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MECHANICSBURG- The Wildcat boys took their division of the Booster Club Soccer Tournament by scoring two early goals and holding the Thundering Herd scoreless in a 3-0 win at the Northside Pitch.
The Wildcats beat Trinity 4-1 in the opening game while the Herd beat Southwestern 2-0 to reach the championship game. Trinity beat Southwestern 3-0 in the consolation game.
The youthful Herd, who started eight sophomores for coach Brandon Eiserman, had the first chance with a header by Jacob Cheeseborough off a dish from Trevor Weis, but was just wide right.
Instead, a Mechanicsburg corner led to the first goal. Mechanicsburg set up for the corner and the cross was cleared partly out of the box. From the left edge of the box, Joseph Panuccio turned and stuck a volley into the far corner of the cage for the 1-0 lead.
“Panuccio has been on a whole different level so far this year,” said Mechanicsburg coach Tony Lougee. “His decision-making has been outstanding and his passes and shots have been right on. The goal he scored today and the pass he made on the second goal were just great decisions and execution.”
His volley over the top of the defense found Zac Sherman who out ran the Herd defense who were looking for an offside call. Sherman slid the ball past an on-rushing Herd keeper Sandi Kadric and into the net for the 2-0 lead.
Mechanicsburg’s defense just didn’t allow the Herd to finish plays. Preston Gould, Anthony Panuccio, Mike Fowler and Kyle Flemming just continued to frustrate the Herd with their ability to step in with physicality, skill or just a good read on the final pass and send it up the field. Their height allowed them to win head balls as well.
Sherman and Brad Powell were solid up top as Powell continued to some how beat defenders, shield the ball, and find that corner to set up his forwards.
Jacob Huffman scored the third Wildcat goal on a scramble in front of the net late in the contest.
“I was very proud of our effort tonight against a very good Mechanicsburg team,” said Eisermen. “Our young kids came out and played well but we have to do a better job in the offensive third and get shots on goal and create opportunities. It was overall a good day for us. Mechanicsburg is a very physical and solid team and they are going to create problems for other teams this year.”