District 5 Class A boys' soccer: Fannett-Metal can't overcome 3-0 deficit to North Star
LOYSBURG >> Halftime came at a very good time for Fannett-Metal's boys soccer team Tuesday night.
The Tigers were trailing by three goals against North Star in a District 5 Class A semifinal.
After the break, Fannett-Metal looked like a whole new squad. But it didn't matter. The Cougars held off a Tiger rally, added an insurance goal and captured a 4-3 victory.
"They're a good team, so I expected them to battle to the end," North Star coach Chad Duryea said. "(In the second half), it got to being more of their style; they were being direct, and we were trying to be direct. I thought we needed to settle and get back to playing a possession-style game."
North Star (11-5-2) came into the game as just the sixth seed, but it didn't matter. The Cougars scored early and often to take a 3-0 lead into halftime. Matt Romesberg scored in the eighth minute of play and assisted on two more scores in the first half.
Romesberg, a sophomore, also put the final nail in Fannett-Metal's coffin with a fine individual effort in the 68th minute.
"I saw Anthony (Blank) back on the backline, and I saw the space in front of me," Romesberg said. "He sent it in to me, and I knew if I got in that space, I could do a cut back. I realized I had even more space, so I just dribbled it in and found the near post."
Although the Tigers (16-4) faced a big deficit at halftime, they didn't look deterred. Fannett-Metal made some adjustments and starting using four forwards on the front line. Lucas Wingert moved to midfield, and Layton Hoffmann played forward.
"We also made some adjustments by shifting our center guys out to the wings and made a big defensive change," F-M coach Greg Best said. "We seemed to get more possession up front there, and we were winning 50-50 balls. I thought we controlled the second half."
Mikell McGee and Hoffmann certainly did their best to give the Tigers a push. Shortly after the second half began, Hoffmann sent a cross in front to McGee, who gently tapped it in for F-M's first score. Twenty-five seconds later, the two switched roles as Hoffmann scored with an assist from McGee.
"It was difficult to defend them at first because we didn't know what they were like," Tiger senior Chris Rosenberry said. "Once we settled in, it wasn't that bad. Once we go that first goal, it boosted our self-confidence in the whole thing, and we thought we were going to get it." But overcoming a first half in which Best said the Tigers looked "timid" proved too difficult.
"We just came out very timid, and I'm really not sure why," Best said. "I think that's the question I'll be asking myself. They came at us in the first half. They really brought it to us with all their speed and skill, and we just looked flat."
McGee had an unassisted goal with 40 seconds left in the game, but it was too little, too late.
"Too bad there isn't 20 more minutes left on the clock," Best said. "But that's the game of soccer. I'm very glad my guys didn't quit because they easily could've."
North Star 4 Fannett-Metal 3
First half — (NS) Matt Romesberg, asst. Anthony Blank, 8th min., (NS) Blank, asst. Romesberg, 20th, (NS) Noah Petronick, asst. Romesberg, 33rd.
Second half — (FM) Mikell McGee, asst. Layton Hoffmann, 47th, (FM) Hoffmann, asst. McGee, 48th, (NS) Romesberg, asst. Blank, 68th, (FM) McGee, 80th.
Shots — NS 15, FM 8; Shots on goal — NS 10, FM 8; Corner kicks — NS 3, FM 2; Saves — NS 5 (Dillion Charlton), FM 6 (Jamie Birgfeld).