CHAMBERSBURG >> On a chilly Saturday morning, the Central Dauphin Rams traveled to Chambersburg for an important Mid Penn Commonwealth Division boys soccer match against the Trojans.
Both teams fought hard in a back-and-forth game that was ultimately won by Central Dauphin 3-2 on a goal by senior James Snyder under six minutes into the first overtime.
The Trojans were coming off of a tough loss to Cumberland Valley, a loss which also eliminated Chambersburg from contention for the division title. The Rams held first place in the division, but needed to come out with a victory in order to sew up their division title over CV.
The Rams (15-2, 12-2 MPC) came out swinging, scoring on a beautiful header by August Axtman off a corner kick by Snyder, in just the third minute of the game.
But six minutes later the Trojans (11-4-2, 8-4-2 MPC) responded, tying the game on an outstanding cross from Rafael Bonilla to the team's leading scorer, Erik Espinoza, his 14th goal of his senior season. Espinoza's goal also brought him within three goals of tying the school record for career goals, currently held by Robert Furfaro, who graduated with 42 goals to his name in 2012.
The Trojans capitalized on another well-placed cross by Rivera in the closing minutes of the first half when Joel Pineda struck the ball in stride for a 2-1 lead.
The second half was a strikingly different story for the Trojans – they came out sluggish, playing most of the half with the ball on their defensive side of the field.
"In the second half we started to string some passes together," Rams coach Gregg Davis said. "We forced them to chase us, since we were chasing them most of the first half and that's not the way we win."
To make matters even worse for Chambersburg, a starting midfielder was awarded his second yellow card of the game. The red card disqualified him for the rest of the game, forcing the Trojans to defend their lead while playing a man down for 21 minutes.
Chambersburg coach Corey Grove said, "We had to play more defensive because at that moment we're not playing to score another goal, we're up by a goal. So we had to try to get guys behind the ball and hope for the best."
Central Dauphin took advantage of their one-man edge and rattled off seven shots on goal in the second half alone, eventually breaking through the Trojan defense on Snyder's second assist of the game. Snyder crossed it to junior Nate Smithers, who put the ball in the back of the net for the equalizer with only 3:18 remaining in the game.
The Trojans had only one shot on goal in the second half, after being forced to pull an offensive player back to defend and play conservatively.
Overtime showed much of the same for Chambersburg as it failed to attempt a shot while managing to hold off the Rams' attacks. But six minutes into the overtime, Snyder dribbled through the defense and hit a shot to give his team the win.
"He's relentless. He's committed to the game and he brings the attitude every game," said Davis, with a smile, "He knows what we need and he gets it."
Chambersburg is scheduled to play Trinity in a makeup game Tuesday, then it will await its District 3 Class AAA pairing.
Central Dauphin 3
Chambersburg 2, OT
Central Dauphin111—3 Chambersburg200—
First half — (CD) August Axtman, asst. James Snyder, 3rd min., (Ch) Erik Espinoza, asst. Rafael Bonilla, 9th, (Ch) Joel Pineda, asst. Bonilla, 38th.
Second half — (CD) Nate Smithers, asst. Snyder, 76th.
Overtime — (CD) Snyder, 86th.
Shots — CD 12, Chbg 7; Corner kicks — CD 8, Chbg 2; Saves — CD 5 (Ryan Schultze), Chbg 9 (Chandler Schur).