BOYS' SOCCER: Elco outlasts Palmyra in PK-filled affair
MYERSTOWN>> Palmyra keeper Tanner Yaw stopped one penalty kick, later induced another and then made up for the miscue by saving it, too. When Elco's Justin Kimmet came charging with possession in the second half minutes afterward, Yaw again an answer. But as Raiders midfield Mason Bennetch wound up to take aim at the resulting, juicy rebound, there was nothing Yaw could do.
Such is the beautiful game, and such was a thrilling non-league matchup surrounded by a playoff feel Monday night.
The Raiders knocked off the Cougars, 2-1, in a home contest that featured four penalty kicks and back-and-forth play throughout. Elco moved to 5-3 overall on the season and has now having won five of its last six games. Tucker Brown recorded the other Raiders goal on a first-half penalty kick in the 24th minute.
"This was like a playoff game," Elco coach Kirk Keppley said. "There were lulls, they had the play, we had the play, but everyone kept going. And no one was willing to back down. It definitely helped us."
Meanwhile, Palmyra's loss opened up a brutal four-game week for the Cougars, who could now be further hampered by the absence of forward Robby Hanosek.
Hanosek netted Palmyra's lone score on a penalty kick drawn in the 17th minute when his one-man counterattack was ended by a takedown in the box. Three minutes later, the senior scorer was again on the run, only to go down with a hurt right hamstring. He was sidelined for the remainder of the night.
"It's certainly a negative for this match, but in the long run it could be a positive because you can't rely all on one player," Palmyra coach A.J. Hull said of Hanosek's injury. "Hopefully he comes back and others see that as they need to step up because if we have any hopes of making the postseason, we'll need other scoring sources for success."
The Cougars will also need Yaw, who was again outstanding despite being put in multiple tight spots.
"Leadership and being an anchor for us," Hull said of what his keeper brings. "Any team that he's on, he just makes a huge difference."
The night's early difference was a second crack Elco had at Yaw when a couple Cougars illegally crossed into the box after their keeper had knocked away a Kimmet penalty kick, but was unable to corral it and officially end the play. The referee's whistle then blew, allowing Brown to step in and rectify his team's missed opportunity by rifling in a low shot to the left. The county foes remained tied until Bennetech's follow-up in the closing stages, a goal set up by a stellar Kimmet effort.
"Justin Kimmet's just such a hard worker," Keppley said. "Right now he's not scoring like he wants to, but he's certainly doing everything else."
Elco 2, Palmyra 1
First half — P: Robby Hanosek. E: Tucker Brown.
Second half — E: Mason Bennetch.
Assists — E: Justin Kimmet.
Shots on goal — Elco 7, Palmyra 6.
Corners — Elco 5, Palmyra 2.
Goalies — E: Matt Berger (4 saves). P: Tanner Yaw (8).