SPRINGFIELD >> It has been 10 years since the Dock Mennonite boys soccer team reached the state playoffs.
In their first state playoff game since the 2009 1A state championship game, the District One champion Pioneers (18-4) dominated District 12 champion Devon Prep 4-0 at La Salle College High School on Tuesday afternoon.
The Pioneers tried to connect on several long balls to start the game but nothing would come out of that for the first 20 minutes.
That was until a long kick bounced off the Devon Prep goalkeeper, which gave JD Bennett the first goal of the day.
“It was a great moment,” said Bennett. “It feels good to bring it back here to states. We still got a long road ahead, but it’s great to be back here after 10 years.”
Things only got better for the Pioneers as Braden Landis scored a goal five minutes later in the 25th minute to have a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Dock Mennonite came out firing several shots from long and short distance to start the second half and the Pioneers increased their lead to 3-0 with a goal from Aiden Kelly in the 55th minute.
Even though the Pioneers were up 3-0 with 10 minutes to go in the game, it was not enough in the state playoff game for them.
Therefore, Nathan Smeland made on a long shot 20 yards out of the net with the ball hitting the top corner to seal a 4-0 victory.
With Devon Prep down 4-0, the Tide sent in their second team in hopes of preventing the shutout.
The fresh Tide team has a great chance to score with two minutes left in the game with a corner kick that went right in front of the net.
However, Pioneer goalkeeper Reynaldo Ramos made a spectacular save to secure the shutout victory.
“It was a team effort,” said Ramos. “I feel like we’re showing why we are here. I was surprised with the great corner they had at the end but I was able to get there and save it.”
Dock Mennonite head coach Matt Moyer was thrilled for his team’s first state performance against a tough Devon Prep squad.
“For the first round of states, we played pretty well,” said Moyer. “For the first time playing in states, the kids are pretty nervous going into it, so it’s nice to get that first win under your belt and keep moving on.”
“We have been trying to balance things out,” added Moyer. “I’m excited when different kids get on the score line and they are a great team. They don’t care who gets on the score line but they’re just happy for guys who are productive and getting the job done.”
The Dock Mennonite Pioneers now advance to the PIAA 1A state quarterfinals on Saturday when they take on either District 3 champion Halifax or District 4 first runner up East Juniata at a time and location to be determined.
Dock Mennonite 4, Devon Prep 0
Devon Prep 0 0 — 0
Dock Mennonite 2 2 — 4
DM – JD Bennett 20th minute
DM – Braden Landis 25th minute
DM – Aiden Kelly 55th minute
DM – Nathan Smeland 70th minute