GLEN ROCK – The Susquehannock boys’ soccer team might very well be celebrating a trip to the District 3 Class 3-A title match — if it had not been for Northern York goalie John White.
The home team certainly had its chances to punch a ticket to Thursday’s final. White, however, personally made sure that didn’t happen.
The Polar Bears' goalie made a strong kick save with just seconds left in the first half to preserve a 1-1 tie. And after his teammate, Spencer Siverling, put the NY boys ahead six minutes into the second half, White helped keep the top-seeded Warriors out of the net.
While White was only officially credited with three saves, they were all pivotal in helping fifth-seeded Northern advance to the district final with a 2-1 triumph at Robert Lau Stadium.
“We definitely had chances,” Susquehannock coach Brett Maxwell said after his team fell to 20-2-2. “Especially late in the first half and in the second half. We were peppering (White) a little bit and he stopped us. But we definitely had our chances.”
The scoring: Playing in the school’s first-ever District 3 semifinal, the Polar Bears (17-3-1) dominated play for long stretches. Just minutes after Nick Holloway put the Warriors up in the fourth minute of action, the NY boys struck back when Shepard Soisson beat Warrior goalie Nick Koval to even the score at the 33:14 mark.
Siverling’s tally early in the second half put the pressure on the Warriors to rally back. The Susquehannock boys certainly did that, but just couldn’t find a way to get one behind White.
“They kept kicking it long and tried to get one-on-ones,” White said.
With the speed and skill that Maxwell’s team has up top, that’s a strategy that often works. But with White stepping up to punch or cover loose balls in the box, the York-Adams Division II champions could only wonder "what if."
“The last 20-25 minutes, we really stepped up,” Maxwell said. “I’m proud of the guys for bringing that energy at the end.”
Maxwell, however, didn’t blame his team for Monday’s result. Instead he heaped a bunch of praise on a Northern York side that will take on second-seeded Lower Dauphin (17-3-1) in the final at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Hersheypark Stadium.
“If you look at the entire 80 minutes, they had the better of the play,” he said. “And they deserved to win.”
Warriors can still earn state berth: The loss was certainly a bitter pill for the Warriors to swallow. The squad had high hopes entering district play with a singular goal in mind — winning a District 3 title. While Monday’s result ends that dream, there is certainly something left to be played for. The club will host the third-place contest at 6 p.m. Saturday against third-seeded Hershey (14-4-2).
“We’ve been through this before,” Maxwell said. “The Dallastown game (in the York-Adams League final), but we only had two days to get ready for the first round of districts. This time we’ll have more time. The goal has always been to get to the state tournament, whether that was tonight or Saturday, and that hasn’t changed.”
Lower Dauphin beat Hershey 1-0 in the other district 3-A boys' soccer semifinal on Monday.
Central York 7, Palmyra 3: At Klick Lewis Arena in Annville, Central got its 2019-2020 Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Viola Division season off to a winning start. Sean Barba (three goals, assist) and Logan Myers (two goals, assist) led Central, which also got goals from Jett Witte and Cole Schmouder. Andrew Guiddy, Billy Shaver, Jaegar Witte and Matthew Guiddy added assists, while Conner McCaffrey posted 19 saves to get the win in goal.
Annville-Cleona 5, Dallastown 2: At York City Ice Arena, Dallastown dropped its CPIHL Viola Division opener. Joshua Reid and Gavin Wells had the Dallastown goals. Quinn Eckert had two assists, while Trae Schanberger had one helper. Alexander Sears had 12 saves for Dallastown.
Twin Valley 7, Susquehannock 3: At York City Ice Arena, Susquehannock also dropped its CPIHL Viola Division opener. The Warriors got goals from Kyle McCormick, Manual Hunter and Andrew Baibos. Baibos, Gage Weaver, Bam Smith and Cody Rodgers has Susquehannock assists. Brady Frey made 35 saves.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.