Girls' soccer: Conestoga Valley edges Cocalico, 1-0 in district opener
It wasn't the most conventional way to score a game-winning goal but don't think for a second that bothers Conestoga Valley sophomore defender Alexis Spencer.
With 7:47 remaining in the first half, Spencer struck a free kick from roughly 35 yards out that landed perfectly over the outstretched arms of Cocalico goalkeeper Emily White to tally what would ultimately be the game-winning goal in a 1-0 contest.
"As soon as I kicked it, I thought I shanked it," Spencer said. "But then I looked over and it went in the goal and I was really excited. Then I saw everyone running at me so it was just really exciting."
Spencer's goal pushes the Buckskins into the second round of the District 3 Class AAA playoffs, something the Conestoga Valley seniors have never experienced.
"It's just really exciting because none of the seniors have won a district game yet so it's just exciting to win one for them," Spencer said.
Even Spencer's coach had to admit that he would not have expected the game-winner to occur in such a fashion.
"If you told me Alexis was going to score the winning goal off of a free kick, I would have called you crazy," Buckskins coach Keith Nagley said. "It was well taken, well struck and just had a perfect angle coming in."
It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for the Buckskins however. The team had a scare before the second half started when forward Gianna Yurchak rolled her ankle in the halftime warmups that caused her to miss some game time early in the half.
"We told them to come out and run a little bit to get warm and she twisted her ankle. She'll be fine," Nagley said. "I think she was more scared than hurt."
In addition to Yurchak's absence, the Buckskins also had to contain Cocalico's over-the-top game, which sent runners towards the net at a consistent pace.
"It's very scary because they play long balls and then they start running in and it's just nerve-racking because we weren't sure what was going to happen," Spencer said.
With the win, the no. 7 Buckskins will face another familiar foe in the district quarterfinals when they meet up with Cedar Crest, a fellow Section One team that CV has defeated twice so far this season.
"We were hoping to play somebody different in the playoffs and we pull Cocalico in the first round and we pull Cedar Crest in the second round, someone we've already played twice," Nagley said. "They're tough, they have a lot of speed on the outside and we have to prepare."
The Buckskins and Falcons will meet for round three at noon on Saturday at Penn Manor's Comet Field.
As for Cocalico, they finish their season with a respectable 13-4-2 record.
"I'm really proud of this group. They competed really well game in and game out," Eagles coach Dan Hogan said. "Having that many seniors on the team and now losing them is going to be a big adjustment for the team next year but it's been a good season. These girls have been excellent and have done everything they've needed to do. In a game like this, it's one little break that changes it."