The Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers advanced to the Mason-Dixon Christian Conference Final Four by defeating Calvary Christian 3-2 on Tuesday in an MDCC quarterfinal playoff girls soccer game.
“We played with a lot of confidence tonight,” CVCS coach Paul Lundy said. “Even after getting down by a goal twice, we were able to answer both times. There is a lot of belief in ourselves right now and each player is trusting the other 10 players to do their job.”
The Blazers (7-6) will play at Grace Academy Thursday in the MDCC semifinals. The finals and consolation will be at CVCS on Saturday.
Calvary’s Emily Wilson opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game after a corner kick, but Katlin Provard tied it midway through the first half on an assist from Taylor Heck. Calvary went back up three minutes later when Madi O’Brien scored, but Kyleigh Teal retied the game with five minutes left in the half on an assist from Laurel Reitz.
“We were playing into a stiff wind to start the game, and Calvary was able to capitalize on a corner kick and a deep shot in the first half,” Lundy said. “Especially after we gave up the second goal, we were able to settle in and start executing our game plan. We held possession on their half of the field and were able to get some good shots on the goal. When we played them last week (a 2-1 double-overtime loss at Calvary), we only managed to register three shots on goal for the entire game. I told the players tonight if we could get to 10 shots we would win, and it turns out we did exactly that on both counts.”
About midway through the second half, two freshmen combined for the game-deciding goal. Kendra Bard sent a pass across the field to Rachel Hepler, who directed a shot into the goal.
“We subbed them in to give our starting wings a few minutes’ breather before entering the home stretch,” Lundy said. “They took matters into their own hands, and Kendra sent a beautiful cross to Rachel on the opposite side of the field, and Rachel had a strong touch that beat their keeper into the far corner of the net. She has scored in our last two games, but this one tonight will go down in Blazer lore for years to come. Both Kendra and Rachel did what I ask all my players to do: be in the right place at the right time and hit the ball well when you get the chance. There was nothing flashy about the game-winner. Each player just simply did their job and connected at the right time.”
The Blazers held advantages of 10-4 in shots and 4-1 in corner kicks. Blazer goalkeeper Jalen Moats made a pair of saves.
“Maddie Eberly played through an injury suffered early in the game and was excellent on defense,” Lundy said. “Hunter Timmons was a force defensively for us and really set up our offense with several long through balls from the back line. It’s no surprise to see Katlin and Kyleigh on the list of goal scorers. They are both playing very well.”