Brian Yates was at a loss for words to explain what happened to Upper St. Clair as the Panthers succumbed to Fox Chapel, 12-4, in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA boys’ lacrosse playoffs.
“I can’t tell you (what happened),” said Yates, especially when the Panthers appeared in the game, tied, 2-2, after one quarter. “They scored more goals than we did?”
True, some eight more tallies to be exact.
USC received scoring from Rory Zahren, Heath Erdos, Riley Fitzsimmons and Tim Daschbach. Ayush Ghimire, Daschbach, Alec Saluga and Fitzsimmons accounted for the assists.
Ethan Rutowski led with five ground balls and Zahren was 6-for-13 on face-offs.
Yet, Yates had promising comments regarding the Panthers’ future. Though USC finished 7-9 overall, the team posted a 6-2 record in section action and qualified for the playoffs.
“It was a tough season with a lot of injuries,” he said, “but we have some great young guys in the program and we are looking forward to our incoming freshman class. We have committed young guys that are going to do great things.”
Daschbach did great things as he led the Panthers in scoring. Erdos and Logan Tobias followed.
In addition to Daschbach, the Panthers graduate 10 other seniors including: Saluga, Graham, Fitzsimmons, Rutowski, Mitchell DeCock, Aidan Nichols, James Deiuliis, Sam Reeder, Tom Bosley and goalie Kevin Krawczyk.
In addition to Erdos, Tobias and Ghimire, the junior class included: Dom Zottola, Jack Clark, Gunnar Kovell and Braden Yates.
USC featured four sophomores on its varsity roster: Zahren, Josh Howard, Drew Blodgett and goalie Quinn Smith.
PT wins in OT
While Bethel Park had an easy time of dispatching Latrobe, 19-2, Peters Township slipped past Butler, 10-9, in other first-round action
In the overtime thriller, Gabe Maloni scored the game-winning goal.
Mike Vilsack fired in four goals and chalked up one assist. Aiden McCall registered the hat trick. He also collected two assists.
Zach Magnotti and Reed Scott completed the goal-scoring for the Indians, who are the defending WPIAL champions.
Nico Mahramas picked up an assist and Brandon Matthews won six of 12 faceoffs.
In goal, Liam O’Neill faced 35 shots. The Indians put 33 shots on goal.
In Class AA action, South Fayette and Chartiers Valley lost first-round contests by narrow margins. The Lions dropped a 9-7 decision to Franklin Regional and the Colts fell in overtime, 11-10, to Freeport.