MANHEIM – Elizabethtown kept its unbeaten season going with a 1-0 win over Conestoga Valley in the Lancaster-Lebanon League girls' soccer semifinals on Tuesday night at Manheim Central.
The Bears (20-0) will face Manheim Twp. in the championship game at 5 p.m. Thursday at Warwick.
Overtime was looking probable when Jaime Marsico was tackled in the box, giving Elizabethtown a penalty kick. Talia Grynkewicz took the kick, putting it almost perfectly into the top right corner with 5:47 left for the only goal of the game.
“I was looking anywhere to the right,” Grynkewicz said of the goal, her 25thof the season. “I didn't pick top shelf.”
Grynkewicz, who said that she had been struggling with her penalty kicks in practice, had been on the bench a few minutes before the penalty kick to regain mental focus after a couple of scoring chances had gone awry.
“The coaches pulled me out to tell me everything was going to be all right,” Grynkewicz said.
Conestoga Valley (17-2) had some attack time after the penalty kick, and the Buckskins' best chance was a look from the top of the box by Gabriella Barone after a free kick deflected back to her. The attempt was wide left.
“Everything has got to come to a logical conclusion,” Conestoga Valley head coach Keith Nagley said. “To me, that's not a logical conclusion, to settle it on a penalty kick with five minutes to go. I want it settled on the field of play. Technically, that is on the field of play, but I mean in the flow of play.”
Elizabethtown had the best chances in the opening 20 minutes of a physical second half. Grynkewicz played a pass past Buckskin goalie Lauren Yoder, who was coming out of the net, but the ball trickled wide right and Grynkewicz couldn't catch up to it before it trickled out of play. Later in the half, a corner for the Bears resulted in a dangerous header that Yoder scooped up off the ground. Then, at the very middle point of the half, Grynkewicz received a pass 30 yards from the goal, dribbled to the top of the box and released a shot that sailed high.
The Buckskins' best chance came with 12 minutes remaining, when Amico Leah set up Barone with a backward pass to the top of the box, but Barone was not able to get her kick off cleanly.
The scoreless first half did feature several scoring opportunities, with Conestoga Valley getting four shots on goal in the first 12 minutes.
Elizabethtown goalie Carlee Reed made six saves. The Bears have allowed only four goals this season.
Conestoga Valley netminder Lauren Yoder made five stops.
The Bears had six shots on goal and two corners, while the Buckskins had six shots and four corners.