The Upper St. Clair boys' soccer team is celebrating a state championship this week.
The Panthers defeated Wilson High School 1-0 during Saturday's PIAA Class AAA soccer final.
The win is the third state championship in the team's history. The Panthers also captured the 2003 and 2004 championships.
Upper St. Clair made it to the final game last year, but lost a close one to Conestoga.
"Last year was a big disappointment when we lost 1-0," said head coach Uwe Schneider.
The Panthers went into the game this year nervous, and unsure of the other team.
But, Schneider said, this year "something felt different."
"The guys were much more into the game," he said. "They were nervous, but pretty confident."
Doug Hapeman scored the goal on a header sent into the box by Wes Burdette 20 minutes into the game, and the Panthers continued to keep control.
"Seeing the guys out there, seeing them enjoying their success after a long, long season, it doesn't get any sweeter than that," Schneider said.
The season wasn't all success. The Panthers lost to Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL final, and it just added fuel to their fire.
"It gave us extra motivation to make something happen in the state tournament," Schneider said.
The team was made up of 26 players and everyone played an important part in the season.
"It was a real team effort ... a really great group of guys," Schneider said. "It was a great year."
The Panthers will lose four starting seniors: Wes Burdette, Ethan Dysert, Kevin Muck and Joe Conlon.
Four starting juniors and sophomores will be returning.
Schneider said he's not yet looking ahead, the team is just "enjoying the success right now."
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