Hempfield shuts out MC in L-L quarters Boys’ Soccer
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
In the soccer playoffs, every goal becomes magnified.
And the value of momentum can’t be over-stated.
For the Section Two runner-up Manheim Central boys, they had a couple of early scoring opportunities against Hempfield on Tuesday night which could have proven pivotal if they were able to finish.
Unfortunately for the Barons (13-6), they were unable to do so, and the Section One runner-up Black Knights got goals from Kyle Stettenbauer and Mitchel Gregg and prevailed by a 2-0 shutout in the L-L League playoff quarterfinals at Pequea Valley. The Hempfield boys will face Lancaster Mennonite (a 1-0 winner over Ephrata) tonight (Thursday) in the L-L semi-finals at 7 p.m. at Penn Manor.
"We created some dangerous opportunities, particiularly in the first half and we were just unfortunate to not finish one or both of them," Central coach Matt Schwartz said. "In a game like that, one goal is a big deal. If we can somehow manage to get that first one away and go up a goal, talk about putting doubts in (Hempfield’s) mind and giving us a big boost of confidence, that can have a significant bearing on a long-term outcome."
That thought had to be on Josh Kaiser’s mind as the Manheim Central senior took the ball down the left side in the first half with the score still tied 0-0 and put a pass in front of the net. Although the Barons had a couple of players in the vicinity, they were unable to finish on the opportunity.
"You hope you can do it on a consistent basis, but it’s not easy to always get the ball across and always have somebody at the other end of it," Schwartz said. "There’s a lot of things that have to go well and go right there timing-wise to make that happen."
Things went right for Stettenbauer as he finished on an assist by Nich Leaman with 5:03 left in the opening half to give the Knights a 1-0 lead at the break.
Overall, Hempfield had the upper hand in scoring opportunities in the game, placing four of their eight shots on goal, and generating the game’s only three corner kicks. Logan Kready finished with two saves in goal for Central.
But when Gregg converted for an insurance tally for the Black Knights with 18:44 elapsed in the second half, making the score 2-0, the mountain got a little steeper for the Barons. Leaman again got the assist.
Although the Barons were able to get some success when they attacked Hempfield’s outside backs, they were unable to cut into the Black Knights’ lead. They also had a number of free kicks, resulting from eight fouls against the Hempfield boys, but managed only two shots at Knights’ keeper Brian Gately, who stopped both of them.
"They’re good," Schwartz said of Hempfield. "They pressured us at times and made it difficult for us to do some of the things that we’ve trained and worked on … But at the same time, there were cases where we were able to generate some things and give them some problems. I guess in the grand scheme of things, we weren’t able to do it frequently enough."
Last Wednesday, Oct 10, the Barons wrapped up their league season with a 5-0 drubbing of Solanco. Damon Crouse scored three of Central’s goals, while also adding an assist, as the MC boys built a big 19-2 advantage in shots. Kaiser added a goal and a pair of assists, and Will Middleton also found the back of the net.
Nathanael Erk and JT Krueger chipped in with helpers as well.
The Central boys were also in non-league action last Friday, getting a goal in the 76th minute from Damon Crouse on their way to a 1-0 shutout of Penn Manor.
Taylor Mumma picked up an assist and Kready needed to make only one save to record the shutout. More L-L SOCCER, page B-8