York, PA -
Luca Grippi should be able to concentrate a little better today on his classes at York Catholic. Wednesday was a bit of a challenge.
The sophomore goalkeeper entered the Irish's YAIAA Division III boys' soccer showdown with Biglerville well on his mind. Three weeks ago, they played to a draw. Neither had yet to lose a game in the division.
Oh, and giving up that tying goal in the first matchup bothered him just a bit.
"By mid-seventh period, it just hit me," Grippi said after York Catholic's 2-1 win against the Canners. "I could barely focus on my schoolwork. I was so nervous. I just wanted to get to this game and play my best."
York Catholic (9-1-2, 7-0-2) still must win today against visiting Littlestown to clinch the Division III title. Biglerville (9-5-1, 6-1-1) still has two more division games left. If the Canners win both of those games, they could leapfrog York Catholic if the Irish lose today.
The Canners play host to Bermudian Springs today and travel to Delone Catholic on Oct. 11.
Wednesday's game, however, was originally scheduled for Tuesday but pushed back because of rain. York Catholic coach Milner Sosa said the day off might have helped his team, citing a laboring game Monday against Bermudian Springs and that he has only 11 full-time varsity members.
"This means everything to us," said York Catholic's Brian Riley, who scored both goals to get the win.
Similar to their 1-1 draw in Biglerville, the Irish took the lead in the first half. This time, though, they added an extra score on Riley's second goal with 24 minutes, 37 seconds left in the second half.
The second goal proved to be crucial, as Biglerville's Harley Weigle cut the lead back to one just 36 seconds later.
"That's the way it's gone all season," Sosa said. "We score and then, for some reason, we relax and we always gave up a goal within two minutes."
With the Canners pressing -- getting five of their eight shots on goal in the second half -- Grippi did his best to not let their first encounter repeat itself. Near the four-minute mark, the Canners struck. Problem was, they struck the right side of the net on the outside. Even Biglerville coach Jebb Nelson and the players on his sideline thought the score was tied until an official confirmed the shot attempt was wide.
Moments later, Grippi punched a ball over the goal to prevent another tying attempt.
Finally, with the clock winding down and Biglerville awarded a corner kick, Grippi deflected the last of his seven saves. One more deflection by a defender after Grippi's effort ended the threat and allowed York Catholic to celebrate.
"Ever since the last tie," Riley said, "we wanted to get them back."
YORK CATHOLIC 2, BIGLERVILLE 1
Biglerville -- 0 1 -- 1
York Catholic -- 1 1 -- 2
First Half -- 1. YC, Brian Riley (Chris Sosa), 13:00.
Second Half -- 2. YC, Riley (Sosa), 24:01; 3. Big, Harley Weigle (Mario Ortega), 24:01.
Shots On Goal -- Big 8, YC 9.
Corners -- Big 7, YC 6.
Goalies -- Big, Gerry Lua (7 saves); YC, Luca Grippi (7).