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SOCCER: With dark days in past, Northeastern boys enjoying sparkling season so far in 2020

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
717-505-5403/@yascores
Northeastern's Alex Afata, seen here in a file photo at right, has led the Bobcats to a 6-0 start in 2020. Afata has nine goals and three assists on the season.
  • The Northeastern boys' soccer team is off to a 6-0 start this season.
  • Alex Afata leads the Bobcats offense with nine goals and three assists.
  • Northeastern is looking for its first boys' soccer title since the 2005 season.

Northeastern boys’ soccer coach Eric Shoemaker can still remember the first couple of seasons after his program was elevated up to Division I in the York-Adams League.

“It wasn’t fun,” Shoemaker said. “There were a lot of 13-0 and 11-0 games.”

Now, in his sixth season leading the Bobcats, Shoemaker and his team are enjoying the fruits of success this season. After a 5-2 victory against Spring Grove on Monday, the Northeastern boys sit alone atop the D-I standings with a perfect 6-0 record.

“We’ve been planning for this season all the way back to last October after we dropped out of the county and district races,” Shoemaker said. “We set some goals as a program at that point and really started training shortly thereafter for this season.”

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All of that hard work has paid off handsomely to this point this season, which includes a 2-1 victory over defending D-I champion Dallastown in late September.

The Bobcats' defense has suffocated opponents so far, allowing just three goals while registering four shutouts over six contests.

Afata leads offense: While defense is said to win championships, the Northeastern offense has been equally effective, behind the strong performance of senior Alex Afata (nine goals, three assists).

“Alex has gotten more and more attention and been marked as the years have gone on,” Shoemaker said. “He’s had back-to-back 20-goal seasons as a sophomore and a junior and more teams are catching on to him. So it’s important that all of the other guys are making themselves available to help him out and not just let him do all the work.”

While Afata’s numbers on the field are outstanding, Shoemaker sounded more impressed with his senior standout’s determination and hard work.

“I know that he just really wants to win,” Shoemaker said. “And that’s pretty much all the time, whether it’s in a drill in practice or in a game. You really couldn’t ask for a more coachable or determined kid with a better attitude day to day.”

Remembering dark days: While Shoemaker is pleased with how this season has progressed so far, he can still recall the dark days of a few seasons ago when the Bobcats were getting pummeled night in and night out against tough Division I foes.

Those were the days when the seeds of this year’s success were planted.

“We got kicked around pretty good that first year,” Shoemaker said. “We took our lumps, but I think we learned from that and our in a good place right now.”

The Bobcats are hoping the success will continue and lead to the program's first championship since winning the D-II crown in 2005.

BOYS' SOCCER

Susquehannock 5, Gettysburg 0: At Glen Rock, Fallou Cisse led the York County Warriors to the D-II victory by scoring one goal and adding two assists vs. the Adams County Warriors. Also for Susquehannock, Nick Holloway scored two goals, while Jake Wetzel and Ashton Murray each scored one goal. Drew McAleer added one assist. Susquehannock is 6-0 in the division.

York Catholic 2, Bermudian Springs 0: At York, the Fighting Irish improved to 6-0 in D-III behind goals from Colin Smith and Jon Yinger. Yinger also had an assist.

New Oxford 3, West York 2: At West York, New Oxford scored at the 22:04 mark of the second half to grab the D-II victory. Noah Murray scored both West York goals. West York fell to 4-3. New Oxford is 3-4.

Littlestown 4, Biglerville 1: At Biglerville, Josh Blose poured in three goals to power Littlestown. It was Blose's third hat trick of the season. He is now at 15 goals.

GIRLS' SOCCER

West York 6, New Oxford 0: At New Oxford, the Bulldogs used a five-goal second-half outburst to break open a close match. Alexis Miller had a hat trick for West York. Alyssa Denney, Rylee Cessna and Sydney Oram scored once each. West York is now 5-2 in D-II action.

Central York 4, Red Lion 0: At Central, the first-place Panthers improved to 7-0 in D-I. Sam Glover and Jazmine Parker each had two goals for the winners. Sarah Crusse provided two assists, while Kaitlyn Naylor and Keziah Boyce had one assist each. Morgan Wood had two saves to record the shutout in goal.

Delone Catholic 7, Hanover 0: At McSherrystown, Madison O'Brien poured in four goals to lead Delone. Mary Dizor, Mckenzie Lee and Brooke Whiteleather also had goals. Bailey Shehan had two assists. and Sarah Swingler had one.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.