Midd-West Too Much For Blue Knights
WRIGHT TWP. — Sometimes, your team is simply outmatched.
That proved to be the case Tuesday night at Crestwood, where Midd-West used speed and skill to eliminate Wyoming Seminary from the state playoffs.
“My hat’s off to them,” said Sem head coach Aaron Littzi. “They’re a great team and they deserved the victory tonight.”
Stefan Leitzel’s free kick from the 35-yard line that connected with Nick Eppley’s perfectly timed header put the Mustangs on the board. Chase Strohecker and Evan Eppley later added goals in the Mustangs’ 3-0 win in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A boys soccer tournament.
“It was a nice goal,” an understated Midd-West head coach Chris Sauer said of Eppley’s score. “It’s not a lot different from other goals that Nick has scored. He comes in as a freshman in a state playoff game and steps up and scores a goal like that, especially after a frustrating district final for us.”
While Sem (14-2-2) was the District 2 champion, Midd-West (20-2) entered states as the runner-up in District 4.
The Mustangs are about as good a two-seed that’ll be found in the state tournament, as they suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime defeat in the District 4 title game Saturday against Central Columbia.
“The big thing tonight was we got that second goal, we got that third goal,” Sauer said. “Whereas on Saturday, we didn’t get that finish. Had we had that on Saturday, we’d have been district champions.”
That’s all in the past now, though, as Midd-West advances to play in the quarterfinals Saturday against Lancaster Mennonite, a 3-0 winner Tuesday against District 12 champ Lansdale Catholic.
When asked about the scouting report he had on Sem, Sauer pointed to the Blue Knights’ solid team defense, as well as the good individual defense by goalkeeper Ryan Anderson.
Anderson played another great game in net for Sem, making nine saves and helping keep Sem in the game.
However, Sem could muster only one shot on goal against Midd-West’s Chase Roush, whose hands never even touched the game ball until late in the second half.
In the second half, Sem and Midd-West looked like much closer opponents than in the first, but still, Evan Eppley scored on a corner kick at the 14:47 mark for the final tally and a 3-0 lead.
The loss wrapped up the high school soccer careers of a whopping 13 Sem seniors, including starters Anderson, Trey Leo, Edge Miller, Tyler Reinert, Nikko Simons and Will Zeigler.
“This season’s been great,” Littzi said. “I’m really proud of them. They worked hard all year, and I’m just proud of them for what they accomplished. I’m sad to see them go. I love each and every kid on this team. They come out, they give their effort, and I’ll miss all the seniors that are leaving this year.”
FIRST HALF: Nick Eppley (M-W) from Stefan Leitzel, 31:50; Chase Strohecker (M-W) unassisted, 12:40; Evan Eppley (M-W) unassisted, 14:47.
Shots: M-W 14, Sem 3. Corners: M-W 11, Sem 1. Saves: M-W (Chase Roush) 1, Sem (Ryan Anderson) 9.
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