Barons blanked by PV in District semi-finals
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Victor Weaver’s ears must have been ringing on Sunday night.
The Pequea Valley senior forward was the topic of discussion at Manheim Central coach Rod Brenize’s house, where the Barons soccer team gathered to watch game film in preparation for their upcoming District Three Double-A semi-final game.
"I had the whole team over to my house (Sunday) night for two hours, we were studying film, and we said the key to the game was No. 7, Victor," Brenize said. "We knew Victor Weaver, we knew Bailey Donecker, and Ethan Hoover. We had to make somebody else beat us."
In the end, it was Weaver who, in fact, got the game’s only goal, snapping a scoreless tie with 15:25 left in the second half and leading 6th-seeded Pequea Valley to a 1-0 win at Hersheypark Stadium on Monday night.
With the win, the reigning PIAA Double-A champion Braves (16-4-1) advance to the District finals against Oley Valley, a 1-0 double OT winner over Susquehannock in the other semi-final. The 2nd-seeded Barons (15-5-2) will face the 8th-seeded Warriors (14-6-2) on Saturday with a State berth at stake.
"The final four of PIAA District Three isn’t supposed to be easy, is it? We’ll do what we can and move on and see if we can advance into States," Brenize said.
A year ago, it was Pequea Valley who ended up taking District bronze before going on to win the PIAA crown. On Monday night, that big-game experience was evident as they took over in the second half, limiting the Barons to just one shot while creating seven of their own. Overall, the Braves outshot MC 9-3 while generating the game’s only three corner kicks.
Manheim Central’s best scoring chance came with just over 15:00 left in an evenly-played first half, when junior Jordan Fry’s arching shot glanced off the hands of Braves keeper Owen Geedey (2 saves), then hit the crossbar.
It took only five minutes into the second for the Braves to threaten in Central’s defensive end, but Hoover’s header, off a free start kick by Josh Martin, was stopped by Barons’ junior goalie Logan Kready for one of his five saves.
Then with about 20:15 remaining, Kready stopped Weaver from close range.
"I asked (Logan) to make two quality saves in the second half," Brenize said. "He did many more than just two saves in the second half, didn’t he? He’s a stud there, no question … I thought our back line really did well. All four of those guys played their hearts out."
Finally, with Pequea Valley in transition, Colton Neff got the ball to Weaver near the top of the box. Despite tight coverage by junior back Tanner Brenize, the ball slipped through the Baron defender’s legs and Weaver ripped a shot into the right corner of the net.
"We didn’t have a defensive breakdown there," Brenize said. "We were in good defensive position, the guy hit a great shot. We gave up one goal, and that one goal was between our defender’s legs – (Tanner) was right on his hip. There was no time or space there and the ball went in the back of the net."
That was all the Braves needed. With 3:46 left in the game, Jonathan Hershey got a shot on goal for the Barons, but Geedey was there to save it and Pequea Valley moved on.
"(Kready) made a couple of really decent saves, he really did," PV coach Robbie Martin said. "When you make it to the District semi-final, you shouldn’t win a game 4-0 or 5-0 because it makes a mockery of it. When you’re in games like this, it should be 1-0, it should be 2-1, it should be a good goalkeeper, it should be good players. That’s the way it should be. We’re fortunate that we came out on the winning side."
"We tried," Brenize remarked. "I asked the guys in the locker room, ‘Did you all try your best?’ (They said) yes. They’re high school kids and we did our best. Pequea’s a good team, there’s no question. They have a good coach, they have good movement, they’re well-organized, they move the ball around nicely and work really hard behind the ball and they deserve to be here. There’s definitely no doubt about that."
Last Thursday in the District quarterfinals, Kale Landis’ goal with 8:19 elapsed in the second half, on a feed from Evan Pfoutz, was the difference in Manheim Central’s 1-0 win over Palmyra at Boiling Springs High School.
Kready finished with five saves between the pipes to record the shutout.
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