BOYS' SOCCER: Matt Light's hat trick leads Annville-Cleona to 4-3 win at Elco
MYERSTOWN>> There was a sense of focus and ferocity from Little Dutchmen senior Matt Light Wednesday night. And it took little time to notice, as Light contributed the opening goal and then two more in a 29-second span early in the second half to complete a hat trick.
The Annville-Cleona boys' soccer team (9-2, 6-2 Section Three) narrowly escaped Myerstown with a 4-3 road victory, following an onslaught of second-half Elco scoring chances. While play was stressful for the road club, the Little Dutchmen realized their game plan and left with their second win over the Raiders (7-5, 5-3) this season.
Annville-Cleona coach Ray Kreiser confessed his team was tiring substantially down the stretch, but the Little Dutchmen were nonetheless able to pull into second place in Section Three, passing Elco.
"This team is hard to beat," Kreiser said. "To do it twice in one year when both teams are really good, this is huge for us."
Light wasn't the only player who made an impact on the scoresheet for A-C. Javier Gonzalez Sanchez netted the game-winner in the 54th minute, finding a loose ball around the net and potting it past Elco goalie Matt Berger (two saves).
Light had opened the scoring not four minutes into the game after a mishap from Berger, who challenged a 50-50 ball in front of the net a tad too late. His two second-half goals came at 44:54 and 45:23, with his second marker of the game coming on a 25-yard strike.
"I think this was probably the biggest game he's had against us," Elco coach Kirk Keppley said of Light. "He just came up big for them and got the job done like he has in the past."
Justin Kimmet netted two goals for the Raiders, first tying the game at one, before later bringing Elco to the final 4-3 margin at 7:33 left. Evan Gettler also scored for the Raiders, knotting the score at two 1:26 into the second half.
The Little Dutchmen improved to 7-1 over their past eight games, led by their dynamic offense. Coming into Wednesday, Annville-Cleona had outscored opponents 29-3 over its past five games, including four shutouts. Tired legs helped Elco get back into the game via Kimmet's late goal, but the red and white held on.
"We started getting a little tired and I knew that," Kreiser said. "We put six guys back to solidify (our defense), and we lost some guys due to cramps. That's part of the reason we dropped an extra guy back."
Elco returns to the pitch Friday at Pequea Valley, currently in third place in Section Three, one game behind the Little Dutchmen.
"Things were going pretty well until Monday," said Keppley. "We have to get things back on track in the remaining six games."
Annville-Cleona 4, Elco 3
Goals — A-C: Matt Light 3, Javier Gonzalez Sanchez. E: Justin Kimmet 2, Evan Gettler.
Assists — A-C: None. E: Austin Eldridge, Gettler.
Shots on goal — A-C 10, E 15.
Corners — A-C 4, E 6.
Goalies — A-C: Koy Alwine (7). E: Matt Berger (6 saves).