The difference between two very good teams came down to one brilliant strike.
Zach Reed fired a shot from about 20 yards out into the upper corner of the goal to lift Manheim Central to a pulsating 3-2 overtime victory over Greencastle-Antrim in a District 3 Class 3A boys soccer semifinal Monday evening at Lower Dauphin Middle School.
Reed’s second goal of the game dashed a fine comeback by the Blue Devils, who found themselves behind 2-0 less than 19 minutes into the game.
“After we settled down, we played well,” G-A coach Scott Gelsinger said. “When you go down 2-0, that takes an awful lot to come back, but we did. I’m proud of them.”
Greencastle (17-4-1) will next play in the PIAA Tournament, with a first-round game on the road Tuesday, Nov. 7 against either the District 1 or District 2 winner. The Barons (13-5-2) will face Lower Dauphin in the District 3 final on Thursday at 5:30 at Hersheypark Stadium.
Manheim Central broke on top in the 9th minute when Carson Brenize ran onto a ball coming out of the G-A box and fired a shot just under the crossbar. Reed made it 2-0 nine minutes later when he touched a ball toward the middle, then placed a shot into the far side of the net.
But when it looked bleak, Greencastle started getting it together.
The midfield began winning more 50-50 balls and getting the ball into the offensive zone. Then the defense played more high pressure, and as a consequence, the Barons were trapped in their own end.
It resulted in a goal with 8:41 left in the first half. Josh Kline took a direct kick from the left side, Kaleb Hurley skimmed a header toward the far post and Jason Freeman was there to slam the ball home.
Gelsinger said, “We moved Josh Kline to the outside of midfield once they scored and it settled us down.”
The Blue Devils tied the game with 26:42 left in the second half. Ian Gelsinger and Kline worked a 1-2 on the right side, setting up Kline for a cross. His ball dropped over the defense to Brandon Stuhler, who popped it into the net.
Stuhler had a great chance with just over six minutes remaining, but his shot was blocked by Baron goalkeeper Mason Nissley.
“He made three great saves,” Gelsinger said. “I thought Brandon had that one.”
With two minutes left, Reed had a golden opportunity, but when he tried to lift the ball over oncoming Greencastle keeper Bryson Robinson, Robinson was able to smother the ball.
Ten minutes into OT, Manheim Central’s Gareth Kemp carried the ball into his offensive end and got the ball to Reed, who hit the shot that ended it.
“That kid hit two great shots,” Gelsinger said. “Our defense played well, but he’s pretty good.”
Manheim Central 3, Greencastle 2
Greencastle 1 1 0 — 2
Manheim Central 2 0 1 — 3
MC — Carson Brenize, 9th minute
MC — Zach Reed, 19th minute
GA — Jason Freeman, asst. Kaleb Hurley, Josh Kline, 33rd minute
GA — Brandon Stuhler, asst. Kline, Ian Gelsinger, 55th minute
MC — Reed, asst. Gareth Kemp, 91st minute
Shots — GA 13, MC 7. Shots on goal — GA 6, MC 5. Corner kicks — GA 5, MC 2. Saves — MC 4 (Mason Nissley), GA 2 (Bryson Robinson). Fouls — GA 14, MC 13. Caution — MC 1.