Devon Moore | Trib Live
It takes a matter of seconds to run halfway down a soccer field.
That is all it took for North Allegheny to take control of its WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal game against Peters Township on Wednesday night.
Senior forward James Nolan sneaked a short-side shot past Indians goalkeeper Justin Gamble 36 seconds into the game to help the sixth-seeded Tigers (13-2-5) to defeat the Section 2-A conference champs 2-0 on a chilly night at Moon Stadium. Senior midfielder Roman Rainville assisted.
“It was the quickest goal I ever scored,” Nolan said. “Just keep the pressure on them, always pressure the ball and finish chances is what we want to do.”
“Partly two mental errors on our part,” said Peters coach Bob Dyer “I don’t think that dictated the entire game, but it puts us behind in the game and you have to chase it now. That’s a different mindset. … We would prefer to be ahead and push the tempo.”
The first-half scoring stopped there, but North Allegheny’s pressure did not. The Tigers kept Peters Township (13-2-3) in its end for the majority of the half with quick forward play led by Nolan and anchored by senior defenseman Alex Goto controlling the ball on the back end.
“We try to be aggressive every game we play,” Tigers coach Bob Vosmaer said. “Sometimes it goes better than others, but it’s always is good when you score in the first minute.”
Peters struggled to push the attack aside from a chance in the 17th minute by Rex Heuler, who scored the winning double-overtime goal against Central Catholic. Tigers’ junior goalkeeper Grant Glorioso turned away the shot with a diving stop.
The Tigers, who were without starting junior forward Josh Luchini because of an injury, had no problems taking multiple runs at the Peters Township zone.
North Allegheny kept the pressure on in the second half and hit paydirt again with 16 minutes left when junior defenseman Nick Williams converted a lose ball amid a front-of-the-net scrum after an Owen Leonard corner kick.
It was an impressive follow-up from the Tigers, who played Peters Township to a 0-0 tie Sept. 10.
“It was so long ago,” Dyer said. “But I think the team tonight I saw from them was the best I’ve seen all year. I thought they were gritty, organized and very disciplined. It just seemed like they were always in the right place.”
“The first time we played them we weren’t really that intense,” Nolan said, “but we really picked it up and now we’re going to try to make it past the next round.”
North Allegheny will play No. 2 Penn-Trafford (17-1-0), which defeated 10th-seeded Pine-Richland, 3-1, on Wednesday, Saturday at a time and site to be determined.