Barons suffer loss in PK’s in State qualifier game
BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor
, Staff Writer
Two days after his Manheim Central boys soccer team suffered a season-ending 1-0 loss to Susquehannock on penalty kicks (6-5) in the District Three Double-A third-place game, coach Rod Brenize still wasn’t over it.
You can’t blame him.
No. 2-seeded Central outplayed the 8th-seeded Warriors in every category except the final score last Saturday at Northeastern High School, making for an agonizing finish.
The Barons had a 13-4 advantage in shots and a 10-3 edge in corner kicks. Yet, nothing was decided when the two teams had finished regulation and two 10-minute OT periods.
"We had numerous opportunities," Brenize said. "We went to PK’s and what are you going to do? Somebody’s going to lose in PK’s and I didn’t want it to be us and I didn’t want it to be them either because that’s a rough way to end."
Ultimately, the Warriors (15-6-2) prevailed in penalty kicks to claim the final State berth in the District Three Triple-A brackets, while the Manheim Central boys ended their season with a 15-6-2 record.
Through the first round of five PK’s, each team had converted on four chances. Josh Hershey, Tanner Brenize, Logan Crills and Damon Crouse all beat Warrior senior keeper Mike Jones for the Barons. In sudden victory, MC’s sixth shooter Evan Pfoutz answered a goal by Susquehannock’s Dan Snyder to keep it even. Then the Warriors’ seventh man Andrew Renzi knocked it home, but the Barons were stopped, and that was the game.
It marked the fourth game this season that the Central boys lost by a 1-0 decision. They gave up as many as two goals just twice, and they allowed more than two goals only one time – in a 4-1 loss at Elizabethtown.
"It was a very tough way to end the game and an even tougher way to end the season," Brenize said. "The stats said we were the better team. But the game is always to put the ball in the back of the net and we didn’t do it."
It wasn’t for lack of effort.
Having scored just one goal in their previous two District playoff games, the Barons made some adjustments in an attempt to create more offense. Those changes resulted in a lot of pressure against Susquehannock’s defense and keeper Jones (9 saves), including Tanner Brenize’s header on the doorstep which was saved by a defender.
"They had two guys on the post. It was just one of those kind of games where six inches here, six inches there, which seems to be the story of our season, to be honest with you," Brenize said. "We were playing a new formation to get more offensive pressure because that’s been our Achilles heel. We don’t score a lot of goals and I knew that if we were going to advance into the State playoffs, we had to have more offense, or at least more offensive chances. Clearly, that was accomplished. The end result of finishing one of those chances wasn’t."
Still, it was an enyoyable ride this season for the Barons.
"We had a great season," Brenize said. "There are a number of teams in District Three that would have traded places with us in a heartbeat just to get that far. I’m proud of the team and I’m especially proud of the growth the players made as young men."
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