Bellefonte’s game on Tuesday night wasn’t just another league game.
In soccer, a sport that is anything but predictable, the eighth-seeded Red Raiders seemed to have the edge on paper against No. 9 Bishop Carroll in the first round of the District 6 Class AA playoffs at Rogers Stadium. Those seeds held true, however, as the Raiders edged the Huskies 2-1 to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals against top-seeded Bedford. Kickoff is set at 5:30 p.m. in Bedford.
On Tuesday, the evenly matched Raiders and Huskies found themselves in a scoreless tie through the first half behind strong defensive play.
Eight minutes into the second half, Bellefonte found the offense it needed, as senior Tyler Rudloff sent a throw-in to teammate Mark Coll, who then fed the ball directly back to him. With the defense off-balance, Rudloff crossed the ball from the right sideline directly to Nate Shippe, who executed the perfect header to give the Red Raiders a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, Chauncey Blakeslee took a corner kick, which Bishop Carroll was unable to clear. The ball bounced around inside the box before Raider Noah Gaus fired it into the net for Bellefonte’s game-winner.
“If you see (the ball) there, just run through whoever is there and put in the back of the net,” Gaus said about his goal. “And I did exactly what (coach Scott Martz) said, and it went in.”
Trailing 2-0, the Huskies pressed for a score and put a lot of pressure on Bellefonte goalie Matt Feldman and the Raider defense.
“We just had all that pressure down there and it made me a little bit nervous, but the defense held strong and the Matt did a great job in goal for us,” Martz said.
Martz also pointed out the play of Ben Herr on defense, especially a save when Feldman was caught out of position and Herr was able to get behind his teammate and kick away a shot headed directly toward the net.
“He consistently shut down plays,” Martz said of Herr.
“My defense is what makes mes look good, and they proved it (tonight),” said Feldman, who finished with nine saves.
Herr’s save was key as the Huskies finally found the net with 18 minutes left to play when CJ Wiewiora redirected a header past Feldman to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Raiders held firm over the final minutes to preserve the victory.
Bishop Carroll goalie Mitchell Hogue made six saves.