Moravian Academy tops Winchester Thurston in PIAA Class A boys soccer final

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Saturday, November 16, 2019 | 3:46 PM


HERSHEY — At the beginning of the season, the Winchester Thurston boys soccer team set out on a journey to make an appearance in the state championship game and bring home the title.

They accomplished half of that goal Saturday, but District 11 champion Moravian Academy denied the second as the Lions took a one-goal lead into halftime, added two more in the second half to capture their second state championship with a 4-1 victory over the Bears.

“They have a very senior-laden team, so I expected them to have a lot of experience,” Winchester Thurston coach Adam Brownold said. “I think that definitely helped them today going into the second half. We knew that they were a possession team, and we knew that if we played our game, we would be OK. But we didn’t do that today, we couldn’t connect passes and our brains weren’t connecting with our feet.”

Through the first 28 minutes, the two teams went back and forth. The Bears (19-3) would create an opportunity, then the Lions (24-1) would counter.

With about 12 minutes to go in the first half, the Bears struck. Freshmen forward Alex Hauskrecht put a perfect free kick into the boxm and senior midfielder Diederick-Paul Schlingemann finished it off with a header on the back post.

“Up to that point we were playing our game, and even after going down going into the halftime we felt like we were going to get another one,” Brownold said.

But that lead didn’t last long. About 30 seconds later, Moravian Academy’s leading goal scorer Austin Recinos worked his way up the field after the kickoff and let a shot go from about 20 yards out to tie the game.

“I wanted to lift my boys heads up because I knew we were at a bad point,” Recinos said. “At that point, I said we need to get one in the back of the net.”

Almost two minutes later, the Lions struck again.

After a Winchester Thurston handball in the penalty box, Moravian Academy sophomore midfielder Gennaro Mazzella stepped to the penalty spot and buried his shot into the right corner of the goal.

As the game carried on, the Lions started to control more of the possession and take over the game.

The Bears continued to battle and create opportunities but with just over 13 minutes remaining, Moravian Academy struck again when Archie Debbage converted a shot from inside the 6-yard box for an insurance goal.

With five minutes remaining, Recinos added another to put the game away.

“I think we should’ve been back here last year,” Moravian Academy coach Bob Hartman said. “I think we were better than the Millvale team that beat us and then won the state championship. But now our goal is set to be back here next year.”

Although the Bears lost, Winchester Thurston set a new standard in 2019, and since he’s only losing two or three starters, Brownold is excited for what the Bears can do in the coming years.

“We got here, but we’re not satisfied and that’s been our whole mantra all year long,” Brownold said. “We’re never satisfied, I’m gonna go into a locker room where there is a bunch of sad guys. But, that’s good because a majority of them are coming back and to have that coming back, I think that bodes well.”

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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