Avonworth already beat Greensburg Central Catholic once this season with Pitt recruit Luke Mort in the Greensburg CC lineup.
Without him, all the Antelopes needed to earn their first trip to the PIAA Class 1A boys soccer finals was one goal.
Senior forward Sam Guzzo scored the only goal of the game with 23:01 remaining in the first half, and Avonworth staved off a late Greensburg CC scoring chance as Avonworth (23-0-1) ousted the Centurions (19-3-0), 1-0, in the PIAA semifinals Tuesday at Fox Chapel.
“I got a ball off a cross, I dribbled around one kid and faked it left, dribbled around another and put it in,” Guzzo said.
This will be the first time Avonworth has appeared in the PIAA soccer finals in any classification. It also will be the seventh consecutive season that the WPIAL has had a representative in the championship match but the first time since 2005 that it will be a public school.
And, even with an early 1-0 lead, the Antelopes didn’t take the pressure off.
“In the second half we were possessing the ball and keeping the offensive pressure on and, for most of the half, we came closer to scoring than they did,” Avonworth coach Tom Angell said. “Late, they had a couple of fantastic chances, but we didn’t just want to sit there for 40 minutes and let them take shots.”
It didn’t help the Centurions’ comeback effort that they played without Mort, a 35-goal scorer, who stood on crutches the sideline with a boot on his right foot.
“We were always going to have to keep this game tight and, unfortunately, giving up that goal just didn’t let us come back,” Greensburg CC coach Tyler Solis said.