Hagberg’s top five games of the fall 2018 season

The top games in saw in the fall of 2018.

Knoch vs Warren (volleyball, PIAA state semi-final)

For the first time in a dominant season, Warren volleyball came into a match as the decided underdog. Knoch was the top ranked 3A team in the state, the defending state champion and winner of 48 straight matches. Warren had finally broken through and won the District 10 championship, then dispatched Knoch’s fellow WPIAL members, Central Valley and Thomas Jefferson, in straight sets to set up the semifinal showdown. The atmosphere inside the Clarion High School gym was electric from the start, with nary a seat left in the house. Both teams showed the chops that had them in the final four, but the Dragons were able to grab a 2-0 lead over the Knights. Knoch came back to win the third, but Warren got out to an early lead in the fourth, held off a late rally and punched a ticket to the state championship.

Fort LeBoeuf vs Warren (boys soccer, District 10 quarterfinal)

The Warren boys were looking to end a 3-game playoff losing streak when they took the pitch at Dollinger Field against Fort LeBoeuf for the District 10 quarterfinals. The Dragons knew they would have to contain the Bison’s speedy forwards if they were to have success. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first half, though Warren had a golden opportunity in the waning seconds. A loose ball was rolling in front of the LeBoeuf net and forward Caleb Lindell came sliding in to try to push it across. He narrowly missed. Lindell took advantage of another opportunity in the second half. He got the ball at center and fired a twisting shot past the keeper for what turned out to be the game-winning goal. The Dragons defense clamped down the rest of the way, and keeper Tommy Harrington pitched a shutout to send Warren on to the semifinals.

Sheffield at Youngsville

(volleyball, Sept. 20)

Just two days before this match, Sheffield had notched its first win of the season in a 5-set thriller over Eisenhower. The Wolverines led the match 2-0 before the Knights came back to tie and force a fifth set. As this match progressed in the Eagles Nest, it looked like history might repeat itself. Sheffield came out and grabbed a quick 2-0 lead over the Eagles. Youngsville answered with two straight of its own to tie the match and send it to a deciding set. The Eagles were in firm control through the final set to grab the 3-2 win. While the win itself was exciting, it started a 3-game winning streak for Youngsville to help the Eagles get to six wins on the year, three more than the previous two seasons combined.

Meadville vs. Warren (girls soccer, District 10 semifinals)

For the third straight year, Meadville and Warren met in the District 10 playoffs. The first two meetings went to the Bulldogs, but this third match belonged to the Dragons. Both teams had a quality chance early, but couldn’t convert. MJ Fadale collected her own rebound in the first half for the game’s first goal. The shot energized the Dragons as they closed out the half with a 1-0 lead. Meadville tried to spring their forwards on a break, but on the few occasions Warren’s defense wasn’t able to stop them, keeper Alyssa Andersen made the save. Sawyer Mohney added a crucial insurance goal late in the second. Senior captain Mackenzie Bickling could hardly contain her excitement as the 10-second countdown began, and when it reached zero, three years worth of emotions came spilling out.

Eisenhower at Northwestern (football, Sept. 21)

While most of District 10 was dealing with varied start times and postponements due to weather, the Eisenhower at Northwestern contest was delayed only by festivity. The Wildcats were celebrating homecoming, and the Knights very nearly played spoiler. Ethan Chambers and Riley West helped put Eisenhower up 20-7 in the first half. A late Wildcats score made it 20-14 at the half. Chambers and Northwestern’s Jeremy Dohanic traded big plays throughout the second half. A punt return and turnover gave the Wildcats the lead late, but the Knights capitalized on a long Cael Black fumble recovery with a Chambers touchdown and 2-point conversion to knot the game at 34-34. Northwestern got the ball to start the first overtime and attempted a fourth down field goal. The snap was bobbled and Eisenhower was able to block the kick. It looked like Chambers had scored on the first play, but a penalty negated it and the teams moved to a second overtime. Chambers was stopped on fourth down just inches from the goalline. The Wildcats elected to try the field goal on third down and Preston Rusner hit from 28 yards for the win. The game was a coming out party for Chambers (237 yards and four TDs) who went on to rush for over 1,200 yards and 16 TDs on the season.