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Blue Raiders boys soccer beats East Pennsboro, ties McDevitt

By Mitch Spear, Special to the Press & Journal
Posted 9/13/17


The Raiders went 1-0-1 last week with a win against East Pennsboro and an exciting double-overtime draw vs. Bishop McDevitt.

A match against Trinity on Tuesday, , Sept. 5, was …

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Blue Raiders boys soccer beats East Pennsboro, ties McDevitt


The Raiders went 1-0-1 last week with a win against East Pennsboro and an exciting double-overtime draw vs. Bishop McDevitt.

A match against Trinity on Tuesday, , Sept. 5, was rescheduled for Oct. 9 because of the weather.

Middletown 2, East Pennsboro 0

The Blue Raiders started the week Thursday with East Pennsboro and were quick to score (2:08) when Nate Nelson played a nice through ball to Thomas Einolf. Einolf took a nice touch and finesse shot around the East Pennsboro keeper, who came off his line to challenge the Raiders’ attacker. 

Despite the Raiders having possession for most of the first 20 minutes, Emmitt McKell (East Pennsboro) was able to create some space using his footwork and generated a shot from about 20 yards from goal that hit the crossbar and deflected out of play for East Pennsboro’s best opportunity of the game. 

Minutes later, a hard foul from East Pennsboro resulted in a free kick for the Blue Raiders. Donovan Brady made good of the direct kick and sent the ball about 60 yards toward goal where David Alcock perfectly timed his run to head the ball off the first bounce past the East Pennsboro keeper for the 2-0 lead (17:47). 

After the second goal, the intensity of the Raiders dropped and neither team created any rhythm or possession. 

The next good scoring chance came with less than five minutes to go in the half. Griffin Myers played a ball to Alcock that was just out of the keeper’s reach to play cleanly and Ben Knisely followed the loose ball, resulting in a quality shot from near range that failed to go in. 

Early in the second half, East Pennsboro had some deep possessions resulting in back-to-back corner kicks. On the second corner, Middletown was quick to counter-attack from a good clearance that found Thomas Einolf about 12 yards out and central from goal. The shot however, was struck just over the crossbar. 

Throughout the game, the Raiders enjoyed most of their possessions as a result of the relentless high pressure created by the forwards and attacking midfielders. The game plan of the high press resulted in multiple East Pennsboro turnovers and majority of play in the Raiders’ offensive half of the field. 

The contest ended with a 14-7 shot advantage in favor of the Raiders. The Raiders goal keepers ended with two saves from Tommy Lee in the first half and one save from Avery Williams in the second to preserve the shutout.

Middletown 1, McDevitt 1

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the Middletown Blue Raiders and Bishop McDevitt Crusaders rewarded the spectators with an entertaining match and 20 minutes of bonus soccer in a 1-1 draw. 

The Raiders once again got off to a fast start and early goal when Thomas Einolf took two consecutive shots. The initial save from Bishop McDevitt’s keeper, Gabe Keller, caromed back to the foot of Einolf, who made good of his second effort by placing the ball low to the keeper’s right just inside the near post. 

The first half was dominated by the Raiders with possession and shots. However, they were unable to generate an insurance goal. 

The Raiders looked determined to play through balls to the forwards and attacking midfielders; but their passes were weighted heavy and Keller committed to playing a high line that limited the Raiders scoring chances. 

McDevitt scored the equalizer in the 66th minute. Jon Fonner played the long ball to teammate Luke Husic standing directly on frame of goal. Husic headed the ball off the first bounce and directed the ball near post past Avery Williams in goal for Middletown. 

The goal energized the Crusaders, who minutes later nearly took the lead when Husic played a soft shot around Williams who came off his line to challenge the attacker. Donovan Brady, however, did not quit on the play and successfully performed a sliding clearance of the seemingly imminent goal. 

The Raiders were able to bounce back and nearly got the game winner in regulation when Derek Miller took a deep throw in to David Alcock who just headed the ball over the crossbar. 

The two 10-minute overtimes were all Raiders with multiple scoring opportunities. One of the best chances came off a pair of headers about eight yards out when Alcock on the right flank headed a cross back to the center of goal where Nate Nelson headed the ball just over the upper 90. 

The second good chance came in the second extra time when Anthony Lavia sent a through ball to Einolf who took a few touches and shot the ball about four yards away from the aggressive goaltending of Keller. Keller was rewarded with a game-saving reactive kick save that came off his extended right boot. The contest ended with a lopsided 23-7 shots advantage for the Raiders.    

The Raiders returned to action on Tuesday at West Perry (1-1), and Thursday at home against unbeaten and predicted division winner Camp Hill (5-0). Both contests are 7 p.m. starts for the varsity following the 5:30 junior varsity kickoff.

Junior varsity

The junior varsity team began its season against East Pennsboro and earned a 3-0 victory. 

All scoring took place in the second half. Griffin Myers scored the first two goals with assists from Garrett Miller and Tyrelle Gallitin-Scott, respectively. The third goal came unassisted from Erik Aidoo.

The JV boys lost their contest vs. Bishop McDevitt. The Raiders got on the board first with a goal from Zeryab Ibrahim (assisted by Mason Garza) in the first half. Bishop McDevitt, however, was able to respond with two second-half goals, handing the Raiders their first loss of the season and equalizing their record at 1-1.