Hibbs’ two late scores help Loyalsock boys sink South
BLOOMSBURG?- Loyalsock’s Matt Hibbs watched helplessly as South Williamsport’s Tyler Webb-Verbeski struck a shot over a sliding Ryan Loeh and into the back of the net to tie Tuesday’s District 4 Class A boys soccer opener with just 5:59 remaining.
Hibbs and his teammates held a one-goal lead for over 45 minutes but in a blink of an eye it was erased. With his team facing the possibility of overtime and having one goal end its season, Hibbs made sure neither had the chance to become true.
The Loyalsock junior scored twice over the final 2 minutes and the Lancers advanced to the district quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory at Blue Jay Stadium.
“There’s not many times in your life that you coach soccer and you have a guy that can just take over at the end and that is what happened,” Loyalsock coach Andy Zimmerman said. “I’ve been coaching for a while and that doesn’t happen very often.
“I’m just glad he’s on our team.”
The eighth-seeded Lancers (12-7) needed Hibbs’ heroics after a gritty South Williamsport team took advantage of one of its rare scoring opportunities.
Webb-Verbeski had a couple previous potentially dangerous runs down the left sideline in the second half, but none ended with the opportunity of a clean look at goal like he received with the game clock approaching 6 minutes. Behind the Loyalsock defense, Webb-Verbeski needed only to beat a charging and sliding Loeh and he did by lifting the shot into the back of the net with 5:59 left.
The Lancers didn’t sulk and Hibbs just missed the go-ahead goal with 3:18 left with a shot that sailed high.
He didn’t miss again.
Josiah Covert slid a pass to Hibbs in the box and although it appeared the South defender was in decent position, Hibbs ripped a shot high into the net with 1:40 remaining.
“I was not looking forward to overtime,” Hibbs said. “We all stepped it up and that is when we realized it was time to go.”
With 32 seconds left, Hibbs finally gave the Lancers the two-goal advantage they were chasing for the much of the game after Giuseppe Costagliola opened the scoring in the first half.
The Lancers dominated much of the game’s possession, but the Mounties defense did an admirable job of keeping its offense in the game. Junior goalkeeper Sage Schafer stopped 15 shots and saw a few more sail high or wide.
The two goals by Hibbs gave him 20 on the season. He will look for more in the quarterfinals against top-seeded Bloomsburg on Saturday at a time and place to be determined.
South, which reached the playoffs for the second consecutive season under head coach Mike Rodgers, finished the season 10-9 and expects to return nine starters next year, minus seniors Dakota Rosenberg and Dylan Beach..
“Not a lot of people gave us a shot at the beginning of the year and our kids never quit and you saw that again today,” Rodgers said. “This game today was a great example of who we are. It took a fantastic shot from one of the best players in the county, in my opinion, to beat us today and I can’t ask anything more from my boys.”
L – Giuseppe Costagliola (Connor McLean, Matt Hibbs), 27:25; SW – Tyler Webb-Verbeski, 74:01; L – Hibbs (Josiah Covert), 78:20; L – Hibbs, 79:28.
Shots on goal: L -18, SW – 4. Corners: L – 7, SW – 4. Saves: Loyalsock (Ryan Loeh 3); South Williamsport (Sage Schafer 15) .
Records: Loyalsock 12-7, South Williamsport 10-9. Next: South vs. Bloomsburg, TBA.