District 5-A boys' soccer: Big 2nd half carries McConnellsburg over Windber
MCCONNELLSBURG >> McConnellsburg's boys soccer team looked to be in trouble at halftime against Windber on Saturday night.
Tied 1-1 after the Ramblers scored the equalizer in the 31st minute, the Spartans appeared to have lost the momentum.
But that changed quickly in the second half. McConnellsburg scored two minutes after the break and put up four goals in the second half to beat Windber 5-1 in the quarterfinals of the District 5 Class A playoffs.
The Spartans (18-1) will face the Berlin-Rockwood winner on Tuesday in the District 5-A semifinals.
"We were definitely a little nervous going into halftime, but we knew we had to step it up and get going right out of the break," Spartan Jake Boehme said.
Two minutes into the second half, Nic Culler took a deep shot for McConnellsburg. A Windber defender knocked it down with his chest at the top of the 18, but Boehme was there and he hit a low shot that beat the keeper to the left side of the goal for a 2-1 lead.
"I saw the loose ball right in front of me, and it set up perfectly for a volley. So I just hit it, and it went in," Boehme said.
The Spartans then put the game away with a flurry of goals midway through the second half.
In the 58th minute, Ethan Barclay sent a ball toward the goal from about 40 yards out. A Windber defender went up to head the ball away, but it skimmed off his head and into the back of the net.
Barclay and Patrick Keefer followed with a pair of goals less than 30 seconds apart in the 66th minute to put the game away. Keefer also scored McConnellsburg's first goal in the sixth minute on an assist from Boehme.
"I think we played a little too much kick and run in the first half, and we went back to playing our game in the second," McConnellsburg coach Cory Houck said. "Then we scored right out of the gate and really grabbed the momentum."
Windber (8-9-1) tied the game at one in the 31st minute on a goal by John McKelvey and had several other dangerous opportunities late in the first half. The Ramblers' Devan Marhefka appeared to be tackled from behind in the box, but there was no penalty called on the play.
"I felt like we really grabbed momentum late in the first half, but they scored that early goal and had us on our heels in the second," Windber coach Brett Hoffman said. "We had a hard time sustaining an attack all night, but it's been that way for us most of the season."
The Spartans controlled possession for most of the game, and goalkeeper Hunter Souders needed just two saves.
"When we play our game, we're tough to beat," Boehme said. "We just have to keep working the rest of these playoffs."
McConnellsburg out-shot Windber 16-8 and had 11 shots on goal. The Spartans also held an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks.
McConnellsburg 5, Windber 1
First half — (M) Patrick Keefer, asst. Jake Boehme, 6th minute, (W) John McKelvey, asst. Joseph Cominsky, 31st.
Second half — (M) Boehme, 42nd, (M) own goal, 58th, (M) Ethan Barclay, 66th, (M) Patrick Keefer, 66th.
Shots — Win 8, McC 16; Shots on goal — Win 3, McC 10; Corners — Win 2, McC 8; Saves — Win 6 (Jonathan Guaetta), McC 2 (Hunter Souders).