The last time it was on its home turf on Saturday, the Cedar Crest girls soccer team saw two-one goal leads vanish, eventually costing it the game in overtime. Once a 3-0 loss against first-place Conestoga Valley followed on Monday, the Falcons were looking to rebound from Saturday’s lesson learned.
While playing with a lead late in the game was still determined to be the Falcons’ Achilles heel, the result this time wasn’t as costly.
Thanks to a resilient effort, along with a big night from its freshman goal keeper in her season debut, Cedar Crest ended a three-game skid, escaping with a 3-3 draw with Section 1 foe Hempfield Wednesday at Earl Boltz Stadium.
And as was the case in Saturday’s loss, Falcons coach Jon Brubaker says fatigue set in late in regulation.
“A reason for that was we fought really hard against a good Conestoga Valley team Monday,” Brubaker said of his team, now 3-5-1 overall and, 2-3-1 in Section One. “But Hempfield is a great team. I was really proud of the girls for hanging in there and earning the tie.”
Once the Black Knights were in front 3-2 with 1:50 left in regulation, it was Tori Roberts who stepped up and tied the game just seven seconds later, heading a bouncing ball in after beating the keeper to it.
And Roberts says it was all determination to get the game tied again.
“We just wanted to get that goal back for everybody because we’re a good team and we needed that,” she said.
Besides Roberts, it was Falcons’ keeper Courtney Wysokowski who stepped up when it mattered most, making 19 saves in her season debut – including back-to-back diving stops with 3:39 left in the first overtime, followed by two big-time saves in the second overtime.
“What was going through my mind was we lost on this field before. I didn’t want that again because this is home turf and I wanted to protect it with everything I had,” Wysokowski said.
Hempfield (5-3-1, 2-3-1) tied and then took the lead thanks to back-to-back penalty kicks from Maddie Schwartz, who finished with a hat trick – which were a result of calls that could’ve been classified as questionable.
“It’s tough to see from our end on the other side of the field,” Brubaker said. “But we can’t control what the officials call, and to be honest, I didn’t get a great look at it.”
The Falcons did jump on the Black Knights early, resulting in a goal from Ariel Jones just under five minutes into the game, off an assist from Sam Gerhart.
Carli Wasson increased the Cedar Crest lead at the 33:07 mark of the second half with a beauty of a direct kick from 25 yards out.
Swartz’s first goal game with 16:35 left in regulation came off a corner from Brianna Byler.
But no matter what the officials call or how each game unfolds, the Falcons know they need to continue to learn how to play with a tight lead late in a game.
“Section 1 is such a battle. So many good teams. It’s like every team you play is a battle,” Brubaker said. “So we’ll take the tie, we’ll move forward, and the only thing we’re worried about right now is getting better. Game after game we need to continue to improve and the results will take care of themselves.”