Buzzer-beating goal highlights strong start for Deer Lakes boys soccer

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 | 11:28 AM

For a high school athlete who plays both soccer and basketball the first buzzer-beater typically comes on the hardwood.

For Nate Litrun, however, his first one came on the pitch.

Litrun scored in the waning seconds of double overtime to propel Deer Lakes to a 1-0 win over Shady Side Academy on Sept. 6.

It was his first varsity goal, and it helped the Lancers down one of their bitter rivals on the road.

Litrun is a center back, so his role is to help prevent goals, but with a corner kick he pushed forward with the rest of his teammates and as he put it was “in the right place at the right time.”

“To score my first goal against that team is pretty crazy,” Litrun said. “Those extra points really help us. It’s a huge building block, and we’re just going to keep going up from there.”

Litrun credited his teammates for putting him in position to score.

Ruger Beer played a short ball off the corner that set up a cross, which was punched out by the Shady Side keeper. The ball came to Litrun and he kicked it into the open net with less than five seconds remaining.

“I asked the guys the next day at practice, because I don’t think they actually knew how little time there was left on the clock,” Deer Lakes coach Aaron Smith said. “There were 30 seconds left and I actually picked up my jacket and started to get ready to go, because I thought it was going to be a tie.”

It was the second time in two weeks that the Lancers scored a win in double overtime. They fell behind Knoch early before rallying to get a 4-3 win. Through Sept. 11, the Lancers were 6-1 overall and 4-0 in Section 2-2A.

“We just keep gritting it out,” Smith said. “It’s nice coming out on top of course. We like getting those three points.”

The Lancers have an experienced core with Litrun, Beer, Ryan Hanes, Mason Metzler and Nick Braun, among others. They’ve also had plenty of different players find the back of the net, including Beer, Collin Rodgers, Hanes, Payton Kushon, Ethan Alberta and Wesley Boyle.

They were a part of the first boys soccer team to win a WPIAL title in school history in 2020 and have the makings of a group that could make another deep run.

“They’ve been battle-tested,” Smith said. “Two years ago when they won the WPIAL championship for the first time and made the state finals they were sophomores and now they’re seniors. They can make some adjustments on the fly in the middle of the game. That experience benefits us. We try not to get too rattled.

“It starts with Nick Braun, our goalkeeper. He’s been a calming force and does well working with the back four. Our center backs are calm as cucumbers. We try to get the ball up, get numbers forward and score some goals.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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