Crusaders to meet Redbank Valley today at noon, Dutch play Ridgway at 10 a.m.
FOX TWP. – The Elk County Catholic Crusaders advanced to the title game of the Elk County Boys' Soccer Tournament with a 2-0 win over St. Marys Area in a first-round game played Friday afternoon at Angela Huey Memorial Field in Fox Township.
Both keepers stayed on their toes throughout the first half, keeping the game scoreless. Elk was able to score a pair of goals in the second half to come away with the win.
"It was nice to see our team get going in the second half," said ECC coach Adam Bailey.
St. Marys Area coach Russ Micale remarked he expected going in that the match would be a close one.
"We knew that it was going to be decided by a few goals, and it ended up 2-0. They (ECC) scored that one late and it probably should have ended up 1-0. Any time these two teams set on the field, it's going to be a tough game, and it was today. We just came up on the wrong end of it," Micale said.
Like the Crusaders' game on Tuesday evening, rain and lightning were also a factor in Friday afternoon's contest. The rain started midway through the opening half, but the thunder and cloud-to-ground lightning held off until just after the end of the half. The referees immediately suspended play for 30 minutes until the storm had passed and the game was able to be completed without incident.
"Once again the rain caused a nice little delay, enough for people to go get something to eat and come back," Bailey said.
Though neither team was able to get on the board in the first half, St. Marys Area was able to put together more opportunities, outshooting the Crusaders 4-3.
"We definitely had more of an offensive attack today and more possession," Micale said. "I thought the guys played better than they did on Tuesday, and that's what we need to do - just keep on improving."
In the second half, though, the momentum shifted in ECC's favor. With 26:56 left on the clock, Crusader Ian Herzing was able to send a shot past St. Marys keeper Brett Lanzel to give ECC a 1-0 lead. St. Marys was almost able to tie things up near the mid-point of the half on a shot by Tim Mosebarger, but ECC keeper Cory Huff was able to come up with the save.
Elk Catholic added their final goal with 1:40 remaining in the contest as Aaron Meier put the ball into the back of the net to give the Crusaders the 2-0 lead. ECC outshot St. Marys Area 8-6 in the second half.
In the other opening round game, played Friday afternoon at the soccer field located behind Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School in Ridgway, Redbank Valley defeated Ridgway 3-2. Redbank Valley scored all three of their goals in the opening half of that match and then held off an attempted Ridgway rally in the second half to come away with the 3-2 win.
St. Marys and Ridgway will meet in the consolation game today at 10 a.m. with Elk Catholic and Redbank Valley to battle for the tournament title at 12 p.m. Both games will be played at the soccer field located behind the Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School.