Blue Knights Prevail In Defensive Battle With Meyers
KINGSTON — Luke Johns wasn’t going to see many better opportunities than the one he received early in the second half.
Two of the Wyoming Valley Conference’s best defenses collided Tuesday night, and neither host Wyoming Seminary or visiting Meyers were allowing much. Nice work from both goalkeepers stopped the occasional open shot, and second opportunities hardly appeared after.
So when Edge Miller started a counter attack with a ball down the left side to Johns, the Seminary sophomore had a rare run on goal. Without the Mohawks defense back, Johns squeezed a low shot under the diving keeper for a goal, the decisive moment in Sem’s 1-0 victory over Meyers at Nesbitt Stadium.
“It was a great through-ball by Edge. Great finish, nice first touch. It was a lucky shot,” Johns said. “I had to finish there.”
The WVC Division 2 showdown was as big as September matchups can come. Not only did it leave Wyoming Seminary (6-0 Division 2) as the last undefeated team in the division, it was early revenge against the team’s biggest obstacle in 2017.
Meyers (6-1 Division 2) defeated Sem twice last season, and the Mohawks took first place in Division 2 by one game when they beat the Knights in the regular season finale for both teams.
This season’s first meeting between the two didn’t sneak up on the Knights.
“Honestly, we’ve been talking about it since last year, losing twice to them,” Miller, a senior, said. “This has always been a big game for us, just like (Lake-Lehman). … When we play each other, it’s just an all-out battle.”
Johns gave Sem the early advantage in the conference after finally getting his side on the scoreboard. The Knights had several close looks in the first half, including a clean shot in the box from Reggie Grayek that was saved by Joel Vazquez, and shots from Grayek and Jared Weisenberger that barely hooked wide.
Though the Meyers defense remained tough — it’s now allowed seven goals in as many games — Seminary’s proved to be unbeatable yet again.
Backed by keeper Ryan Anderson, Wyoming Seminary has won five of its six matches via shutout. The one goal it has allowed may have been the least consequential goal in the WVC; it was scored in the final minutes of a 10-1 victory last week.
“It’s just a team effort from start to finish,” first-year Seminary coach Aaron Littzi said. “Every guy plays defense. They all want to get back. They work hard.”
When Meyers did look on the verge of a tying goal, its best chances came in transition.
Tanner Nilon led the Mohawks on a 3-on-3 rush with 14 minutes remaining, and it suddenly turned into an odd-man attack when he cut left and made his defender slip. But Nilon’s pass to Aiden McFarlane was a bit too hard, and the defense recovered and denied a shot.
McFarlane had a clear path to the goal on a run down the right side two minutes later. Defender Will Zeigler had to cover plenty of ground, but he sprinted back just in time to get a deflection on McFarlane’s seemingly open shot.
That defense makes Anderson’s job “a heck of a lot easier,” the senior goalie said. “Will Zeigler played amazing today. Santi’s (Jose Santiago de los Rios) getting a lot better. Colin (Sung) on the wing, Nikko (Simons) on the wing, they’re playing incredible.”
Meyers is scheduled to get another shot at Wyoming Seminary during its final regular season home game as a program, on Oct. 16.
FIRST HALF: Luke Johns (WS) from Edge Miller, 34:57.
SHOTS: Mey 5, WS 9. CORNERS: Mey 2, WS 6. SAVES: Mey (Joel Vazquez) 8, WS (Ryan Anderson) 5.
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