Dallastown outlasts Northeastern in OT to advance to York-Adams girls' soccer title game
SPRING GROVE — In two regular-season meetings, the Dallastown and Northeastern girls' soccer teams were only separated by one goal.
The Wildcats won the first match-up 1-0, and the two teams drew the second one, 0-0. Both sides knew what they were in for when they squared off for a third time in the York-Adams League Girls' Soccer Tournament semifinals on Tuesday.
But for the first time, the Wildcats found themselves in uncharted waters.
Twice, Dallastown (12-4-2) found itself down a goal to the Bobcats, and twice the Wildcats tied the game. Finally, in the third minute of extra time, Dallastown captured its first and only lead of the game, when Mia Rexroth steered a cross into the left corner of the goal, giving the Wildcats the 3-2 victory.
"I wasn't expecting (to get the ball) at all," Rexroth said about her game-winning goal. "I was actually expecting my teammate, Lilly Jamison, to get it from Paige Hartman, but then it got bobbled and came back to me. We've been practicing hard with shooting so I try to hit it low and hard into the corner."
With the victory, the Wildcats set up a showdown with Dover in Thursday's Y-A League final at Susquehannock High School at 7:30 p.m.
Hartman began the goal-scoring play with a dangerous cross into the Bobcats' box. The ball got knocked around and eventually fell to Jamison, who played it back to Rexroth, who then slotted it home for the winner.
Dallastown controlled the run of play for the entire match, but never found itself with a lead in the game until the final play.
The game seemed destined to head to the halftime break scoreless, but in the final minute of the opening half, the Bobcats' Brittany Arentz changed that. She took the ball at midfield and challenged the Wildcats' defense until curling a right-footed shot low into the left corner that goalie Allison Hameier couldn't steer aside.
At halftime, Wildcats coach Scott Austin challenged his girls to either come out hard in the second half, or get on the bus.
"It comes down to heart and desire," he said. "...You have to believe that you have the right and deserve the right to be on the pitch and are going to win the game."
His team responded, coming out strong and finally getting on the scoreboard. Hartman ripped a shot from about 20 yards out, beating Northeastern keeper Breanna Schroter with a great strike that hit the crossbar and dropped down to tie the game at 1-1 through 54 minutes.
Just moments later, Dallastown looked like it was on its way to taking the lead, but had a shot that Schroter got a piece of, but not all of, get cleared off the line by the Bobcats defense. Then, just three minutes later, Abby Osborn took that momentum and gave Northeastern (14-4-1) its second lead of the game in the 64th minute, barely beating Hameier to a 50-50 ball and sliding it across the line.
But, as they did to begin the half, the Wildcats answered the bell, this time off a corner kick.
Natalie Gettle played a fantastic ball to the back post, which found the head of an unmarked Skyler Wilt, who headed it home to tie the game at 2-2 in the 71st minute.
That set the game up for a tense final nine minutes before going to extra time and giving Rexroth the chance to play hero.
Rarely did Dallastown ever find itself trailing in the regular season, posting 10 shutouts in 12 regular-season division matches. So, the Wildcats' ability to come from behind on two separate occasions showed some character.
"These are the type of games that are better for us," Austin said. "Not that I like to come from behind, but they're better for us from the standpoint of preparing ourselves for districts. And that's what I've said all season long, that's our ultimate goal. We want to make a run in districts."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker.