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Raider boys soccer team secures 2nd place in Wyomissing season-opening tournament

Posted 9/4/19

By Mitch Spear

Special to the Press & Journal

For a second straight year, the Blue Raider boys soccer team kicked off its season playing in the Wyomissing invitational soccer tournament, …

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Raider boys soccer team secures 2nd place in Wyomissing season-opening tournament

Posted

By Mitch Spear

Special to the Press & Journal

For a second straight year, the Blue Raider boys soccer team kicked off its season playing in the Wyomissing invitational soccer tournament, taking second over the weekend — also for the second straight year.

The Blue Raiders opened their divisional play Tuesday, a home match against Bishop McDevitt.

They follow this up with two games on the road; the first against West Perry at 7 p.m. Thursday and at Susquehanna Township at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Middletown 1, Schuylkill Valley 0

In their first game, the Raiders were paired against the Schuylkill Valley Panthers. The contest proved to be a fairly even match with both teams playing a similar style and having equal depth off the bench.

The Panthers were first to generate offensive pressure but found it difficult to find clear shooting lanes. The Raiders countered with a run to the corner from Joey Spear where the cross was squared to Danial Lugo, who recorded the first shot attempt on the season for the Raiders.

The Panthers were able to fend off the next five minutes of sustained pressure from the Raiders, when they countered with speed and found the space needed out wide on the wing. This space allowed the team to generate a nice shot across the goal mouth. However, Caleb Springer was up to the challenge, making a nice stretch save.

The Panthers had their best chance of the first half with three minutes remaining in the first half, when their winger got beyond the Raider defense and was left open out wide. The Panther attacker cut the ball back to set up a right-footed shot. The strike, however, sailed over the crossbar to keep the game scoreless at the half.

The second half played out in a similar manner, with each team absorbing pressure in their defensive third.

Johnny Jumper was strong in the backfield for the Raiders, blocking two shots and disrupting multiple pass attempts. The rest of the defensive line was stout as well, limiting quality chances from the Panthers.

Perhaps the best chance for the Panthers came with less than 15 minutes remaining, when they were finally able to get a ball past Springer in net. However, Joe Cuneo did well to hold the goal line and made a strong defensive save, preserving the Raider shutout.

With 9:30 left in the second half, the Raiders generated all the offense needed to record a victory.  The tally came from a punt of Springer that fell to the foot of Griffin Meyer holding the halfway line. Meyer took several touches towards goal before pushing the ball back out to his left. The last touch provided the separation needed away from the center back to get a clean look at frame.

With the Panther keeper moving to his right holding near post, Meyer struck the ball across the goal line, kissing the inner far post before finding the back of the net for the game winner. 

Wyomissing 3, Middletown 0

The championship game paired the Blue Raiders against Wyomissing — which earlier defeated Muhlenberg, 4-0 — for the second consecutive year.

The Spartans proved too much for the Raiders as the majority of the game was played in the Raider defensive third.

The Raiders looked content to play a prevent style defense and look for an occasional quick counter. The strategy did well with this compact defensively minded formation by limiting quality chances and open looks at goal for the Spartans.

The Spartans, not finding passing lanes, were forced to shoot the majority of their attempts from 20-plus yards out where Springer could easily protect his goal.

The Spartans, however, broke onto the score board in the ninth minute when a seemly harmless ball was sent in high toward goal. The Spartan attacker was able to simultaneously contend for the ball in the mix of defense and the Raiders’ keeper to just get just enough of the ball and direct it weakly into the net for a 1-0 Wyomissing lead.

Early in the second half, the Spartans doubled their lead when a ball was played out wide and beyond the defensive back line. The speed of Meyer was able to catch the Spartans attacker; he tackled the ball away from their forward. However, the tackle left both on the ground, providing time needed for the midfielder to clean up the garbage and push the ball past Springer’s side netting to make it 2-0.

The Spartans added one more on perhaps the best goal of the contest. The powerful strike came from over 20 yards out, beating Springer with rapid pace and great placement to wrap up the game at 3-0.