Deer Lakes boys soccer turns attention to PIAA tournament

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Monday, November 4, 2019 | 4:17 PM


Friday night brought a disappointing end to Deer Lakes’ quest for a WPIAL soccer championship.

Now the Lancers boys turns their attention to the PIAA Class AA tournament.

Deer Lakes (16-5) will take on District 6 champion Juniata at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bald Eagle Area High School.

The Lancers reached the state championship last season before losing 1-0 to Fleetwood, and they hope to make a similar run this year.

“We’ll go in with the intentions of wanting to make it back to the PIAA finals like they did last year,” Deer Lakes coach Dan Yates said. “We got to the (WPIAL) semis last year. We made it to the finals this year in the WPIALs. We got to the finals last year and lost in the PIAA, so were gonna go and win it this year. That’s my game.”

But make no mistake, Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to top-seeded Quaker Valley in the WPIAL championship stings.

It was the Lancers’ first appearance in a WPIAL final, and they were eager to bring home their first title. At times, it looked like they would.

Senior forward Tyler Tofil scored in the first three minutes, and the Lancers controlled much of the possession. But Quaker Valley built a one-goal lead just before halftime.

The Lancers responded by outscoring Quaker Valley in the second half to tie the score at 3-3.

“We knew that they wouldn’t be able to put up with our pressure because they haven’t played against a team like us this year,” Yates said. “We’re high intensity, we go to win the ball and that’s the way I’ve been brought up coaching soccer.”

With about seven minutes remaining in the second overtime, Pitt commit and Quaker Valley forward Dom Reiter scored the winner.

Quaker Valley coach Andrew Marshall came away impressed with the Lancers.

“We have two different styles, but I believe they outplayed us for most of the game, to be fair,” Marshall said. “But those crucial moments, we just stood up when we needed too.”

The Lancers won three games to reach Friday’s final. They throttled first-round opponent Steel Valley, 7-0, then squeaked by North Catholic with an overtime goal in the Class AA quarterfinals.

Then the Lancers dominated South Park, as junior midfielder Mike Sullivan recorded a hat trick in the semifinals.

“The fight and determination of these boys is second to none. They are unbelievable,” said Deer Lakes coach Dan Yates, whose team beat Quaker Valley in the states last year en route to the final. “They are the best group of boys I have ever coached for determination and wanting to win.”

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

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