throng in the stands.
Exactly three minutes later, North Catholic’s Ryan Shantz played a ball between four Charleroi defenders and then beat Mazon to give the Trojans the 2-1 lead, and it held into the second half.
Charleroi finished with five shots in the first half and North Catholic had four.
The Trojans extended their lead to 3-1 when Luke Phillips scored off of an assist from Marcus Kurtz, and the duo connected again with 11:39 to go to put the match away.
Charleroi’s Braden Pringle scored the last goal of the match with 4:07 to play.
North Catholic finished with nine shots while Charleroi had seven.
The loss is Charleroi’s second loss in four years in the semifinals.
“We go back to the drawing board and prepare for Wednesday,” said Ducoli.