Sports Town will review the 2011-12 school year during July. Today we are visiting the boys soccer season.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart came into the WPIAL playoffs seeded 11th in the 16-team Class A tournament. Yet the Chargers wound up being the best boys' soccer story in Sports Town West soccer during the 2011 season.
OLSH nearly defied all odds to win the WPIAL title before losing 1-0 to No. 1 seed Seton-LaSalle in the championship game. That ended a string of three straight upsets for the Chargers.
OLSH knocked off No. 6 seed California 4-2 in the first round then rolled to a 4-0 blanking of third-seeded Neshannock in the quarterfinals. The Chargers then sprung their biggest upset with a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 2 seed Greensburg Central Catholic in the semifinals.
All of this came from a team that went 6-4 in Section 3-A during the regular season to finish in third place and 10-6 overall.
(Photo: Black Hawks' John Rebich, left, loses control as New Brighton's Zack Gould draws a yellow card for holding in Class AA Section 4 action Thursday. John Heller/Post-Gazette.)
OLSH's magic finally ran out in the title game against section rival Seton-LaSalle in a heartbreaking loss. The Chargers lost when Seton-LaSalle's Tyler Balzer converted a penalty kick with 1:46 remaining.
OLSH had lost to Seton-LaSalle 6-0 and 5-4 in the regular season.
"It was absolutely great to get there," OLSH coach Kip Michel said of reaching the title game. "All the expectations were that we wouldn't be there. Still, it was unfortunate to lose, especially late like that."
OLSH bounced back to beat District 6 champion Bishop McCort 4-2 in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before losing Sewickley Academy, another section rival, 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
Blackhawk was the only team to capture a section title outright as it won Section 4-AA and finished the regular season unbeaten with a 16-0-1 record. However, the Cougars were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, losing 1-0 to Belle Vernon.
West Allegheny tied for the Section 5-AA title with Quaker Valley. West Allegheny bowed out in the WPIAL quarterfinals with a 2-1 loss to Ringgold.
Beaver's Josh Turnley led the West with 29 goals. He was followed by Ambridge's Matt Patterson with 25 and West Allegheny's Tyler Graziani and OLSH's Matt Sangermano with 21 each.