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Raider boys soccer splits games, now 3-4

Posted 9/19/18

By Mitch Spear

Special to the Press & Journal

The Blue Raiders boys soccer team was on the road for two games and split last week’s results.

Middletown now stands at 3-4 on the …

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Raider boys soccer splits games, now 3-4

Posted

By Mitch Spear

Special to the Press & Journal

The Blue Raiders boys soccer team was on the road for two games and split last week’s results.

Middletown now stands at 3-4 on the season.

Camp Hill 4, Middletown 0

On Tuesday, the Raider boys played the talented squad of the Camp Hill Lions. The repeat state champs proved too much for the Raiders as they lost 4-0.

The visiting Raiders managed to limit the Lions’ scoring chances and prevent Amias Colestock, the gifted goal scorer, from reaching the scoreboard. Of the four goals, the Lions only netted two, as own goals accounted for the other two tallies.

The first goal of the game came from senior Kevin Young, who dribbled past the Raider wing back and tight roped the endline before heading strong toward goal. When close to the goal, Young placed the ball past the Raider keeper, Caleb Springer, on the near post.

After the first own goal put the Lions up 2-0, Young served a great corner kick to Dylan Mayanja who did well to settle the ball to his foot and strike it into the back of the Raiders’ net. The goal gave the Lions a three-goal advantage at the end of the first half.

The best chance for the Raiders came off a direct kick taken by Griffin Meyer to Joey Spear, who headed the ball on frame. The attempt was at the top corner and the momentum of the back-peddling Camp Hill keeper, Noah Jack, forced him behind the goal line. Jack, however, was aware of his positioning, and was able to extend his arms out away from his body to keep the entire ball from crossing the goal line.

Also noteworthy in the second half: a save by Springer on Colestock that came with 22 minutes left. Colestock, who had been marked well by Anthony LaVia for most the night, was finally able to break beyond the Raider defense. However, Springer was up to the challenge and made an excellent reactive save.

Springer followed up this save minutes later with an equally impressive penalty kick stop. The penalty came when Mayanja was fouled in the box. However, Springer was injured during the save of the penalty kick and could not return to the pitch.

Dane Ebersole replaced him in net and only allowed an own goal in this second half. The goal came when a seemingly harmless cross from Eric Blanton of the Lions took a crazy deflection off the back line. The deflected ball arched in the only possible angle and height that would allow it to fall under the crossbar and over the reach of Ebersole.

“We had a couple of unlucky bounces go against us on the own goals. The game was closer than the score indicates. We just have to be ready to go from the opening whistle,” coach Brian Keyser said after the game.

Middletown 2, Milton Hershey 1

On Thursday, the Raiders ended the three-game losing streak and played well to defeat the speedy Spartans of Milton Hershey.

The visiting Raiders played the strategy of the possession game and generated many scoring chances, while the Spartans looked for their chances from the quick counter-attack.

The first good chance came with the Spartan keeper coming off his goal line to attack the Raiders’ through ball attempt. LaVia, however, was able to beat the keeper to the ball and head the ball back to his potential teammates. Despite the effort, the Raiders could not get first to the ball and capitalize on the open net.

The Raiders nearly broke on to the scoreboard when a well-placed corner kick came from Mason Garza to Aiden Sessa making the run back post, but Sessa sent his header just over the crossbar.

Sessa provided an excellent service ball of his own just minutes later.

Sessa found LaVia making a nice run directly toward the goal. LaVia showed some creativity with his possession and headed the ball to himself between two defenders. While continuing his run to goal, he struck the ball as it fell to his feet to propel the ball past the Spartan keeper for the Raider advantage, 1-0.

The Spartans continued to play direct and send the ball over top of the defense and let the speed of their attackers run onto the ball. Ebersole, aware of their strategy, played a high line in goal and prevented any fast break chances.

The end of the first half came with a flurry of Raider chances. Perhaps the best was when LaVia struck inside post and the ball caromed right back through the goal mouth. Johnny Jumper followed up the shot and forced the Spartan keeper to make the diving save and swipe the ball out around the far post for another corner kick.

In the second half, the Raiders continued to generate chances. After numerous deep throw-ins and corner kicks, the Raiders nearly doubled their score when Garza found the head of Brady Keyser, who sent his attempt back across the frame of goal, but too high.

The Raiders got an insurance goal when Keyser found Garza playing central a few yards out from goal. His touch was a good one as he prevented the clean tackle of the Spartan defender. The ball stayed glued to Garza’s foot and he was able to strike the ball calmly into the back of net for a 2-0 score.

The insurance goal proved huge as the Spartans finally broke the Raiders’ offsides trap when Tristan Gyamfi made a well-timed run to go one on one with Ebersole. With Ebersole coming off his line to challenge the Spartan attacker, Gyamfi used the toe-poke to roll the ball just underneath Ebersole’s sprawling reach.

Despite the late goal, the Raiders were able to hold on, 2-1.

“It was a much-needed win. We handled some adversity and were able to hold them off late. Hopefully this game starts us on a positive run,” coach Keyser said.

The Raiders play two this week with a home match at War Memorial Field on Tuesday against Trinity. They finish the week at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at East Pennsboro. Monday and Tuesday, the Raiders play at home against East Pennsboro and Bishop McDevit, with all starts at 5:30 and 7 p.m. for junior varsity and varsity, respectively.

Junior varsity (0-1-3)

Junior varsity lost both games last week, losing 5-0 to Camp Hill, and 2-0 to Milton Hershey.