Whenever you get a matchup of two evenly matched teams, all it takes is one break.
That break went against the State College boys’ soccer team on Tuesday night inside Tiger Stadium.
The Little Lions fell 1-0 to Seneca Valley in double overtime in the first round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament.
“I feel bad for the boys,” State College coach Danny Orton said. “About five minutes before they scored, I told the coaches how proud I am of that performance. The game was played at 1,000 miles an hour.”
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After the teams went scoreless for nearly 107 minutes, the Raiders turned a turnover into a game winner.
The Little Lions (14-7) were on the offensive and deep in Seneca Valley’s territory. The Raiders were able to push the ball back out to midfield and onto the foot of Kurt Wagner on the near sideline.
Wagner sent a deep chip pass over several State College defenders to his teammate Matthew Happ. Happ dribbled around another defender and left him against Little Lion goalkeeper Jason Keller. Happ drove in and rocketed the ball toward the lower left corner, past a diving Keller for the game-winning goal with 2:28 remaining in double overtime.
“It was going to be something like that,” Orton said. “A long ball, a nice cut inside and a good finish.”
The teams were evenly matched all night long finishing regulation with nine shots a piece. In the first overtime, the Raiders were dominant, taking six shots while State College failed to record a shot.
Keller finished with six saves. All night long, the defense cleared any chances Seneca Valley had.
The Raiders are now 19-1-1. Their first loss of the season came last week in the District 7 championship game against North Allegheny. The pair will square off again in the quarterfinals.
“We are very, very excited,” Seneca Valley coach George Williams said. “That was a really, really good State College team, who had a very organized defense and attack. They put us on our heels very quickly. We were a little concerned more than once when they were coming at us.
“We were able to hold them off. We got lucky a couple of times. They had good chances. We had good chances. In the end, we were able to put one of ours away.”