Blake Geisler nets overtime winner for Wissahickon

CHELTENHAM >> Blake Geisler didn’t think he’d get the opportunity to score on the play that gave Wissahickon High a 2-1 overtime victory over host Cheltenham Tuesday afternoon.

“One of my teammates hit it up to me,” Geisler said, “but their defenders got to it first.”

But when the Panthers defenders and goaltender Derek Zagragen crossed signals, Geisler, who had kept moving up on the play, got his chance.

It wasn’t a bullet in the top corner, but Geisler got enough of the ball to slide it through and into the net.

And when he did, the Trojans were still in the crowded mix atop the Suburban One League American Conference.

“It was us missing our opportunities,” said Cheltenham head coach Chuck Gesing, as his side was absorbing the loss. “We were trying to get our (forwards) behind their defense, but their keeper was coming out and taking that away.”

The Trojans got off to a fast start, with Rohan Bhatia scoring off a free kick to put the visitors in front.

Cheltenham huffed and puffed, but never could get any sustained attack until the midway point of the first half when Jake Rucket’s back-heel flick off a Josh Ryan cross knotted the score.

That score held up through the remainder of the first half, but by the break Wissahickon head coach Stuart Malcolm was berating the officials for fouls he claimed weren’t being called.

“It was a rough game,” agreed Gesing, “but every game in the American Conference is physical.

“I didn’t see this one as being any more physical than any other game.”

One of the non-calls that most disturbed Malcolm was one against Trojans striker Darien Williams, which kept the senior glued to the bench for the entire second half.

Malcolm left the field almost immediately after the match was over and was unavailable for comment.

The second half brought more of the same, although neither side created a quality scoring chance. The closest was by the Panthers, who watched Noah Michel, with Wissahickon keeper Brad Schwartz down, fire the ball over the crossbar.

The Panthers did have the better of the play in the second half and seemed to have whatever momentum there was heading into overtime.

But Geisler made it disappear in a matter of minutes.

“The wet field really prevented us from doing what we wanted to do,” Geisler said, “so we really had to work hard for second and third balls.

“And we came out with the win.”

A win that kept the Trojans in that traffic jam atop the SOL American standings.

As for the Panthers, they, too, have a hard road ahead.

“We have Upper Merion and Pennridge coming up,” Gesing said, “and the Pennridge game is real important for rankings.

“Then we have Upper Dublin on turf, and that’s going to be difficult keeping up with them, a small, fast club, on turf.”

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