Boys' Soccer falls during penalty kick "sudden victory" in first round District playoff

In the most intense game of their season, the L-S Pioneer Varsity soccer team took on the Bermudian Springs Eagles in the first game of the District Playoffs. Bermudian Springs took the first shot in the first 2 minutes from a direct kick awarded for a personal foul. The Pioneers weren’t concerned, however, and Peyton Denlinger made the first shot for the Pioneers a minute later, from the corner. Peyton made another shot within the next minute that rolled to the Eagles keeper.

The Eagles used the punt from their goalie to move the ball into the Pioneers’ territory. They attempted to take a shot six minutes in, but Dylan D’Imperio cleared the ball. The Eagles made another attempt on goal, but goalie Jake Klecko was ready and scooped the ball up off the ground. Using their advantage and Klecko’s punt, the Pioneers took the ball into the Eagles’ defense and made two shots within the eighth minute. Set up by a header taken by Nate Erb, Alex Knarr took his shot from the upper left corner of the 18 yard line. The Pioneers continued to make shots on goal. Matt O’Neil made the next shot for the Pioneers at 10 minutes in from the upper right corner of the 18. The Eagles keeper continued to make saves.

The game proved to be a very physical game. The referees called a personal foul on the Eagles, giving the Pioneers a direct kick at the 14 minute mark. Matt O’Neil took the kick, serving it into the 18 where Peyton Denlinger took a header, attempting to put the ball in the net. The Eagles keeper caught the ball and served it out to his team. After a personal foul in our defensive third, the Eagles were awarded a direct kick, which Klecko snatched out of the air. He put the ball back into the midfield with an impeccable punt. The Pioneers continued to take shots. 

Peyton Denlinger took a shot from the corner, and two minutes later, Knarr shot from the far left corner of the 18 yard line. At the 22nd minute mark, the Eagles made two more shots: one from the far right, and the other, a direct kick. Klecko saved both and dished the ball onto the field to Alex Knarr. Knarr took control and made a breakaway, taking a shot that went just outside the goal to the left. A minute later, Logan Heister took a shot.

The teams battled for the ball, and L-S had the next shot at the 17th minute, once again by Heister. Keeping the ball in the Eagle’s half, Denlinger made a direct shot at the goal at the 28 minute mark. In the last 10 minutes, L-S had 5 attempts, determined to finish out the half strong. Nate Patterson took the first of 5 with a shot from center field, followed by Nate Erb with a header. Knarr made the third attempt with a run towards the goal, but was cut off by the Eagles’ defense. Matt O’Neil made the last 2 attempts, the first of which was off of a corner and caught by the goalie. The second, made in the last 15 seconds, went over the net and through the football field goal, ending the first half.

The second half contained all of the intensity that the first had, although the first shot of the second half didn’t come as quickly as it did in the first half. L-S player Nate Erb made a shot with a hard kick from the upper right corner of the 18 yard line 12 minutes into the second half. Nate shot again from the 18 five minutes later, followed immediately by a corner kick taken by O’Neil. Within the next minute, Derek Eckman made a shot, hitting the goal post.

The teams continued to struggle against one another for possession. The Pioneer defense did a spectacular job keeping the Eagles at bay. 26 minutes in, Pioneer outside defender Adam Lichty took a shot from the center of the field, followed by a shot by Eckman from the right corner of the 18 one minute later. With determination surpassing that of the Solanco senior night game, the Pioneers continued to take shots. O’Neil took a shot from center field at the 29 minute mark. Retaining possession, L-S striker Nate Patterson went in for a shot, only to be stopped by two Bermudian Springs players shielding the ball so that their goalie could pick it up. Determined to use the close proximity to the goal, O’Neil and Heister both made shots following the obstruction to Patterson. 

With 5 minutes remaining in the half and the threat of overtime looming, Matt O’Neil made a shot which went wide to the left of the goal. Nate Erb made a shot to the right corner, but the shot was intercepted. Denlinger made the last shot of the half from the center of the 18, sending the game into 2 overtime periods of 15 minutes each. L-S dominated the first overtime period, taking 5 shots to Bermudian Springs’ 1. Denlinger took the first shot 2 minutes in from the right of the 18. O’Neil followed with a shot from the center in the same minute. 

Logan Heister took the next shot from the upper left corner of the box. Eckman had the last 2 shots for L-S in the first overtime period in consecutive minutes 7 and 8, both shot from the right of the box. In the last 15 seconds of the first overtime period, Klecko had the only save for the period when the ball rolled into the box from center field. The game moved into the second overtime period of 15 minutes. O’Neil took a shot 3 minutes in which just missed the goal. The Eagles had their first attempt in the period with a direct kick awarded by a personal foul. The kick went wide and Klecko kicked the ball back into play. 6 minutes in, O’Neil took 2 shots, one from the corner and the other from the upper right of the 18, both of which were saved by the Eagles keeper. 

In the next minute, the Eagles made a shot, once again going wide outside the goal. With 6 minutes remaining, Alex Knarr made a header off of a cross from Derek Eckman. Peyton Denlinger followed 2 minutes later with a direct shot from the upper right corner of the 18. Collecting the ball from their keeper’s punt, the Eagles made a shot to the right of our goal, where Klecko was ready and picked up the ball. One minute remaining, Knarr took the last shot of the second overtime period from the center of the field.

With a score of 0-0, the first district game moved into penalty kicks to determine who would move on and who would go home. Each team would take a total of 5 penalty kicks unless it was clear one team would not be able to win. The Pioneers shot first, followed by the Eagles and going back and forth. Center midfielder Matt O’Neil took the first shot, and the Eagles keeper caught the ball. However, the referee called the ball back, awarding O’Neil another shot due to the fact that the Eagles keeper came off the goal line too early. O’Neil shot again, and his shot went wide. 

The Eagles took their first shot, shooting into the left side of the net. Score 1 for the Eagles. Center defender Colin Anderson shot next for the Pioneers, making the first goal of the night for L-S. The Eagles’ second shooter came up, taking his shot. Klecko made an amazing save, keeping the score at 1-1. Round three brought striker Alex Knarr to the penalty kick line. He made his shot, but like O’Neil’s, his shot was called back due to the keeper leaving the line early. His second shot was also caught by the keeper. The Eagles’ third shooter stepped up and took his shot, putting it into the net. The score was now 2-1, Eagles. Round four brought outside midfielder Nate Erb to the line. He took his shot, only to have the keeper save the ball. The Eagles made their fourth shot, putting it into the net like the one before it.

The final score of the game was 3-1 Eagles, and although the Pioneers lost, they played their best game all season. They dominated the game, keeping possession for the majority of play. The team should be proud of their season, and we wish the seniors good luck and hope to see the rest of the team next season.

--Lauren Mast, Soccer Reporter

Edited: BE

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