Deer Lakes avenges only loss of season with section win over Shady Side Academy

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 | 8:23 PM

Throughout his high school career, Deer Lakes senior Mike Sullivan has been known for taking over games.

Wednesday night’s Section 2-2A contest against rival Shady Side Academy was no different. The fleet-footed forward scored two goals, with the first coming just 44 seconds before the end of the first half, to lead his No. 2 Lancers (8-1, 8-1) past No. 4 Shady Side (9-2, 9-1), 2-0.

The victory put the Lancers in prime position to capture at least a share of the section title for the third straight year, but to Sullivan, it was just another win en route to their ultimate goal.

“I don’t want to sound hypocritical, but it’s just another win,” Sullivan said. “Yes, it takes us one step closer to a section title, but it’s not done yet. We still have Burrell on Monday, and I think they have Burrell tomorrow, so we’ll see how that turns out and hope for the best.”

Earlier this season, Shady Side handed Deer Lakes its only loss of the season, 2-1. This is the second straight year that Shady Side and the Lancers have split their regular season series.

During that first contest, Deer Lakes coach Dan Yates was looking for better execution of the game plan. That’s exactly what he got in the second meeting.

“We are very fast and top heavy, so we play to our strengths and we are always looking to set traps all over the field,” Yates said. “We set a trap for not letting people turn. We set a trap in the midfield. We just set traps.”

Although it started out as a back-and-forth game, Shady Side took control as the first half wore on. They created opportunities but couldn’t break through.

Then, with under a minute to play in the first half, Ryan Hanes played a ball to Sullivan on the right side, and the defending Valley News Dispatch boys soccer player of the year put a defender on his right hip and curled a left-footed shot into the side netting just inside the left post.

“I coach him on the club side, and it doesn’t take much for him to be open, and that was a great finish,” Shady Side coach Ed Ellsworth said.

In the second half, the Lancers, with the momentum on their side, started to take over the game. They put pressure on the Shady Side defense and created several opportunities. Ryan Rodgers had an opportunity with the Shady Side keeper out of the net, but a defender slid in to make a save on the goal line. Then, just moments later, Rodgers scored but had it called back on an offsides call.

With just under 27 minutes left in the half, Sullivan got goal No. 2 to seal the victory, and he attributed it all to the game plan.

“After seeing them the first time, we knew what we had to work on and we knew what we had to exploit,” Sullivan said. “Both of the goals came off of what we worked on in practice yesterday, and I know (Yates) couldn’t be prouder of that. He drew it up in practice and told us what we had to do, so for us to execute that properly is awesome.”

Both teams still have to play Burrell to cap off their section schedule, and the Bucs were a late-season spoiler last year for Shady Side as they handed them a 3-2 loss.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .

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