Susquehannock won its first York-Adams boys' soccer championship since 2009 with Thursday's 6-0 victory against Biglerville. Elijah Armold, York Dispatch
YORK SPRINGS — Successful sports teams are often fueled by prior performance.
Be it avenging a loss or trying to improve on a less-than-satisfying effort in a previous victory.
For the Susquehannock boys’ soccer team, Thursday’s dominant 6-0 triumph over Biglerville in the York-Adams League championship match at Bermudian Springs High School was a little bit of both.
The dominant win delivers the Warriors’ first league title since it won back-to-back championships in 2008-09. It also ends a string that saw Susquehannock (19-1) unable to get past the semifinal round of the league tournament for at least the past four years.
“This is huge,” senior captain Adam Rebich said. “Coming into this season, one of our goals was the county championship. And then the closer we got, we really wanted to get a win. Coming out with the performance that we had was really good for our team moving forward. We put together a full game, 80 minutes, and I think it’s a good step in the right direction heading into districts.”
The win extends Susquehannock’s winning streak to 18 games.
The Division III champion Canners (14-4-1) were trying to secure the first crown in program history.
Dominating the rematch: The Warriors, champions of Division II during the regular season, also put to rest any doubts as to who was the superior team. The two teams had engaged in a tight, 2-1 battle on Sept. 23 that saw Susquehannock trailing, 1-0, at halftime before storming back in the second half.
“Part of it was just understanding how we need to play, a different style of play,” Susquehannock coach Brett Maxwell said of adjustments made to produce Thursday’s lopsided win. “We were going through a part of the season where we were playing a little direct and we needed to start playing the ball more to feet and getting more players involved in the attack. That was one of our goals coming into today, was to play that style and it really helped us going forward and put some pressure on their backs.”
Key stretch: The Warriors slammed the door on Thursday’s outcome by rattling off four goals during a 6 1/2-minute stretch early in the second half after taking a 2-0 lead into intermission.
Senior midfielder Jason Weger got things rolling by sending a high corner kick to the far post, where both Rebich and junior forward David Muriel-Diaz made a leaping try. The ball sailed just over Rebich before Muriel-Diaz was able to get his head on it and put Susquehannock ahead 3-0 with 36:19 left.
Sophomore midfielder Nolan Holloway added a goal less than a minute later.
Three minutes after that, the Warriors' defense used a series of one-touch passes to quickly get the ball out of danger and ahead to Muriel-Diaz, who quickly centered the ball to Holloway.
Holloway then sent a nice chip pass ahead and a footrace between senior teammate Zach Buchanan and Canners keeper Noah Mattson ensued. Buchanan won and used his left foot to send a shot into the right corner of the net before Mattson could recover.
Weger rounded out the game’s scoring with a nice leaping header of his own with 29:42 remaining.
“I don’t want to brag or anything, but I think our wings are some of the fastest in the county,” Rebich said. “And obviously our transition game is really effective. And our center attack and midfielders, Jason Weger and Nolan Holloway, do a fantastic job of moving the ball through midfield from wing to wing; so our attack is very multi-dimensional.”
Defense also shines: For as stout as the Warriors were on offense, their defense deserves an equal amount of credit. Thursday’s shutout marked the 12th time they’ve blanked an opponent during the current win streak.
Biglerville was unable to muster many solid chances. Susquehannock junior goalie Griffin Kaifer recorded four saves to preserve the shutout before yielding the position to sophomore Nick Koval (two saves) late in the contest.
Strong from start: The Warriors looked like the hungrier team from the opening kick and controlled possession throughout.
It didn’t take long for their efforts to pay off when junior midfielder Ben Wilson sent a free kick soaring into the box. Mattson raced into the scrum before leaping and punching the ball high into the air in an effort to clear. But Mattson’s attempt didn’t go far enough. Rebich headed home a goal to put Susquehannock ahead, 1-0, with 30:53 left in the first half.
Muriel-Diaz’s first goal came roughly eight minutes later when senior forward Brendan Wilson bent a well-placed pass between the Canners' defense to the top of the box. Before a Canners’ defender could collect the ball and clear, Muriel-Diaz raced ahead to gain possession before bending a low strike around an outstretched Mattson and into the net.
Districts next: Up next for the Warriors is a trip to the District 3 Class 3-A playoffs.
“First, we just need to refocus,” Maxwell said. “It’s an emotional high we have right now, and it’s great. We want to enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow we’ve got to get the idea that districts is where we want to be and where we want to have our biggest accomplishments and hopefully get to states. So we need to go into Monday with the understanding that we’re continuing our season and need to get better every day.”
Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.