Danville's Eric Dempsey was disappointed about his first half performance, and he wanted to make up for it in the second half and come out with a scorer's mentality. He did just that.
Dempsey scored two second half goals within a six-minute spain to propel Danville to a 3-0 win over Montoursville Saturday afternoon at Balls Mills. With the win Danville will play Lewisburg in the district quarterfinals this week at a time and place to be determined.
"Well in the first half I didn't really play that well," said Dempsey. "The second half I just wanted to score."
Montoursville's Jim McMahon heads the ball as Danville's Wesley Yeich defends on Saturday at Balls Mills Soccer Club.
Dempsey did so twice. His first goal came off a quick free kick from Shayne Riley at 45:49 and his second goal came at 51:30 off a pass from Gage Reber.
Danville's final goal was netted by Derek Kirkner at 71:14.
The Danville offense was very aggressive with short passes and that's exactly what coach Brian Dressler expects from his team.
"That's the way we always play," said Dressler. "We play the short passing, kick combination play, that's our style. We're not gonna kick and run it, we like to keep the ball at our feet and move it quickly."
Dempsey did all the goal-scoring but he had help from his teammates. Riley and Reber did a nice job of setting him up while Brody Mahaffy also played well up front for the Ironmen.
The Danville defense led by Bryson Copenhaver, Wesley Yeich, Tyler Deal and Kyle Knotts held the Montoursville offense to just four shots on goal, all of which came in the second half. Jon Hauck had four saves preserving the shut out.
Even in defeat, Montoursville goalie Sawyer Bressler was possibly the best player on the field Saturday afternoon. Time after time he came up with big saves, no matter where the shots were coming from. Danville had many point blank shots, which Bressler kept out. Bressler ended the night with 11 saves.
"Sawyer is first team PHAC II," said long-time Montoursville coach Rich Marriott. "He's a constant for us and without him we wouldn't be where we were, that's for sure."
The Montoursville offense struggled and couldn't seem to keep control, but one of Montoursville's better goal-scorers, Devin Marriott, has been battling injuries all year and he went down at the 6:54 mark and didn't return.
"When you have one of your best players, that tried to play, could only get seven minutes, we lost him for half the year," said Marriott. "When you're playing a good team like Danville, you can't afford to have your best player out."
Montoursville will lose five key senior starters and they won't be easy to replace.
"We had a nice core of seniors," said Marriott. "Our goalie first team all conference, the other three, Johnny (Rhodes) and Devin and Jim (McMahon) were second team and Austin (Fulton), you know they stuck with the program, they're really a nice group of kids to work with and good leadership."
This just wasn't the seniors final game, it was also Coach Marriott's final game who has been Montoursville's coach for the last 20 years. The lose of Coach Marriott will be just as hard to deal with as is the lose of five seniors.
"You know what its been 20 years and the kids at Montoursville have been amazing," said an emotional Marriott. "And the parents have been amazing and its been a privelage to coach the last 20 years at Montoursville because they have a lot of great kids and parents, it's a classic place to work."
Danville: Eric Dempsey (Shayne Riley), 45:49, Dempsey (Gage Reber), 51:30, Derek Kirkner, 71:14.
Shots on goal: D-13; M- 4. Corner kicks: D-3; M-7. Saves: D-4; M-11. Goalies: Danville (Jon Hauck); Montoursville (Sawyer Bressler).
Records: Danville (13-6). Montoursville (13-6)