Deer Lakes shuts out Karns City to reach state semifinals for 2nd time in 3 years

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Saturday, November 14, 2020 | 2:56 PM


From the first whistle of its PIAA Class 2A boys soccer quarterfinal against District 9 champion Karns City on Saturday, Deer Lakes’ confidence never wavered.

The WPIAL champions controlled the pace of play and created scoring opportunities throughout the first half with tactical passing. A goal seemed inevitable.

Seniors Ronan Renter and Ryan Rodgers scored within two minutes of each other in the second half, and the Lancers (16-1) cruised to a 2-0 victory over Karns City (13-2-1) to advance to the PIAA semifinals for the second time in three years.

“I spoke to the boys at halftime and just told them that (if) we move the ball quicker, we move it from side to side, and we’ll win the game,” coach Dan Yates said.

The Lancers will play District 10 champion Fairview on Tuesday. Fairview defeated District 6 champion Westmont Hilltop, 3-1, on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half during which Karns City sat back in a conservative defensive formation and looked for counters, the Lancers stayed patient. They created a few chances off corner kicks and plays through the middle of the field but couldn’t quite put one into the back of the net.

Then, about 10 minutes into the second half, Renter took advantage of his opportunity.

Senior Devin Murray fed Rodgers a ball outside the 18-yard box, and the front man for the Lancers fed a beautiful pass to Renter, who was wide open on the left side. Renter finished it off with a strike past Karns City keeper Mallick Metcalfe.

“The first goal we scored was unbelievable,” Yates said. “If Man City or Barcelona score that goal, you hear about it for years.”

Two minutes later, senior Mike Sullivan sent a ball to Rodgers over the top of the Karns City defense, and Rodgers tapped a shot past Metcalfe to seal the victory.

“I was trying to get it over him,” Rodgers said. “But I was able to find a gap between his left hand and his foot. I got it there, and it went in.”

After more than a week off, the Lancers were happy to get back on the field and get back to work on accomplishing their ultimate goal.

“It was good for us to just get out and move the ball again because after the week off, it feels like we haven’t played for six months,” Yates said. “So to get out and get a game and some minutes on our legs was good. We executed our game play exceptionally, in the second half especially.”

The Lancers must wait just three days to see if they can punch their ticket to the PIAA championship for the second time in three years. In order to do so, Rodgers said they have to stay the course.

“We’ve been moving the ball really well lately, and we just have to keep doing that as we go on in playoffs,” Rodgers said. “We have to make the most of our opportunities.”

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

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