Late Gettysburg goals end Lansdale Catholic’s season in PIAA AA 1st round

PHILADELPHIA — Better late than never.

That old saying rang true for the Gettysburg Warriors boys soccer team in their win in the opening round of PIAA Class AA state playoffs against Lansdale Catholic on Tuesday evening at the South Philadelphia Supersite.

What was a closely fought, well-played game from both teams turned the way of the Warriors late in the second half, when two goals in less than two minutes broke a scoreless tie and helped Gettysburg to the 2-0 victory.

The winning goal, which came in the 72nd minute, came minutes after Lansdale Catholic lost one of its corners due to injury. With a small roster to begin with, they had nobody to substitute in directly, and the Warriors exploited that.

“We didn’t have anybody to put in his place so we moved a player out of the midfield and put him over there and we just could not get him back,’ said Lansdale head coach Joe Wilson. “They were smart enough to go in through that corner.’

Sophomore forward Matt Yingling was able to chip the ball ahead of two defenders back in the right corner, and then went into a race for the ball with goalkeeper Jack Kane.

Yingling barely edged Kane to the ball, and had a wide-open net to tap it in for the score.

“The center back and keeper had a miscommunication on getting that ball out of there,’ Wilson said. “It looked like the center back didn’t know enough to clear it and the keeper didn’t give him enough instruction to get out of the way.’

One minute and 40 seconds later, the Warriors extended their lead when Yingling’s brother Adam scored after a slick move in close to the net. The two have combined for 34 of the team’s 71 goals this season.

Though the game was primarily dominated by the Warriors offensively, the Crusaders were not bereft of quality scoring chances. They simply failed to execute when the opportunities were presented, especially early in the second half when they dominated possession and had two corner kicks.

“We had nine chances to put it in the net and we didn’t get it done,’ Wilson said. “When you are at this level you have to want to put it in the net and you have to concentrate and stay with the skill level. With those nine opportunities we had we just didn’t do it right.’

Luck was not with the Crusaders either. Several times they made exceptional shots that missed just wide of the net.

Midway through the first period, sophomore Noah Saba directed a header toward the net after a free kick, and it was headed toward an open left corner of the net before going just wide.

Later in the game, Jake Saba chipped a ball ahead of two defenders, but tapped it just wide to the left off the outside of the post.

“There was a couple times that the ball went wide and a couple times we put it right down center and should have pout it right in the net,’ Wilson said. “We just have to finish that.’

Defensively, the Crusaders fared well for a majority of the game against a team that had outscored its opponents 69-14 coming into play. They put pressure on the ball at midfield, and the times that the Warriors were able to penetrate was when they sent long passes down the field and had a forward win the footrace.

“They made some nice runs,’ Wilson said. “They are a long-ball team.’

Ultimately, it was that long-ball style of play that forced the Crusaders to make a mistake and yield the game-winner with less then eight minutes left in regulation.

With the loss, the Crusaders’ season comes to an end. They had qualified for state playoffs after becoming the district champions of the 12th district last week. Gettysburg, the second-place team in the second district, will play on in the state quarterfinals on Saturday.

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