HERSHEY — Premium scoring chances are often few and far between in the District 3 boys' soccer playoffs.
For Susquehannock, despite allowing just two official shots on goal on a cold, wet and windy evening against Fleetwood at Hersheypark Stadium on Thursday, those two shots were the difference.
The Tigers took the early lead in the first half on a goal by Marckens Griffon. After Colton Mumley's goal with 18 minutes, 25 seconds left in regulation pulled the Warriors even at 1-1, Fleetwood got the game-winning goal by Haydyn Zagorski with 10:30 left to earn the 2-1 upset.
The Tigers (16-4-1) advance to the semifinals on Monday against Gettysburg, who defeated Garden Spot by a 1-0 score. The time and location of that contest has yet to be determined.
The Warriors, however, will have no tomorrow as their season ended with a 17-3-1 record.
"They played well and took advantage of their opportunities," Susquehannock coach Brett Maxwell said. "Even though they only finished with two shots on goal, they had some of the play. It wasn't as if we dominated play. It was a back-and-forth game and I kind of had the sense that it would be that coming in."
The fact that these two teams squared off in the quarterfinals was probably the most disheartening reality of the situation. Maxwell felt that Fleetwood's No. 7 seed was a lot lower than it should have been.
"I think that we were two of the top four teams in the district," he said. "And I think we both could have represented the district well at states. It's just a shame that this game came in the quarterfinals where one of us was going to go home."
Fleetwood wasted little time getting ahead of Maxwell's club. Griffon headed in a near-perfect feed from Jeffery Heffner just over four minutes into play to put the Berks County team ahead 1-0.
The Warriors had some chances after that but didn't convert until Mumley's marker seemed to energize the second-seeded club in the bracket.
"We felt like we had the momentum," Maxwell said. "And we felt like we were going to get that next one, but they came right back and scored a nice one."
After Zagorski helped Fleetwood regain the lead just eight minutes later, Susquehannock had a corner chance and a free kick opportunity with less than two minutes to play, but couldn't find the net again.
As the final horn sounded at Hersheypark Stadium, the Warriors were in a state of shock. A season that began with promise and hope ended before Maxwell and his nine seniors could make a run at a PIAA title.
"They're disappointed," Maxwell said. "And I just told them that I'll walk out of here with a smile. I'm proud of them. This is my fourth year back at Susquehannock and this is the most enjoyable four years I've had in my 15 years in coaching. It's just this group of seniors and they're going to be missed."
OTHER BOYS' DISTRICT RESULTS
Gettysburg takes down Garden Spot: The Gettysburg boys' soccer team scored the only goal in its District 3 3-A quarterfinal contest against Garden Spot, advancing to the semifinals, 1-0, at Northeastern High School.
Logan Carbaugh provided the winner with just over 17 minutes left to play in the second half off a free kick by Matt Yingling. The Warriors dominated the contest, generating most of the chances, including putting the only five shots on target in the first half.
With the win, Gettysburg will face Fleetwood in the semifinal round on Monday, while also booking a berth into the state tournament.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org