Central York falls on penalty kicks in District 3 championship
HERSHEY >> It came down to penalty kicks to determine the District 3 Class AAA champion on Saturday night.
Phillip Lynch's PK goal sealed the win for the Lower Dauphin Falcons over the Central York Panthers. The two teams ended regulation and overtime tied 1-1 before Lower Dauphin won the penalty-kick round 4-2.
The victory locked up the Falcons' first boys district championship in boys' soccer.
After the Panthers and Falcons both made their opening shots, Pierrce Miller hit the crossbar on Central's next chance. That opened up an opportunity for Jackson Bercher to move his squad ahead 2-1 in PKs. Central tied it, but Nick Iagnemma and Lynch buried their shots for Lower Dauphin.
"(Central York) battled. You never like to see PKs at the end of a game to decide a huge game like that," Central York head coach Frank Lenno said. "I'm proud of my boys. They battled, but we just couldn't burry that one ball. We had some chances in the second half. We have to move forward here."
He added: "We're not happy about the result, but we have to move on."
The Panthers opened the scoring nearly four minutes into the first half. Igor Gomes was able to score off Central's first corner kick of the game to give them a 1-0 lead. Central threatened again seconds later, but Isaiah Pettis was able to make the stop.
Central was able to get another corner with 27:32 remaining in the half and it again went dangerously into the penalty area, which forced a Falcons' defender to have to make a stop to keep it a one-goal game.
The Falcons threatened with just under 13 minutes to play in the first half, but a free kick barely went out of reach of a charging attacker. Another chance three minutes later came close, but it wasn't until 3:08 that Lower Dauphin finally got on the scoreboard.
Mathew Perri sent a corner kick into the box and Jackson Becher was able to get his leg into the air to redirect the shot into the net, tying the game 1-1.
The second half saw Lower Dauphin continue their offensive attack on Central. The Falcons had two golden chances early on. Mathew Canis went streaking down the nearside of the field and sent a cross into the penalty area. However, a Panthers defender was able to head the ball out to safety. A free kick later in the half was tipped by Central keeper Trevor Holderegger and hit the crossbar to stay out.
Scoring opportunities at the end of the half for both squads yielded no results and forced the game to overtime.
For the second year in a row, Lower Dauphin ended the championship hopes of Central York. Last season the Falcons knocked the Panthers out of the District 3 tournament in the same fashion, defeating them in PKs in the semifinals.
Lenno said there was no extra disappointment because of the identical outcomes, acknowledging the strengths of the Lower Dauphin squad.
"They have a good keeper, they're OK with going to penalties. Nobody likes to lose no matter what," he said.
The Panthers will move on to the state tournament to face Fox Chapel on Tuesday at a time and place to be determined. The Panthers' game plan won't change in any way heading into the tournament, Lenno said.
"Same thing we do," Lenno said. "We're pretty dangerous. (Lower Dauphin is) a really good team, so I don't think that every – at least in the first and second round – are going to be like that. We burry a ball early, like we did, and then we get another one."
Central York 1, Lower Dauphin 1
(Lower Dauphin wins on PKs, 4-2)
Central York1000-1Lower Dauphin1000-1
First Half - 1. CY, Igor Gomes, 36:23. 2. Jackson Becher (Mathew Perri), 3:08.
Shots on goal - CY 7, LD 7; Corners - CY 3, LD 3; Goalies - CY, Trevor Holderegger (5 saves). LD, Isaiah Pettis (6 saves).
Previous winners of the District 3 Class AAA boys' soccer title:
2015: Lower Dauphin
2013: Conestoga Valley
2011: Central Dauphin
2009: Central Dauphin
2008: Exeter Township
2007: Manheim Township
The Central York boys' soccer team will take the field in the first round of the 2015 PIAA Class AAA boys' soccer championship against Fox Chapel. The game is scheduled for Tuesday, and the time and location of the contest is to be determined.