Butler stuns Seneca Valley in overtime, reaches WPIAL boys soccer semifi nals
HAMPTON TWP — Each of the Butler boys soccer team's three games against Seneca Valley this season have served an important purpose for the Golden Tornado.
A 5-0 loss to the Raiders Sept. 20 was a wake-up call. Butler then reaped confidence from the second meeting Oct. 9, despite falling 3-2 in overtime.
Thursday night at Hampton's Fridley Field, the Golden Tornado earned a spot in the WPIAL Class AAA's final four with a 2-1 overtime victory.
Sophomore defender Joel Stutz's header off a corner kick with just over eight minutes left in the first overtime lifted Butler to the quarterfinal win.
For the first time since 2006, the Tornado will play in the district semifinals, where they will face Upper St. Clair on Monday at a site and time to be determined.
“This is so big for our team,” Stutz said minutes after his game-winner. “The seniors get to keep playing. It's like a dream come true.
“Seneca Valley is a good team, but we knew we could beat them,” he added.
Raiders' coach George Williams felt going into Thursday's game that it would look nothing like the teams' first clash in September.
“Butler found a lot of good momentum,” he said. “We knew it would be a tight game. I'm very proud of our team. We played good soccer tonight. We just wish we could've scored one more goal.”
The game's final corner kick — Butler's fourth of the night — was taken by senior forward Anthony Werth to the right of SV's goal. Stutz headed the ball and it bounced just in front of the net and skipped past Raiders' goalkeeper Bryce Benjamin, who had dove in an attempt to make the save. It was Stutz's second goal of the season. The first also came on a corner kick earlier this fall.
The Golden Tornado (12-6-2) led for much of the game after senior midfielder A.J. Nagy made the Raiders pay for not clearing the ball following a free kick by Ty Savochka. The former's goal came in the 13th minute of play.
Seneca Valley threatened numerous times before senior defender Danny Wallowicz scored the equalizer on a header in the 68th minute.
Following the goal, Butler kept its composure, thwarting several more scoring chances by SV.
“We didn't panic,” said Butler coach Troy Mohney. “We just went out and played. Obviously, everybody was upset about (Seneca's) goal, but our guys showed a lot of maturity and I was happy to see that.”
“When we got it to overtime, we knew we had a good chance to win,” Stutz said.
Benjamin made seven saves for Seneca and Adam Voelker five saves for Butler.
The Raiders' 2014 season brought with it a second straight Section 2 title and an overall record of 16-3.
“It was another incredibly talented group of players,” Williams said. “It is a group of quality young men and the coaches were lucky to have worked with them this year.”