Falcons fall in semifinal
When the Northwestern boys soccer team suffered its only loss of the season recently to Salisbury in a nonleague contest, Tiger head coach Nate Hunsicker hoped it would give his team a shot in the arm for the postseason.
There was no doubt it did as J.D. Haaf scored two first half goals and the defense did the rest in handing the Falcons a 2-0 loss in a Colonial League semifinal played at Northern Lehigh.
“The loss to them definitely motivated us,” said Hunsicker. “It certainly would have been nice to go 18-0, but 17-1 is nothing to sneeze at either.
“This was definitely a little bit of a revenge game for us. We’ll likely see them one more time yet in districts. So it’s nice to get this win in the meantime.”
Northwestern’s other contest against Salisbury was a 4-0 league win.
Hunsicker said the team’s shot selection and aggressiveness in this game was the big difference between the win and the 1-0 loss to the Falcons.
“In certain points, they were quicker,” said Salisbury head coach Mark Allison. “We got the ball to a certain point and they basically shut us down from there to the goal. We didn’t really get any penetrating passes and that’s typically our game. They took that away from us.
“We had a few opportunities and if we would have capitalized on it, it would have been a little bit different game, but we’ll regroup.”
Allison agreed with Hunsicker to the point where he thinks the two will probably see each other again in the District 11 tournament.
“Hopefully a fourth time will be the charm as well”, Allison said.
Haaf’s first goal came with 9:38 left in the first half off an assist from Kenneth Gawelko.
His second came with just 21 seconds remaining until the break off an assist from Noah Meyers.
“Obviously it was the major swing and momentum changer,” said Hunsicker. “Two awesome strikes, definitely not easy shots by J.D. It was the lead we needed and we took care of the rest in the second half.
“J.D. has definitely had an all-state quality year. He’s definitely been carrying us offensively. He’s just a great, strong, physical player with speed. He’s definitely the best striker in the Colonial League, if not the area.”
Both teams wound up playing great defense through a scoreless second half.
“We were a little bit more aggressive and I think we settled down a little bit,” added Allison. “We made a couple of changes, moving the one Adams boys on to the outside plane trying to spring him a little bit. It worked near the end of the first half, but we just had problems getting the ball out to him.
“Our goalie (Keller) has played well all season. He’s kept us in games all season and kept us in the last Northwestern game and came up with key saves again today as well.”
Salisbury’s Tyler Keller kept his team within striking distance. Keller had 12 saves, while Northwestern’s Kyle Bellhorn had five saves.
The Tigers held a 6-4 edge in corners, but the Falcons had nine direct kicks to just five by Northwestern. Haaf had six of Northwestern’s shots on goal, while Brett Scott and Thomas Creighton added two apiece. John Yurconic and James Hadinger had two shots for Salisbury.
The No. 1-seeded Tigers beat No. 2 seed Moravian Academy, 1-0 in Thursday’s championship game.