NEFFSVILLE – There’s a reason everyone loves the David-versus-Goliath tale. Because in reality, 99 percent of the time, it’s Goliath who wins the fight, by a couple of stones.
Or in this case, soccer goals.
On Tuesday evening at Manheim Township High School, the underdog role didn’t play quite as well for the Annville-Cleona boys’ soccer team, as it was out manned by mighty Conestoga Valley, 4-0 in the semifinals of the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs. The Buckskins notched a couple of goals in a 56-second span late in the first half to turn a precarious 1-0 edge into a three-goal bulge, and then were never seriously headed again.
The Little Dutchmen, the Section Three runners-up who were coming off an emotional 2-1 victory over Elizabethtown on Saturday,. fell to 17-4 on the year. Annville-Cleona was the ninth-seeded Class AA team in the latest District Three power rankings and will begin play in that tournament on Monday, October 26.
Section One champion Conestoga Valley, which received goals from four different sources, moved to 15-2 overall and into Thursday’s Lancaster-Lebanon League championship game opposite Hempfield, a 3-1 winner over Lancaster Mennonite.
“Saturday had no effect on tonight” said Annville-Cleona head coach Ray Kreiser. “It was a huge win for us. It gained us a little confidence. The first half (on Tuesday) was a really entertaining game. We got tired, gave up three marks and that was pretty much it. We made three mistakes and every single one ended up in the back of the net.
“But we got a lot out of these game,” continued Kreiser. “It got us what I call, ‘playoff ready’. It prepares you for the playoffs (districts). Without consistently making the playoffs, it’s hard to understand what they’re all about.”
“I don’t think we were too sore or tired,” said Little Dutchmen senior leader Matt Light. “But mentally we were drained.
“Making history for our school is amazing,” added Light. “But this isn’t really a place for Section Three teams. We tried our best.”
With the first half clock winding down, Annville-Cleona was well within striking distance of the Buckskins, down 1-0.
But off a left-side corner kick, the ball was played into the goal mouth, where a Conestoga Valley attacker headed it off the cross bar. The rebound ricocheted to Nick Delgado on the left post, and he bicycle-kicked it into the net.
Then just 3:14 before the break, an unmarked Connor Whitacre made it 3-0 Conestoga Valley. Off a similarly served corner kick, all that was left for Whitacre do was head into the Little Dutchmen goal.
“The big thing at halftime was just trying to stay positive,” said Kreiser. “You take away those two mistakes and it’s 1-0. I told them, ‘Hey guys, you’re playing with them’. If you look back, the only bad thing about the first half was the score. I said, ‘If we can get them back on their heels, it’s a totally different game in the second half’.
“We stayed in the same alignment we had against Elizabethtown,” Kreiser continued. “At halftime, we pulled out of it, just because we were down 3-0. What hurt us was were those two goals right before halftime. We missed two marks and it killed us.”
“I think they’re a really good team,” said Light of the Buckskins. “They’re really solid all-around. They had five opportunities. We had five opportunities. They put away four. We didn’t put any of our’s away.
“I thought in the first half we played really well,” added Light. “It was three ideal plays. We just lost confidence in the second half, and they put us away.”
Exactly 15:23 into the match, Conestoga Valley assumed a 1-0 lead. Matteo Adiletta scored unassisted for the Buckskins.
“We had two off the crossbar in the first half,” said Kreiser. “If we get that one, I think it’s a different game. I thought the first eight or nine minutes were equally played. or we had a slight edge. The difference was we didn’t finish. But the part that hurt us was that they were a little deeper than us. I think that allowed them to be a little fresher But that’s what you get when you play a Section One team.
“Coming from Section Three and getting balls off the crossbar, that’s pretty good,” Kreiser added. “If you’re able to give them an entertaining game, I’m pleased with the guys’ effort. Sometimes you can’t get playoff ready by playing teams that are worse than you. I thought we surprised them by how well we controlled the ball.’
“Coming in, we were thinking ‘This is a big team, a Section One team, the sixth team in Class AAA (in District Three),'” said Light. ” ‘It’s going to be tough’. We knew it was not going to be easy, but we had to put that in the back of our minds.”
If the outcome was still in doubt, the Buckskins erased all of it 6:41 into the second half. With Little Dutchmen net-minder Koy Alwine out of position, an Annville-Cleona defender made a defensive save, but Buck Dave Gonzalez deposited the rebound inside the left goal post.
“We really wanted to get that one goal,” said Kreiser of the third time Annville-Cleona was shut out this season. “You never like being shut out. You want opportunities. You want to move the ball around. You don’t want to have to sit back and play defense the whole 80 minutes.”
Conestoga Valley took full advantage of its 10-4 margin in corner kicks.
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2015 Annville-Cleona Results
|4:00 PM||W 5-2|
|7:00 PM||W 1-0|
|4:00 PM||L 2-3|
@Lancaster County Christian
|10:00 AM||W 4-1|
|4:00 PM||W 8-1|
|4:00 PM||W 7-0|
York Country Day
|4:00 PM||W 8-0|
|10:00 AM||W 5-0|
|4:00 PM||L 0-3|
|7:00 PM||W 9-0|
|7:00 PM||W 4-3|
|4:00 PM||L 0-5|
|4:00 PM||W 8-1|
|4:00 PM||W 4-0|
|7:00 PM||W 4-2|
|7:00 PM||W 2-1|
|5:30 PM||W 6-0|
West Shore Christian
|7:00 PM||W 2-1|
|10:30 AM||W 2-1|
|5:30 PM||L 0-4|
Class AA Power Rankings
1. Gettysburg, 14-0-0
2. Fleetwood, 15-1-0
3. Lancaster Mennonite, 14-2-0
4. Susquehannock, 12-5-0
5. West Perry, 13-3-0
7. Boiling Springs, 11-3-1
8. Annville-Cleona, 14-3-0
9. East Pennsboro, 11-4-1
10. Hamburg, 13-5-0
11. Berks Catholic, 11-4-1
12. Lampeter-Strasburg, 8-5-3
13. West York, 9-6-1
14. Wyomissing, 11-5-0
15. ELCO, 12-6-0
17. Oley Valley, 8-8-1
18. Bishop McDevitt, 6-9-1