BOYS' SOCCER: Last-minute score lifts Susquehannock to dramatic District 3-AA win vs. West York
GLEN ROCK — Each of Cheikh Cisse's eight goals during the regular season was big in its own way.
None, however, quite compared to his ninth.
With Monday night's District 3-AA boys' soccer game between Susquehannock and West York seemingly destined for extra time, it was Cisse's ninth goal of the season that turned out to be his team's biggest score of 2015. Cisse received a perfectly headed ball from Luke Thomas in stride and slotted it in the lower left corner, just out of the reach of Bulldog goalkeeper Darian McCauley's outstretched arm. That gave the Warriors a dramatic, final-minute 1-0 victory over their York-Adams League rivals. The win moves No. 4 seed Susquehannock (13-6-0) into the district quarterfinals while ending the season for No. 13 seed West York at 10-8-1.
"At the end, it felt like slow motion," Cisse said when describing his goal. "All I needed was one chance."
Cisse may have only needed one chance to beat McCauley, but it was going to take a perfect finish. Up to that point, McCauley had the Warriors' number, making several remarkable saves to keep the Bulldogs level at 0-0. It took until the start of the second half to finally get both sides to open up the play, but when they did, it was nip and tuck down to the end.
The first-round showdown was the third meeting between the York-Adams Division II foes, with the two previous decisions going to Susquehannock. The Warriors won the season's first meeting in September, 2-1, and then took care of business on the road in October, 4-0. Still, one of the hardest things to do in sports is defeat a solid team three times in a single season, so Susquehannock knew what it was in for.
"We knew that it was going to be this exact game," Warriors head coach Brett Maxwell said. "It was going to be a coin toss at the end and, bottom line, it basically was."
After the first 40 minutes, while the intensity was there, the chances weren't. Susquehannock held a 3-1 shot advantage going into halftime, but this game would ultimately be defined by the final 40 minutes. The Warriors fired 12 shots in the second half, while West York answered with seven of its own. For the most part, they were prime scoring opportunities. But, up until the final shot, each one was answered by both keepers.
McCauley made one acrobatic save after another in the second half, coming up with nine stops all together. None was bigger than when he stopped Jayson Gayle from point-blank range on a corner attempt midway through the second half to keep the game scoreless. Shortly after that, it was Susquehannock's Aaron Bilbie who came up with some big stops, including a few low drives that he smothered and controlled. In total, Bilbie made stopped all five of the Bulldogs' attempts that found the target.
Maxwell told his team to just keep shooting, no matter how many times McCauley snuffed out their chances.
"It is frustrating," Maxwell said. "Darian is a phenomenal goalie. He's one of the best I've ever seen in high school. He had a couple saves that were just unreal — athleticism through the roof. But, what we try to teach the guys is to attack with numbers to create better opportunities ... So we try to work on getting more guys involved on the attack and create the opportunities like we had at the end there where Cheikh was about 10 yards out."
It was a dramatic ending to a classic rivalry. The Warriors will now move on to play in the quarterfinals vs. No. 5 seed Bermudian Springs (15-3-0) on Thursday. Bermudian beat No. 12 seed Lampeter-Strasburg on Monday, 1-0.
OTHER BOYS' SOCCER
Bermudian Springs 1, Lampeter-Strasburg 0 (2OT): At York Springs, the Eagles triumphed in penalty kicks by a 3-1 margin after a scoreless tie through regulation and two overtime periods. The visitors had a 13-2 edge in shots on goal, but still lost. Daniel Alvarez made 12 saves to get the win in goal. Samuel Johnson, Christopher Felipe and Jake Halfman converted PKs for Bermudian.
Gettysburg 6, Biglerville 0: At Gettysburg, Adam Yingling led the Warriors to the first-round District 3-AA victory by scoring one goal and adding two assists. His brother Matt Yingling scored two goals. No. 1 seed Gettysburg improved to 20-0 and moved to the quarterfinals and will face East Pennsboro (14-4-1) on Thursday. No. 16 seed Biglerville finished at 14-8-0.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker