For the 10 seniors and their Susquehannock teammates, their stunned expressions told the entire story.
Shortly after 10 p.m. on a rainy Monday night, their season and for some, their careers, came to an abrupt end.
After a scoreless regulation and two scoreless overtime periods, visiting ELCO, the No. 15 seed, shocked the second-seeded Warriors, 5-4, in penalty kicks in the round of 16 of the District 3-AA boys’ soccer playoffs. The Raiders (13-6-1), who beat Lampeter-Strasburg, 3-2, in overtime in a preliminary-round match, will move on to play Pequea Valley in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Susquehannock’s season comes to an end at 14-6.
“We won a couple of games last year with PKs so I guess it’s just things evening out,” said an obviously disappointed Warriors’ coach Brett Maxwell. “The ball just didn’t bounce our way. We created some opportunities, but they guarded well and their goalie made a couple of nice saves.”
The Warriors got first crack in the penalty kicks, but senior Alex Rebich’s attempt deflected off goalie Noah Kline before hitting the right post and bouncing away. That was the edge ELCO needed. Kline gave the Raiders a 1-0 advantage on their first penalty kick.
Susquehannock sophomore Colton Mumley made it 1-1, but Austin Smith quickly gave ELCO its lead back at 2-1. The Warriors’ Duncan Mitchell then made it 2-2, but Bradley Gardner made it 3-2 ELCO on its next try. It was deadlocked at 3-3 when Andrew Renzi scored for the Warriors, but you guessed it, ELCO went up 4-3 on Zachary Swanger’s shot. Junior Luke Thomas evened it up at 4-4, but senior Zachary Smitler scored the game-winner with a shot to the upper left-hand corner of the net that goalie Aaron Bilbie couldn’t reach.
That set off a wild celebration on ELCO’s side of the field and guaranteed their hour and 40-minute ride home from Glen Rock would be a joyous one.
“Twenty years ago, when I was at State College, I was involved in a game like this,” ELCO coach Kirk Keppley. “It’s a horrible situation for everyone, but you need to have a winner so that’s just the way it is. Obviously, they (Susquehannock) being the No. 2 seed, you knew they were going to be good. But I’m not sure we’re really a No. 15 seed either. We just wanted to play good defense and try to keep them in check.”
The Warriors had their chances in regulation, but couldn’t put the ball in the net.
“We created some opportunities,” Maxwell said. “We just couldn’t finish, and I think maybe a little pressure was building. I felt like we had the upper hand most of the way, but they got a little momentum going and they defended well.”
Last year, Susquehannock made it to the District 3 semifinals before losing to Oley Valley, 1-0, in double overtime. Two years ago, the Warriors got bounced in the first round of districts, as was the case Monday night.
“We played hard. I thought we had a good effort,” Maxwell added. “It was just one of those nights.”
OTHER DISTRICT 3-AA BOYS’ SOCCER
West York 2, Middletown 0: At West York, the Bulldogs moved on behind goals from Josh May and Kenton Meckley. Brett Strickler and Jack Seifarth had assists. Darian McCauley made 13 saves to record the shutout in goal. No. 6 seed West York improved to 13-5-1, while No. 11 seed Middletown finished at 12-7. The Bulldogs will now meet York-Adams Division II rival Gettysburg in Thursday’s quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. at Spring Grove.. Gettysburg downed Boiling Springs on Monday, 4-0. Gettysburg finished second in Division II at 10-2, while West York was 9-3.
Gettysburg 4, Boiling Springs 0: At Gettysburg, the Warriors rolled behind four goals from Adam Yingling. Jonah Waldkoenig, Matt Yingling and Drew Wivell had assists. No. 3 seed Gettysburg improved to 15-4, while No. 14 seed Boiling Springs fell to 7-7-3. Gettysburg will now face West York in Thursday’s quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. at Spring Grove. West York blanked Middletown on Monday, 2-0.
Fleetwood 4, York Suburban 1: At Fleetwood, the Trojans’ season came to a close. Andrei Kin scored for Suburban, off an assist from Michael Peck. Evan Huber had seven saves for No. 12 seed Suburban, which finished at 10-8. No. 5 seed Fleetwood improved to 13-5-1.
Pequea Valley 1, Biglerville 0: At Biglerville, the York-Adams Division III champion Canners were eliminated in a game that went double overtime. No. 7 seed Biglerville finished at 15-6, while No. 10 seed Pequea Valley improved to 13-6-1. Weston Doutrich scored the game’s only goal off an assist from Ethan Hoover.
DISTRICT 3 GIRLS’ SOCCER
Susquehannock 1, Eastern York 0: At Glen Rock, Brooke McGee’s goal in overtime carried the Warriors to victory. Madeline Ketterer provided the assist. Ashley Stone got the shutout in goal, making one save. Hailey Heistand had two saves for Eastern. No. 2 seed Susquehannock improved to 12-4-1, while No. 15 seed Eastern finished at 10-10. Susquehannock will now face No. 7 seed Greencastle (12-4-1) in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Spring Grove. Greencastle downed York Suburban on Monday, 2-0.
Greencastle 2, York Suburban 0: At Greencastle, the Trojans’ season ended with a shutout loss. No. 10 seed Suburban finished at 12-8, while No. 7 seed Greencastle improved to 12-4-1. Morgan Taylor and Jillian Duckett each had two saves for Suburban.
Fairfield 1, Biglerville 0: At Fairfield, the fifth-seeded Green Knights prevailed in double overtime to improve to 16-3. Sarah Heinbaugh scored to win the game 1:28 into the second OT. No. 12 seed Biglerville fell to 8-11. Biglerville will now face No. 4 seed Halifax (15-5) in Thursday’s quarterfinals at Halifax at 7 p.m.
Boiling Springs 1, Northeastern 0: At Manchester, the Bobcats lost a heartbreaker in double overtime. Julia Hillary scored the game-winner, off an assist from Kayla Garman. No. 8 seed Northeastern finished at 12-9. No. 9 seed Boiling Springs improved to 13-6.
— Reach George Hammond at email@example.com.