The boys varsity soccer team is pleased with their season, despite falling to Conestoga in the PIAA Class AAA championship, 1-0, over the weekend.
"I told my guys Saturday night that this was just a great season," head coach Uwe Schneider said. "Not winning the state championship doesn't take away the great season. This team is one of the top four or five teams in the history of Upper St. Clair."
"I really enjoyed every moment I had with the team," said senior Jesse Poljak, one of the team's captains. "It was an amazing year. From the beginning we never thought we'd make it to the state championship, let alone ."
The only goal of the game was scored by Conestoga early in the second half. The coach reflected on the game as he watched a replay on Upper St. Clair's cable channel Sunday night.
"In the first half we figured the team out, then they got that goal early in the second and we threw everything we had at them in the end. It just wasn't quite enough on that day," Schneider said. "Watching it now, we did a pretty good job against them. That was a really good team."
"We had our chances at the end, but we couldn't connect on them," said senior Mike Worthy, one of the team's captains. "We gave it our all and came up a little short. You have to give credit to Conestoga; They were a great team."
However, the players, coaches and fans think things could have swung their way if it wasn't for an alleged missed call by the referees.
"The ref didn't call a handball," Schneider said.
Toward the end of the second half, an Upper St. Clair kick hit the hand of a Conestoga defender. According to the players, even the Conestoga player thought the call should have been a handball, but the ref never blew his whistle. It was a missed penalty kick opportunity for the Panthers.
"You don't ever want to blame the refs when you lose, but it should have never gotten to that point," Worthy said.
The team is now looking ahead to the future.
"We have five seniors that made up a big part of the team, but I think we have the people to build another good team," Schneider said.
There were four freshman who got a lot of playing time this season. Their state championship experience and increased maturity next year will be beneficial, the coach added.
"I'm pretty optimistic. I think we'll have another good year," Schneider said.
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