NEW SCHAEFFERSTOWN – Not happy with the outcome. But pleased with the effort.
Not happy with the game. But pleased with the season.
Not happy with the ending. But pleased with the direction.
Everybody wants more. But blessed are the optimists, for they shall know contentment.
On a cold Saturday afternoon at Tulpehocken High School, Palmyra’s pleasant surprise of a boys’ soccer season was short-circuited by a 3-0 loss to Boyertown, in the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs. The Cougars surrendered an early goal and experienced difficulties playing from behind the rest of the way.
The setback ended Palmyra’s season at 18-3-2. The Cougars finished fourth in the District Three Class AAAA tournament, but were the only Class AAAA club from District Three to make it to the quarterfinal round of the state postseason.
Boyertown, the runner-up out of District One, extended its overall mark 20-2-2 and moved into Tuesday’s semifinal round of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs.
“You just never know what they’re going to bring,” said Palmyra head coach Jerry Hoffsmith. “I knew this team had the ability. You have to have things fall your way. We had some things fall our way.
“Sports are life. Sports are life lessons,” continued Hoffsmith. “I hope they (his players) realize that with some hard work and commitment, you can accomplish great things, in sports and in life. Hopefully they’ll be able to look back and say this was a great opportunity, and that we did well.”
The Bears’ goal four minutes in set the tone for the entire match. That goal was scored by junior forward Dimitrije Randejelovic and assisted by junior Nick Wilson.
“We felt we could’ve battled back from that,” said Hoffsmith of his side’s early deficit. “We’ve done it before. But they’re a good team. We could’ve played right along with them. It just wasn’t our day.
“We had game tape from their (the Bears’) league final,” Hoffsmith continued. “We got what we saw. They (his players) just didn’t bring the energy. They’re quality kids. They tried hard.”
The score remained 1-0 until 8:09 of the second half had elapsed, when Boyertown really put the Cougars behind the eight ball. From the left side of the field, Randejelovic played a short ball to teammate Beckett Wengert, who volleyed the pass out of the air and past Palmyra net-minder Jordan Smith to make it 2-0.
“We had some chances,” said Hoffsmith. “But they defended well. We knew that, at times, they were going to have nine players behind the ball.
“We played well offensively all year,” added Hoffsmith. “But in these games, you absolutely must play your best. It’s a little bit of ‘who wants it most?'”
With 9:41 remaining, the Bears’ short passing game struck again to put the outcome to rest. Landon Wenger set up Matthew Seiders for Boyertown’s third goal, from the door step.
“We’re a little fish in a big pond,” said Hoffsmith. “We’re eight players over the AAA classification. We’re playing big schools. But I really enjoyed coaching these great kids. This team is very skilled and it has to say a lot about their club affiliations. They (the clubs) did an awesome job (developing the players), we just tried to put them together.
“Through the season, we’d play a good 40 minutes at a time,” concluded Hoffsmith. “As we got closer to the postseason, we felt we were putting 80 minutes together. In the postseason, we put it together.”
The final tally sheet said that Boyertown outshot Palmyra 7-6. The Bears edged the Cougars 2-1 in the corner kick battle.
|2019-09-05||H||vs||Mechanicsburg Area Senior(3)||W||4-0|
|2019-09-24||H||vs||Central Dauphin East(3)||W||6-1|
|2019-09-28||A||vs||Mechanicsburg Area Senior(3)||W||2-1|
|2019-09-30||A||vs||Central Dauphin East(3)||W||3-0|