Article by Jeffrey Kauffman, The Sentinel/Photography of Matthew O’Haren, The Sentinel
For the full article, click here.
HERSHEY – The dream is over.
Mechanicsburg’s run in the PIAA girls soccer playoffs ended Saturday evening at Hersheypark Stadium with a 1-0 loss to Penn Manor in overtime.
Penn Manor (22-3-2) advances to the state semifinals to meet Lower Dauphin on Tuesday at 1 p.m. back at Hersheypark Stadium. The Falcons knocked out Hempfield on penalty kicks Saturday.
Mechanicsburg’s dream season ultimately ended Saturday when Emily Hess punched a cross into the net behind Wildcats keeper Shelby Koch.
On the play, Logan Kramer sent the ball toward the net, where Hess redirected it behind Koch.
“I didn’t see anything on that last play to indicate a goal … I was trying to get her to pass the ball back but she went forward,” Penn Manor coach Bill Zapata said. “I didn’t see the tip on the ball. I was very pleased with our effort tonight. Our kids never quit.”
Despite the loss, Mechanicsburg coach Tony Lougee was proud of his team, which finished with a 19-6 record.
“We played very well tonight,” Lougee said. “We just didn’t get that key finish. It was a tough loss for us in that manner. I’m not real sure what happened there.
“We have a good nucleus coming back and we will start planning for next year tomorrow.”
The game was well-played between the 18-yard boxes, but had very little offense beyond that point. Each team had six corners kicks, which forced the defenses and keepers to step out of the box to snag crosses and direct traffic.
The first half was played more on the Penn Manor offensive end of the field, but the Wildcats were able to sustain the counterattack to their offensive end of the field.
Mechanicsburg’s Megan Mateja had a tip of a Natalie Zelenky cross but it deflected right to Comet keeper Veronica Willig.
The Wildcats looked a bit slow and out of sorts in the opening half of the contest as their second and third passes were off target or short, which allowed the Comets to control the ball.
Early in the second half, Koch came up with the defensive save of the game as Lindsay Hutchinson broke in on a 3-on-1 and, as she wound up to shoot, Koch slid into the shot and deflected the ball away from the net.
“Our seniors have been so key to our program,” Lougee said. “They have been models for our program and our younger children.”
From The Patriot-News
Article by David Bohr, The Patriot-News
For the full article, click here.
Game-winning goals do not have to be pretty. They do not even need to be intentional.
Penn Manor’s Emily Hess scored 3:11 into overtime to give the Comets a 1-0 win over Mechanicsburg in the PIAA girls’ soccer quarterfinals Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium.
Hess scored the goal before she even meant to take a shot. She had just arrived to the ball in the box in front of Mechanicsburg goalie Shelby Koch, and almost accidentally pushed it the last few feet around Koch and across the goalline.
“I actually tried to settle the ball,” Hess said. “It was a bad touch and went in on goal.”
Logan Kramer set Hess up by dribbling into the right side of the box and rolling a crossing pass.
“We always preach to them all season to bring it forward,” Penn Manor head coach Bill Zapata said. “I told [Kramer] to bring it out this time. She didn’t do it, which is fine.”
Penn Manor (22-3-1) will play Lower Dauphin in the semifinals back at Hersheypark Stadium at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Mechanicsburg’s head coach said that he found no fault with how his team played, neither in regulation or on the overtime goal.
“It looked like it took a bad hop or was misjudged,” Tony Lougee said. “That’s what happens sometimes when you get the ball on the net.”
The second half had only a few good scoring chances for either side, despite the fact that both teams did get into the other side’s box several times.
“We knew they had a good defensive team that didn’t give up a ton of shots,” Lougee said.
The Comets had six shots, while the Wildcats (19-6) had five.
“Their defense just kept passing back and forth,” Hess said. “I thought it was wearing our forwards out. I felt I was wearing out.”
Mechanicsburg nearly won it on the last play of regulation. The Wildcats had a free kick from 18 yards out to the left of Penn Manor’s box. Jodie Zelensky’s attempt to set up a teammate in the box did not result in a shot, but did lead to a corner with seven seconds to go.
On the corner, Ali Matisse had a header that went a little over the net just before time expired.
Penn Manor had the best chances of the first half with a few near-misses in the last 10 minutes.
Both Kramer and Lindsay Hutchinson had shots that went just over the crossbar. Then, with 2:30 left in the half, Katie Breneman took a pass in the box from Hutchinson and put a shot on net, but Koch came forward to make a sliding save. The ball rolled free but Koch was able to recover it before any of the Comets could reach it.
Veronica Willig made four saves for Penn Manor to pick up the win.
Koch had two stops.
Each team had six corners.
Zapata will be stepping down at Penn Manor’s head coach after this season. He has a career record of 183-48-17, and coached the Comets to PIAA championships in 2002 and 2005.