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Williamsport boys fall in Class AAAA state quarterfinals to Cumberland Valley 1-0

MECHANCISBURG – The emotion was evident after the game as Williamsport’s players slowly walked onto the field to wave to their fans one final time and head back to the sideline. That’s where coach Lee Kaar greeted them with fist pumps and a few hugs.

You could see the tears in the players eyes. Even Kaar wiped away a tear after talking to his team.

For 77 minutes Saturday evening, Williamsport played flawless and was right in the game, forcing Cumberland Valley to give everything it had.

All it took was one moment to change the course of the game, though.

The Eagles scored with 3 minutes, 11 seconds left in the game for the game’s lone goal and left Eagle View Middle School in Mechanicsburg with a 1-0 thrilling victory over Williamsport in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals to end the Millionaires’ season.

“We’re leaving with our heads held high, but it’s a different level, you know? We knew the speed was going to be incredible and we had some things go our way obviously and Elliott (Wannop) had a great game,” Kaar said. “Seventy-seven minutes we’re in the game and we have the chances there. I’m proud of the guys and the effort they put in tonight.”

Cumberland Valley’s Patryk Nitecki found himself with the ball outside of the 18. That’s when he looked to his left and saw Zach Blocher near the far left post and took a chance. Nitecki crossed it to his left and Blocher put in a perfectly-placed Blocher, just past Wannop to sneak in a goal and take the game’s only lead.

“We knew that they get their outside defenders up and involved in the attack. I think I even said the other day their attack is pretty good,” Kaar said. “They came into districts 13-1 and they were the four seed. … So that tells you the strength of District 3.”

Entering Saturday’s quarterfinal, Kaar and the Millionaires (9-6) knew they would be in for a tough test against the Eagles (17-1). Cumberland Valley had a ton of speed all over the field and tried to utilize it throughout the game.

The Eagles held possession essentially the entire game, holding a lopsided 22-2 shots on goal advantage and in total, fired 34 shots. The Eagles were routinely near the 18-yard box and peppered Wannop.

The Williamsport goalie was outstanding against a tough Cumberland Valley team. He ended with 18 saves – nine in each half – and had numerous diving stops to prevent a goal. Cumberland Valley also didn’t have any luck trying to sneak shots in high, as three ricocheted off the crossbar.

In addition to Wannop playing outstanding throughout the game, Williamsport played well defensively. The Millionaires packed the box anytime the Eagles tried to get an offensive attack going and limited Cumberland Valley’s chances of firing at an open net.

“They got it a number of times and we were fortunate to get some saves. I’ve been saying our back three — Tyler Fausnaght, Michael Collyer and Evan Beiter — they don’t get enough credit. They were huge and I think we really had to play a 3-4-3 this year to try to get Jimmy (Pombor) up as much as possible,” Kaar said. “Zach (Lake) and Owen (Kaar) and Caleb (Diakite) really compressed and stepped up in the middle quite a bit to limit the excellent looks they had. Did they have looks? Absolutely, but I think we limited their excellent looks to a few.”

Ten minutes into the second half, Cumberland Valley rifled a shot that looked like it would sneak under the crossbar for a goal. From 15 yards out, Samuel Lundblad sent his shot high, only to see it bounce off the crossbar and fall directly downward. That’s where Wannop caught it, falling to his back and preventing it from rolling backwards.

The Eagles had another similar high shot that Wannop wrangled down and caught seven minutes into the second half.

“He’s been like that all year and he was like that last year,” Kaar said of Wannop. “We really didn’t lean on him or have to lean on him his sophomore year, but we knew his freshman and sophomore year he was going to be a stud and you saw it tonight.”

The Millionaires knew entering the state quarterfinal Saturday they would have very few chances to get a shot off against Cumberland Valley. The Millionaires tried to make the most of the shots they did get.

In the first half witih 18:05 to play, Hemberth Pena-Vasquez got inside of the 18 and with Cumberland Valley goalie Luke Snyder near him close to the left post, tried to fire his shot to the open right side. His shot was just wide, and while a Williamsport player was closing in on it to try and tap it in, he wasn’t quite able to get near it to finish it.

Pena-Vasquez fired another shot from outside the 18 in the first half, but it went right at Snyder.

The Millionaires had one last chance to tie the game with 60 seconds left. Wannop sent a free kick from just past midfield into the 18 and after it took a few bounces and found itself outside of the 18, Andrew Boll fired a shot from 20 yards out.

The shot went wide by a few feet to the right though, preventing the equalizing shot.

Cumberland Valley 1, Williamsport 0

(PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals)

CV–Zach Blocher (Patryk Nitecki), 3:11.

Shots: W 2, CV 22. Corners: W 0, CV 11. Saves: W 18 (Elliott Wannop), CV 2 (Luke Snyder).

Records: Cumberland Valley (17-1), Williamsport (9-6). Next game: Cumberland Valley vs. TBA, PIAA Class AAAA semifinals, Tuesday.

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