Quaker Valley Wins PIAA Boys State Soccer Title
By: Don Rebel
Saturday, November 18, 2017 | 12:27 AM
Throughout the 2017 season, one source of motivation for the Quaker Valley boys soccer team was a loss in the 2016 PIAA Class AA final.
That 1-0 defeat against Lewisburg might have been in the back of the minds of the Quakers throughout a tight championship game against Lancaster Mennonite on Friday afternoon. But in this return trip to Hersheypark Stadium, Quaker Valley never trailed in a 3-2 win for the seventh state title in school history.
Ian Rodgers scored the game-winning goal with 10 minutes, 10 seconds left. He caught up to Sebastian Correa’s clear from the backfield in the offensive left corner. Rodgers dribbled it to the right past two defenders before kicking it into the net for a 3-2 lead.
“I wish I could have watched it as a fan,” Quaker Valley coach Andrew Marshall said. “As a coach you’re looking at 100 different things, but he had the persistence to stay with the ball.”
The Quakers (23-2) did have leads of 1-0 and 2-1 that were both very brief before the Blazers (25-2) evened the score. It almost happened again, as Lancaster Mennonite had a corner less than a minute after Rodgers’ goal. Goalie Dom Lagnese fell on a loose ball before the Blazers could put a shot on net.
Lancaster Mennonite had one more corner and a shot close in by Chet Hoober, but Lagnese and the Quakers’ defense repelled them.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game, a tough game, as it should be in a state final,” Marshall said. “But looking back at last year’s result has been a motivation for this team.”
Lancaster Mennonite nearly took the lead in the first minute of the game, generating a shot on goal in the opening 20 seconds even though Quaker Valley had the opening touch.
The Quakers recovered and scored the first goal on their first shot on net. Landon Grant scored on an assist from Rodgers 5:28 into the game for a 1-0 lead.
The lead did not last long, though, as Shota Totani got his right foot on Brett Diller’s floating ball into the box and evened the score for Lancaster Mennonite, 1-1 at the 9:53 mark.
The Quakers put on the pressure early in the second half, earning five corners in the first eight minutes. They did not result in any goals, but they did lead up to Grant’s second goal with 28:29 left in regulation. Rodgers again set it up, pushing the ball through a crowd in the box to Grant at the right side of the net.
Again, the one-goal advantage was short lived. With 27:07 remaining, Matthew Lynch scored his 39th goal of the season for Lancaster Mennonite to tie the game 2-2. Hoober assisted.
“It was hit after hit, for both sides,” Marshall said.
Lancaster Mennonite had a 10-4 shot advantage, and a 7-6 edge in corners.
Lagnese made eight saves.