Central York's Zak Kakos discusses how he came up with the play that led to the Panthers' only goal in a 1-0 win over Susquehannock in the YAIAA semifinals Tuesday. Matt Allibone
Time was ticking down, but Central York's Zak Kakos had an idea.
It was the middle of the second half of Tuesday's YAIAA boys' soccer semifinal between the Panthers and Susquehannock, and the game remained scoreless. After watching how defenses played the Panthers all season, Kakos told head coach Frank Lenno he was sure he could position himself to knock in a cross from Pierrce Miller.
The plan worked to perfection.
Entering the game at striker, Kakos found a gap in the Warriors defense near the top of the box and drilled a pass from Miller past Aaron Bilbie with 11:47 to play. The goal lifted the Panthers to a 1-0 victory at Northeastern High School. The win provided Central with a berth in the league title game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Gettysburg at Red Lion. The championship is a rematch of last year's final.
"All season I had seen Pierrce get to the (end line), put a ball across to the top of the box where no one has been standing," Kakos said. "I had seen it so many times I knew what was going to happen."
Lenno praised Kakos for having the intuition and initiative to come up with the idea and approach him about it. He said he didn't hesitate to give Kakos the opportunity.
"He is the one who said, 'Coach, I see this, I need to get in this position,'" Lenno said. "I told him to go for it."
The Warriors kept the pressure on for the remainder of the contest, but Central York's defense and goalie Cameron Stoll never let them get on the scoreboard. Stoll finished with seven saves and made several key ones in the second half.
Lenno downplayed any talk of revenge in the final, where Gettysburg won, 1-0, last season.
"I think it's more of a competition with the previous teams that we've had than who we play," Lenno said. "We've got a lot of alumni here tonight, and they want to impress those guys. Honestly, we are exhausted but we're going to play. They're excited."
Gettysburg 2, Dallastown 0
Gettysburg junior keeper Yanni Tassou made numerous acrobatic saves, and the Warriors scored during each half to defeat Dallastown, 2-0, in a YAIAA tournament semifinal at Alumni Field in York Springs.
The victory sets up the Warriors with a chance to capture back-to-back league tournament championships when they face Central York.
"We're pretty excited to get to play Central York again," Gettysburg senior Matt Yingling said. "It will be a huge challenge for us. Last year was a great match and hopefully this one is just as good."
Tassou charged off his line to fend off a few challenges. He was knocked on his backside on a powerful short-range ripper, and he leaped to deflect a ball off the crossbar that forced him to scramble to his feet and recover in time to make another tough save. In all, he saved nine shots.
"Yanni has learned how to focus his energy and play much more under control this season," Gettysburg co-head coach Scott Hancock said. "He stays calm and trusts his talents."
Tassou said of his success in net, "Dallastown is a quick team and I tried to put pressure on their strikers when they made a run. I can come out to challenge because I trust my defenders to have my back."
Yingling scored the match's first goal, his 21st of the season, off an assist from Fernando Carrillo with 31:42 left in the opening half. Carrillo played a through ball that Yingling gathered in, he took a couple touches and left go of a rip from 15 yards out in the center of the pitch that found the right side of the net.
"I really didn't panic when they scored early," Dallastown head coach Matt Zimmerman said. "I felt that we had plenty of time to comeback."
Dallastown (10-6-2) applied significant pressure for the rest of the match but could never solve Tassou and the rest of the Warriors defense.
Gettysburg (15-2-1) scored the dagger when Drew Wivell netted a beauty of a goal from the left corner of the box at the 12:31 mark of the second half. Wivell stepped over the ball, faked a shot and then popped a shot just over the outstretched arms of Dallastown keeper A.J. Lentz into the top right corner of the net.
"We dominated the second half and just couldn't stick one," Zimmerman said.
Hancock said, "It felt like there were long stretches of play where they had us on our heels and we were just trying to hold on."