HERSHEY — When the story of the Susquehannock boys’ soccer team’s 2017 season is told, it will be filled with many memories.
Things like second-half comebacks, an unbeaten run to the York-Adams League Division II title, as well as a dominating performance to win the league playoff crown.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, that story is being told sooner than they would have liked.
The York-Adams League champs took on Manheim Central on Thursday, Oct. 26 at Hersheypark Stadium in a District 3 3-A quarterfinal battle. Entering as the No. 2 seed in the draw, Susquehannock was hoping to play for a district title next week.
The seventh-seeded Barons, however, had other ideas, using goals in each half to pull off the 2-0 upset. The Warriors end their season with a 20-2 record.
“We had a phenomenal season,” Warriors coach Brett Maxwell said. “You try to tell the guys that after the game, but, obviously, they’re having a difficult time.”
There were very few dry eyes on the sidelines after the heart-breaking loss. And, as Maxwell pointed out, that’s not a bad thing when these type of things happen. Seeds in the district bracket often are not indicative of a team’s abilities.
Manheim Central was no exception.
“They did a great job,” Maxwell said of the Barons. “They had a great goalie and they did a really nice job with their defense. All of their players did a really nice job of doing whatever they needed to do to keep (the ball) out.”
Manheim Central grabbed a 1-0 lead late in the first half, when Carson Brenize made a nice run through the Susquehannock defense to score the game's opening goal with just over 10 minutes to play in the opening half.
There were more than a few chances in the second half for Maxwell and his club to even up things. Barons' goalie Mason Nissley, who recorded nine saves in the shutout, was up the task making several brilliant stops to keep his team ahead on the scoreboard.
Manheim Central capped the victory on the counterattack with less than a minute to play. A clear was run down by Zach Reed, who eluded a Susquehannock defender, put a shot on goal and was quick enough to pounce on the rebound to seal the triumph with 26 seconds remaining.
That was when reality finally set in for the Warriors that their season was over.
Maxwell shared the pain with his team in a meeting in the locker room afterwards. But, he reminded them that everything that they accomplished this season still matters. And that’s something no one can take away from them.
“It was a very emotional time,” Maxwell said. “But I told the guys that when they look back they’ll always remember the good times that we had both on and off the field. And there were a lot of good times. It was a fun time and they’re a great group of kids.”
OTHER LOCAL RESULTS
Hershey 3, Gettysburg 2, OT: The Gettysburg boys' soccer team saw its season end in the Class 3-A quarterfinals, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Trojans in the second extra time frame. Chris Cronin provided the winning goal. Twice, the Warriors held one-goal leads, but both times, Hershey equalized before Cronin's winner put the Trojans ahead for the only time in the game. Peter Hsu had both goals for Gettysburg, while Cade Wilhelm had assists on both.
Fleetwood 3, Northeastern 0: The Northeastern girls' soccer team saw its season come to a close with a 3-0 defeat to Fleetwood in the District 3 3-A girls' quarterfinals.
Fairfield 10, Mount Calvary Christian 0: The Green Knights continue their tear through the Class 1-A district bracket with another double-digit victory in the semifinals. Fairfield built a 7-0 lead by halftime and netted three more in the second half. The Green Knights will try to win their second consecutive District 3 1-A championship on Wednesday, Nov. 1 against Camp Hill.
— Ryan Vandersloot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org