Wildcats edge MC in District playoffs

By on October 22, 2014
Manheim Central senior Tanner Brenize looks for daylight around two Mechanicsburg defenders in Tuesday night’s District playoff action. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Manheim Central senior Tanner Brenize looks for daylight around two Mechanicsburg defenders in Tuesday night’s District playoff action. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

After Manheim Central and Mechanicsburg combined for three goals in the game’s opening 24-plus minutes on Tuesday, one might have figured that there more to come.
Turns out there wasn’t.
That wasn’t good news for the 7th-seeded Barons, who saw their season come to an end with a 2-1 loss to 10th-seeded Mechanicsburg (15-4) in a District Three Triple-A first-round boys soccer playoff game at Manheim’s Elden Rettew Field.
Brad Powell’s unassisted tally with 15:47 left in the first half proved to be the game-winner.
With the loss, the Central boys finished the campaign with a 13-2-6 record.
“Mechanicsburg was good,” Baron coach Rod Brenize said. “They scored 76 goals throughout the season, so we had some adjustments to make.”
The stats were as close as the final score, with the Wildcats holding a slim 5-4 edge in shots, in addition to six corner kicks to the Barons’ two.
Mechanicsburg scored on its first two shots of the game, capitalizing on an alignment which presented problems for the Barons. Jo Panuccio did the honors for the Wildcats at the 6:00 mark, giving his team an early 1-0 lead.
“They had three guys up on top that they held up there, even when we were deep in their attacking third. From a matchup perspective, that didn’t allow us to push our wing backs up or play with three backs, because they were really good.”
The Central boys were good in their own right and they showed their character by answering just 30 seconds later. Josh Hershey beat Mechanicsburg keeper Brandon Diehl (4 saves), with a helper from Tanner Brenize.
“I thought that was a very good response from the team … we came back and in 30 seconds, the game was tied again,” Brenize said. “I thought that was very, very good.”
It remained tied for just over 18 minutes. Then the Wildcats put together a flurry in front of MC keeper Logan Kready (3 saves). The Barons made an initial save, but couldn’t prevent Powell from tapping home the go-ahead tally.
“That (first) save might have come from one of my defenders,” Brenize said, “and then (Powell) toe-poked it in.”
Over the remainder of the game, the play went back-and-forth between the two teams, with the majority of the action taking place between the 30s.
“Really, it was fairly even,” Brenize said. “Depending on the time of the game you were looking at, sometimes they had control of the ball, sometimes we did.”
Despite Manheim Central’s best efforts, however, it was unable to get the equalizer and Mechanicsburg advanced to the quarter-finals. The Wildcats will play No. 2-seeded Hershey (20-1), a 2-1 OT winner over 15th-ranked Cedar Cliff, this Saturday at Northeastern.
“I have a senior-laden team, they played their last game at home, they played the last game of their high school careers &tstr; they were very emotional, but you would expect them to be,” Brenize said. “The bottom line is that there are numerous teams that would have given their right arm to be in the position and have the year that we did. I’m very thankful for our kids, I’m very thankful for the season we had, I’m very thankful for our parents. It was really a good year.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *