LEBANON -- It wasn't like Ryan Myers was having a bad night in goal for the York Suburban boys' soccer team. Just a few minutes before he got pulled out of the District 3-AA quarterfinal contest, Myers had made two spectacular saves against No. 7 seed Tulpehocken to keep it a one-score game.
But with his team trailing and only 13 minutes and 43 seconds left in regulation at Cedar Crest High School, Suburban coach Tony Kowalewski opted to pull Myers for backup David Brubaker, who had a bigger leg and could punt the ball farther up field.
"We had to press them. That's what that was about," Kowalewski said. "At that point in the game Ryan's technical skills are great but David can get the ball downfield."
Unfortunately for Kowalewski, the move may have backfired on him. Less than two minutes later, Suburban defender Ethan Dean went to make a quick pass back to Brubaker so he could scoop up the ball. But just before the ball rolled into Brubaker's hands, Tulpehocken forward Brandon Daub quickly intercepted the ball, dribbled it once past Brubaker and sent a shot into the open net.
The goal ultimately proved to be the game-winning score in Tulpehocken's 2-1 win over No. 2 seed York Suburban.
"We made two mistakes tonight," Kowalewski said. "One was on the first goal and the other on the second goal. Other than that, I thought we played a perfect game."
Suburban drew to within 2-1 with 6:31 to play when Griffin Vinarski scored on a header off a pass from teammate Tanner Martin. It was one of only two Suburban shots on goal, while a handful of others went wide of the net, including a pair in the final three minutes.
Although it lost seven starters from a group that finished third in districts and was the PIAA runner-up a year ago, Tulpehocken (17-6) proved to be a tough test for Suburban (18-2). Myers ended up with five saves while Brubaker made a stop on a penalty kick off the foot of Daub with 10:59 remaining.
"We tried to play over them a lot. We finally figured it out to play in front of their defense and got a lot of chances doing that and then scored a goal," Kowalewski said. "We just came up one short."
After going 17-0 in the regular season and winning the York-Adams League Division II crown, Suburban ended the year by losing two of its final three games and going down in the district quarterfinal round for the third straight year. Nevertheless, Kowalewski is still proud of his club, which includes eight seniors.
"It was our first division title since 1993. We're proud of that," Kowalewski said. "Their goal was to be undefeated in the regular season. We accomplished that."
"They expected to play for a state berth. That was the goal after the regular season. We were close. We've been close the last three years in a row now," he said.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.