Late goals end Gettysburg's season
The Warriors allowed two goals in the game's final eight minutes
Midway through Gettysburg's PIAA Class AA boys' soccer quarterfinal game against Northwestern Lehigh, Warriors head coach Scott Hancock thought the only way his team would allow a goal was if they made a mistake.
Unfortunately for Hancock and the Warriors, that mistake came with less than eight minutes to play in a scoreless tie.
With the ball in Northwestern Lehigh's end, the Tigers Andrew Goodolf booted it over the heads of the few Gettysburg players not playing up. The ball found its way onto the foot of Jonathan Haaf, who caught goalie Yanni Tassou out of position and lifted a shot over his head to give the Tigers the lead with 7:40 to play.
Two minutes later, Keegan Coffield would add another goal to give the Tigers an eventual 2-0 win that ended the Warriors' season.
"They (Northwestern Lehigh) did not, in my mind, look dangerous at any point until we made a mistake," Hancock said. "I thought we outplayed them in the first half and the second half. We did have maybe a few less chances in the second half, but we had some very good chances then."
Gettysburg finishes the year with a 23-2 record. Although the season included a 22-0 start and the school's first YAIAA tournament title, it was hard for both the coaches and players to feel anything but disappointment after Saturday's contest.
According to Hancock, the toughest part was knowing in his mind that the Warriors were good enough to win a state title.
"Our goal was from last November until now was to win the state championship because we knew they had the potential," Hancock said. "I'm not going to pay any attention to what happens (in the tournament) after this because they were the best team in the state in my mind."
On Saturday, the Warriors certainly looked like the better team most of the afternoon, generating more chances than the Tigers and outnumbering them in corners, 6-0.
But with Northwestern Lehigh playing conservatively and keeping its defense pulled back, the Warriors struggled to get quality shots on net. One of their best chances came with 12 minutes to play when senior captain Drew Riggle maneuvered through the defense but shot wide right of the net.
Finally, the Tigers' strategy of waiting for a counter chance paid off when Haaf managed to outrun the Gettysburg defenders for the ball that led to his goal.
"(Haaf) is really fast up top, he's a good player, and it happens I guess," Riggle said. "Nobody to blame really. I thought we could get (a goal). We played pretty well its just sometimes soccer doesn't work out the way you want it to."
As disappointing as the loss was, nobody on the Warriors sideline believed the season was anything but a success.
Riggle, who struggled to stay composed as he spoke, said that he'll always remember the season as the most fun he's ever had playing soccer.
"It's awesome being able to play with your best friends and win all those games," Riggle said. "The coaches love us, and we love them. We never won 19 in a row, never won a conference championship, and we did all those things this year. We were a little unfortunate in two games, but it was still a great season."
Northwestern Lehigh 2, Gettysburg 0
Gettysburg_ 0_ 0_ — _0
Northwestern Lehigh_ 0_ 2_ — _2
Second Half — 1. Jonathan Haaf, 7:40. 2. Keegan Coffield, 5:20.
Shots on goal — NWL, 3. Get, 3
Corners — NWL, 0. Get, 6.
Goalies — Get, Yanni Tassou (1), NWL, Kyle Bellhorn (3)