CHAMBERSBURG — OK, so there weren’t any goals scored.
But that doesn’t take anything away from the excellent boys soccer game played by Greencastle-Antrim and Chambersburg at Trojan Stadium on Saturday.
The teams combined for 32 shots, goalkeepers were forced to make 14 saves — several of the acrobatic variety — and the action went end-to-end for much of the 0-0 non-league clash.
In the end, both teams had periods of dominant play, both teams had several great scoring chances and both teams got to play a tough opponent before beginning the playoffs.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t win, but it was a great game to prepare for the playoffs,” Blue Devil coach Scott Gelsinger said.
Trojan coach Corey Grove said, “It was a good game to end (the regular season) on. Greencastle is super athletic, with veterans who know how to play the game. We lacked a little maturity compared to them (G-A started 8 seniors, Chambersburg 4), but I thought it was a great game.”
In the end, the goalkeepers shone brightest.
Just a few minutes in, a ball popped loose to Brandon Stuhler of Greencastle, who was in a great spot to put away his 30th goal of the season. But Trojan keeper Andrew Armstrong charged out and the shot deflected off his arm.
Later in the first half, in which the Blue Devils had the better of possession and shots taken (8-3), Rob Hockman hit a point-blank shot that Armstrong gathered in.
With three minutes left, Chambersburg’s top scorer, Asher Schwartz (9 goals), maneuvered into position and hit a low, hard shot to the near corner that G-A keeper Bryson Robinson smothered.
Early in the second half, the Trojans could not get a body on a ball bouncing near the goal line and Devil defender Avery Wenger cleared it. Robinson saved good shots by Schwartz and Emmanuel Hewitt in about a 30-second span.
Hewitt did put a ball into the net with 2:15 left, but he was called offsides.
Grove said, “We just have to take advantage of our opportunities better.”
In the first OT, Armstrong caught a hard shot taken by Kaleb Hurley, and Robinson launched himself airborne to grab a shot by Griffin Redding.
“Bryson had good position, plus he was able to hold onto to some really hard shots,” Gelsinger said.
Great battles played out all over the field. In the first half, Greencastle central midfielders Hurley and Josh Kline got the best of Griffin Redding, Connor Gniewek and Tyler Luther, but Chambersburg turned that around in the second half and that’s how the Trojans created many more chances, especially when they got wing Chuy Munoz involved.
Chambersburg central defenders had their hands full with Stuhler and Jared Rohrbaugh, but Aaron Maynard and Caleb Gayman were up to the task.
Gelsinger said, “Gayman did a good job on Brandon. He’s tall enough and was always in the right place.”
“With their speed and skills, we couldn’t let them get the ball and run at us with pace,” Grove said of the G-A forwards. “I thought we did a great job of limiting that.”
At the other end, Ian Gelsinger was tasked with neutralizing Schwartz and he allowed only two decent shots.
Greencastle (15-2-1) will host State College (11-2-1) in a Mid Penn semifinal Tuesday at 7 p.m., while Chambersburg (10-3-4) gets the week off.
Both teams have likely secured home games for the first round of District 3 playoffs. G-A will host on Monday, Oct. 23 and the Trojans on Tuesday, Oct. 24.