Quaker Valley beats Mercyhurst Prep to make 3rd state finals appearance in 4 years
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | 9:59 PM
The Quaker Valley boys soccer team is heading back to the PIAA Class AA state championship and they are starting to develop quite a sweet tooth.
“We love that Hershey chocolate,” senior forward Dom Reiter said.
With a 3-0 win over District 10 champion Mercyhurst Prep, the Quakers punched their ticket to the state championship for the third time in four years. The seniors on the team made the trip the first time as freshmen, won it as sophomores, and now they get a chance to capture the second state title of their high school career.
“It’s an incredible experience,” senior Franky Fernandez said. “Just being able to get back there and knowing that we’ve been there, it gives us a sense of relief. Now we are going to go in there confident and battle until the end.”
The Quakers (23-2) will face off with District 1 champion New Hope-Solebury (15-5) at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.
But on Wednesday night, the Quakers reached a new level of offensive efficiency, something they have been looking to tap into for a while.
They tallied a total of 25 shots, while only allowing the Lakers to garner three. Mercyhurst Prep goalie Mark Dipietro kept the 2019 WPIAL champions at bay for most of the night and made a total of 14 saves.
Quaker Valley’s first goal came off the foot of Reiter when he scored with just over four minutes remaining in the first half. After receiving a pass from Fernandez, he beat the Lakers defenders down the right side and blistered a shot past a diving Dipietro to put the Quakers ahead for good.
“It felt like we were getting shots on net, we were getting the chances, and we were getting good looks,” Reiter said. “Then, there was that ball from Franky and it was right on my foot and it made it very easy for me.”
With the way the offense was operating, the Quakers were looking for more than one goal and they almost got it midway through the second half. Rowan Kreibel was taken out in the penalty area and Fernandez stepped to the penalty spot.
The senior midfielder aimed his shot towards the bottom-left corner, but Dipietro came up with the biggest save of the night to keep the game at 1-0.
“He was huge in his last game. He kept us in the game right there,” Mercyhurst Prep coach Doug Bakka said. “It gave us a little lift and we went forward a few times, but in the end, the better team won.”
Around the 65th minute, the floodgates opened up for the Quakers. Tommy Guild finished off a low corner kick that leaked through the penalty box. Then, almost 30 seconds later, Kreibel drove down the left side and buried a shot into the back of the net.
For Quaker Valley coach Andrew Marshall, his team’s play throughout the night was a sign that they had reached a new level.
“We’ve been talking the last few weeks that we are on the edge of that next gear, we just hadn’t seemed to click into it,” Marshall said. “Tonight, I think we seemed to click into it.”
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .
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