LEBANON>> Last season, the Tulpehocken Trojans made it to the District 3 Class A boys’ soccer finals before losing a heartbreaker in overtime.
Now they’ll take a shot at an alternate ending, thank you.
Tulpehocken got two goals from Jaeden Mathias, one in each half, and played shutdown defense to eliminate West Shore Christian 2-0 Tuesday night in the Class A semifinals, held at Earl Boltz Stadium on the campus of Cedar Crest High School.
The Trojans will play Camp Hill in the title match Saturday afternoon at Hersheypark Stadium. The Lions advanced by beating Lancaster Country Day on penalty kicks in Tuesday night’s other semifinal.
Mathias and the Trojans looked more dangerous from the start — spending nearly the entire first half in the offensive third before Mathias broke through in the box, off a shot by teammate Kevin Berry, 12:52 into the contest to put top-seeded Tulpy (21-2-0) in the lead. His attempt nestled in the lower right-hand corner of the net behind WSC keeper Dan Erb.
Mathias’ second goal, coming 16:39 before the end of regulation, was similar, though closer. This ball found him onside, but open, from four yards away. Again, a deft touch gently put the ball behind Erb.
“I slipped through off Kevin’s shot and put it in the corner,” Mathias said of his first goal. “Same thing on the second one. It just popped open for me perfectly. That one was well-placed and it’s one I’m framing.
“It feels great to be going back (to the final) this year after losing last year. We put a lot in during the off-season; did a lot of conditioning and things like that and it paid and now we’re there again.”
WSC never mustered any kind of sustained attack; the Bobcats spent the bulk of the opening 40 just fighting for possession. WSC (17-3-1) did not register a shot on goal until the 61st minute — and it was their only ball sent through into the path of Tulpy keeper Trent Johnson, who handily made the save.
Despite the clean sheet showing, Tulpy head coach Tim Frantz sees things that need to be cleaned up before his squad takes on the potent Lions in Saturday’s championship match. Multiple opportunities fizzled out in the offensive third for the Trojans, especially before the break during a half spent almost entirely in WSC’s defensive end.
“Obviously it’s good to get back, but we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did tonight,” Frantz said. “We just have to be sharper. Our quality is not very good right now.
“We’re not playing balls that we want to play, the quality as far as getting balls into the spaces we want ’em, is not good. But we’ll work on it the next couple of days and hopefully get better at it.”
Tulpehocken outshot WSC 9-1 for the match; each team had one corner.
West Shore Christian – 0 0 — 0
Tulpehocken – 1 1 — 2
T – Jaeden Mathias (Kevin Berry), 27:08
T – Mathias (Berry), 16:39
T 9, WSC 1
T 1, WSC 1
T (Trent Johnson) 1, WSC (Dan Erb) 7
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