Dexter Lamparter had to kick it twice to ensure the Herd’s first win in the past eight games as he deposited a penalty kick in the opening minute of overtime to beat Mechanicsburg 2-1 at Ken Millen Field Saturday evening.
Just under a minute into overtime of the Mid-Penn nondivision match, Chase West went into the box and went down while holding possession of the ball. With no hesitation, the official blew the whistle and pointed to the spot for a penalty kick. Lamparter blasted the kick into the right corner but the goal was waved off as a Carlisle player was inside the box. Lamparter was forced to kick again and found the back of the net a second time for the win.
With Mechanicsburg struggling over the past week and the Herd having lost seven games in a row, including six Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division games, few knew what to expect out of the game. Carlisle coach Brandon Eiserman benched five of his players for a set period of time in the first half and his staff found what they were looking for as the Herd hustled to the ball and challenged much more intensely than they have all season.
“It was meant to be a message as there were certain things going on in practice that is a mold that we are trying to break,” Eiserman said. “I think they got the point as we had emotion on the bench and they were aggressive. This was a confidence win for them to get them over the hump. Nathan Shimandle won some big 50-50 balls on defense in the air and played well. Brewster Tisson did a good job on ( Guy Pannuccio). Brice (Merwine) came up with a huge save. Dexter has been our guy from the beginning and he puts the ball in the back of the net. We got production from everyone tonight.”
The teams were evenly matched as they went into overtime at a 1-1 tie. Carlisle (3-7) had a slight 13-12 advantage in shots and each keeper corralled five saves in the back-and-forth match. Each team had several dangerous scoring chances but shots just missed the posts or crossbars or keepers were up to the task.
The teams played a scoreless first half in which each team did a lot of dump and chase, trying to get their forwards one-on-one with a defender or the keeper, but each had an opportunity or two. Pannuccio was well-marked up front for the Wildcats (6-3-1) as all teams are aware of his ability to be dangerous with the ball in the offensive end. He had several runs with the ball but had defenders draped all over him each time he tried to move with the ball. The Herd offense had a tendency to hit shots wide right or wide left. Wildcat keeper Sam Burkholder only had two saves in the first half.
Carlisle had one good chance when Alec Longarzo took a feed from Chase West but blasted the ball just over the crossbar.
In the second half, the Herd jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Brennan Zizzi fed a ball down the right sideline to Alec Longarzo, who split two defenders and toed the ball into the net past Burkholder. One official came to the scorers table and called it an own goal as he said it went off a Mechanicsburg player into the net. Either way, Longarzo was taking credit and the Herd led the game.
“I was the one that kicked that ball into the net,” stated a happy Longarzo after the contest. ” This win was huge, maybe the turning point for us. We have been close in games but couldn’t get over that hump. We had key players — Brewster and the Shimandle’s (Nate and Tyler) stepped up tonight. Brice is a good young player and we just need to keep marking and working together. These young guys are going to be tough down the road in a year or so.”
Carlisle and Mechanicsburg both played good defense despite the shirt-grabbing and clutching you would normally see in the ice rink. Both teams were aggressive to the ball and were not taking cheap shots at each other. In the second half, there was very good passing to move the ball up the field.
Mechanicsburg had a great chance to tie the match at one in the 19th minute. A cross by Greg Bretz found the head of a Mechanicsburg player but freshman keeper Brice Merwine made a phenomenal save as he tapped the ball away and defender Robert Gilroy was in the right place as he cleared the ball away from the front of the cage and Nathan Shimandle was there to clear it out of danger.
The Wildcats finally tied the contest at the 8:16 mark as Chris White stuck a loose ball in the back of the net. White missed the first half of the game as he was on a college visit and arrived at the stadium at half-time.
Carlisle had two key chances late as Zizzi ripped a direct kick off the wall and Darwin Martinez just missed the upper right post from about 25 yards out.
“This a tough loss,” Mechanicsburg coach Tony Lougee said. “I thought we had our chances but we didn’t finish. That first own goal was tough but our kids battled back. We moved the ball well at times and created opportunities but we didn’t have that good look to finish. We can’t be unhappy with that. I have always enjoyed these games with Carlisle and it has turned into a good rivalry.”
Carlisle travels to Chambersburg for Tuesday night game while Mechanicsburg hosts Middletown on Tuesday night at the Northside Soccer Pitch.