Montoursville boys ousted on penalty kicks

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montoursville's Alex Bohlin (18) and Midd-West's Devan Leister (18) struggle for possession Saturday during the District 4 Class AA boys soccer playoffs at Hughesville.

HUGHESVILLE — When Montoursville’s fourth penalty kick in the shootout hit the left upright and bounced into the field of play, Midd-West’s Devan Leister knew the pressure rested solely on his foot. But the Midd-West junior didn’t think too much about it or get too anxious or nervous.

He just knew he had to put the shot away.

So with a quick stutter step, Leister ran and fired his shot to his left, sneaking it between the left post and Montoursville goalie Ben King.

The Mustangs fifth converted goal helped Midd-West win the shootout, 5-4, in a dramatic game over Montoursville in the quarterfinals of the District 4 Class AA playoffs on Saturday evening.

With the win, Midd-West ad­vances to face Central Colum­bia on Tuesday in the semifinals.

“It’s definitely stressful be­cause you never know (what will happen), but the five guys who we put out there, I was pretty confident they were going to go in,” Midd-West coach Chris Sauer said. “Past two, three weeks we’ve been practicing (PK’s). They’re all guys that when situation comes up, I’m pretty confident they can handle the pressure.”

The shootout started like a heavyweight boxing match, with both teams exchanging punch after punch with one another.

Midd-West and Montoursville kept answering one another as the first three shots for both teams were converted shots, including one for Montoursville that hit off Midd-West goalie Tyler Martin’s hands, then rolled in.

Trevor Leitzel, Carter Knepp and Cole Sauer converted the Mustangs’ first three kicks, respectively, while Josh Kula, Nick Musto and Isaac Miller converted Montoursville’s first three in order.

But after Midd-West’s Hunter Gilbert made the fourth shot, Montoursville missed its chance, hitting it just off the post. Midd-West’s Leister then sank the fifth shot to end the game.

“They’re obviously a better team than we are based on the rankings and record, but yeah, we didn’t plan on it making it to PK’s,” Montoursville coach Kevin Werkmeister said. “It came around (and) boys stepped up. Off the post, an inch one way, it would’ve been a goal.”

In both overtime periods, Montoursville didn’t record a single shot at all as Midd-West kept up its pressure and tried to score the game-winner. But once it got to the second overtime period, Montoursville wanted to push for a shootout and let the cards fall where they may.

“We were actually trying to play to go to PK’s. We couldn’t get past (Trevor Leitzel) on defense. He had our forwards stopped, so we were trying to delay a little bit to get to PK’s, hopefully we’d win it there,” Werkmeister said. “Because we didn’t have very many shots on goal this game.”

The Mustangs had numerous great chances, but Montoursville goalie Ben King played one of the best games of his career, making superb stops left and right and preventing any goals from the Mustangs.

“We looked at chances we created, really proud of some of the chances too. Their keeper came up big. I think (he made) some pretty big saves,” Sauer said. “It’s frustrating, but they stayed with it. Didn’t really give them any opportunities, so that was big part too. Those are games where you’re pounding away, one goes through or bad bounce, something like that.”

“Ben King, our goalie, had phenomenal game. By far the MVP of this game. He made unbelievable saves,” Werk­meister said. “He played well above himself.”

Shots: Mtv 2, MW 14. Corners: Mtv 2, MW 7. Saves: Mtv (Ben King) 11, MW (Tyler Martin) 2.