MANCHESTER — There is no question that the Dallastown boys’ soccer team is really good.
An undefeated 19-0 record, a York-Adams League Division I title, the top spot in the District 3 Class 4-A power ratings and a No. 10 national ranking in the latest USA Today Super 25 Expert Rankings all attest to that fact.
How the Wildcats felt about that, however, was unknown. Throughout the season, the squad has taken its lead from coach Andrew Foust and opted to be tight-lipped.
Playing in the Y-A championship game Saturday evening at Northeastern High School against another unbeaten squad in Division II champion Susquehannock, the Wildcats let their play — and finally their voices — do the talking.
Shirey gets winner: Mired in a scoreless deadlock with the Warriors, the Wildcats were able to find the net when senior Michael Shirey headed in a throw-in from Kyle Reuter into the back of the net.
Susquehannock had a very good last-chance scoring opportunity with just under a minute left, but the shot sailed just past the crossbar. Seconds later, the horn finally sounded, setting off a raucous celebration on the field by the Dallastown boys after a 1-0 triumph.
“It feels good,” Foust said. “We played a good game, played soccer and we came out on top.”
A good bit of Dallastown’s game is being positioned correctly at key times and then executing. That certainly was the case on Shirey’s game-winner.
“It’s plan and preparation,” Foust said. “We keep it simple, play our game and, so far, our results have been pretty good.”
Maxwell impressed by Wildcats: Susquehannock coach Brett Maxwell, whose team dropped to 18-1-2, was impressed by the Wildcats.
“They’re organized and they know what they want to do,” Maxwell said. “It’s not necessarily the prettiest soccer, but they know what they are and they’re athletic and they’re going to come at you.”
Neither side, however, could get one into the net through the first 75 minutes. Both sides had a handful of chances, but the defenses for the two sides were stout.
“I’m really proud of our defensive effort that we put together,” Maxwell said. “That was the best defensive game that we’ve had against a high-speed attack.”
Pivotal sequence: And like most defensive struggles in soccer, the winner is often determined by one pivotal sequence, like it was Saturday. After a minute of sustained pressure, the Wildcats were able to earn a throw-in around the 10-yard mark.
That gave Reuter an opportunity to showcase his strong throw-in skills. His high-arcing toss bounced yards in front of the right post, past a couple of Dallastown and Susquehannock players, right to Shirey, who headed a shot into the upper corner of the net.
“I could just tell that the second it bounced that it was mine,” Shirey said. “(Kyle) has a really good throw.”
"Battle of the century:" That goal was the only one that the Wildcats, who have surrendered just eight goals all season, needed.
“I have a lot of respect for them,” Foust said of the Warriors. “Both of their coaches are good buddies of mine and we knew what we were up against. We knew it was going to be the battle of the century and I think it proved to be so.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.