SOCCER

Northeastern boys' soccer ends season with loss to Chambersburg in districts

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

MANCHESTER — Some teams call it revenge. Some call it redemption. Whichever word is used, the emotion behind it is exactly the same.

Saturday night at Northeastern High School, the host Bobcats felt the effects of it.

Taking on Chambersburg, who Northeastern knocked out of the District 3 Class 4A playoffs a season ago, the Bobcats were unable to contain a focused Trojans side. Chambersburg scored a pair of goals in the first half before tacking on one more late in the second half to deliver a knockout blow to the York-Adams League Division I champs' season in a 3-0 victory.

With only the programs in the district semifinals earning berths into the PIAA draw, the Northeastern boys saw their promising season come to a dissatisfying conclusion.

“We talked about (last year’s game) heading up to tonight,” Bobcats coach Eric Shoemaker said. “They felt like they owed us one, and we knew they’d be gunning for us.”

Northeastern’s Gavin Meador kicks the ball during boys’ soccer action against Dallastown at Northeastern Senior High School in East Manchester Township, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. Northeastern would win the game 2-0. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

The focus and determination of Chambersburg was evident early on, as the Trojans took the play to Northeastern from the opening whistle. Northeastern survived a couple of chances, but a breakdown led to the opening goal by Goetz Dickman with just under 25 minutes left in the opening half. Just under seven minutes later, the Trojans pushed the advantage to 2-0 on a tally by Mario Wiesman.

“We had a couple of small errors that led up to those goals,” Shoemaker said. “Situations higher up the field that we didn’t take care of things appropriately, and it just leads to tough situations.”

Falling behind by a pair, the Bobcats found it difficult to generate much of an attack as Chambersburg packed things in defensively.

“They did what any good team would do,” Shoemaker said. “You can’t blame them for that.”

After the final horn sounded, the realization that the end had come for a season that continued the elevation of Northeastern's program set in for the team’s seniors. That class has been the catalyst for three straight Division I championships, a York-Adams title last season and the process of making districts, hosting a game and winning a game to get to the quarterfinals.

Their hope was to be the first Bobcat squad to earn a state berth at the 4A level, a goal that will now carry over to next year’s squad.

“We’ve been progressing a step at a time,” said Shoemaker, who took over a program that was noncompetitive eight seasons ago. “It’s involving a lot of patience. We’ve got to the point where we qualified and then finally a first-round home game and then finally a first-round win. This year was a second-round home game, so we’re now looking for a second-round home game win.”

Northeastern head coach Eric Shoemaker during boys’ soccer action against Dallastown at Northeastern Senior High School in East Manchester Township, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. Northeastern would win the game 2-0. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Shoemaker, who got emotional addressing his team afterward, reflected on the accomplishments of his senior class, which led the team to a 17-5 mark this season.

“They’ve been so instrumental to our success to date,” Shoemaker said. “They’re a group that is going to graduate having won three division titles consecutively. And that’s really impressive for them. They’ve all been a part of the program since they were in sixth grade and seventh grade, and they started to see us turning things around from bottom-of-the-barrel to finally winning the league title and they’ve helped bring that along, so we’re going to miss them desperately.”