Highlights of Cedar Crest girls soccer's 5-2 loss at Conestoga Valley in the first round of the District 3 Class 4A tournament. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com
LANCASTER – Even though it had suffered two losses during the regular season, Cedar Crest knew it could compete with a tough Conestoga Valley team.
And usually playing the underdog role requires a fast start to put yourself in position for the upset.
The Falcons did just that – but in setting up a tale of two halves, they were in for a rude awakening.
After a lackluster first 40 minutes from the Buckskins, they erupted for a five-goal second half en route to a 5-2 win Tuesday in the first round of the District 3 Class 4A playoffs Monday at Conestoga Valley High School.
CV stunned Cedar Crest by taking a 2-1 lead early in the second half in just a 1:12 span, followed by another set of two goals in just over a five-minute span.
And after the Buckskins sealed the game, the Falcons did respond with another goal of their own late.
“I certainly think we were surprised they scored two goals that quick. I don’t think our confidence waivered. I think it was one of those things where a great team created two or three good scoring chances in a row and they finished them,” Cedar Crest coach Jon Brubaker said. “It was just unfortunate for us. I felt like we played until the end and even got a goal late, so I was proud of us for that.”
Gianna Yurchak and Emma Weirich led CV with two goals each. Weirich also had an assist.
Weirich tied it at 1-1 in the 46th minute, followed by her assist on Yurchak’s first goal. Weirich then scored her second goal in the 54th minute, followed by a tally from Haley Peachey.
Yurchak tallied her second of the night in the 66th minute. Sam Gerhart had the late Falcons goal in the 73rd minute.
The first half was a different story for Cedar Crest, however, finding itself with a 1-0 halftime lead, thanks to the connection of two seniors in what ended up being their final game. Ariel Jones’ goal in the 19th minute came off a perfect through ball from Carli Wasson.
Jones said, “I think we were just trying to get everyone downfield, so we were pushing the ball up. When I had it close to the sideline around the 18, I was just trying to hold it so we could get more people up. When I passed it to Carli, I realized the back line was pretty flat, I made a run, and she made a great pass.”
In the waning minutes of the half however, CV began to find its rhythm, generating chance after chance, and Cedar Crest barely survived.
And Brubaker definitely thinks that played a part in changing the complexion of the game.
“The momentum started to change 10 minutes until the end of the half and they started generating the chances they normally do. We did feel like we could withstand it a little better than we ended up doing. I am surprised we gave up that many goals. We’ve never done that before,” Brubaker said. “But CV’s a great team. You have to tip your hat to them - it was a fantastic second half by CV, the best I’ve seen them play.”
But even in the midst of a tough ending to the season, Brubaker is still pleased with the direction his team’s heading – having made the district playoffs a sixth straight season.
“It’s a great accomplishment by our senior group to qualify for districts every year they’ve been here. When you make it, it’s always tough, and this year we ran into a team we had seen two times before and they're a fantastic group,” he said. “It gives us a little confidence going into next year knowing when we do play our best soccer, we can play with some of the best schools in the district.”
The Buckskins take on either Cumberland Valley or Ephrata in Saturday’s quarterfinals.