CHAMBERSBURG — Style points do not matter in playoff games. Just find a way to win.
Chambersburg boys soccer coach Corey Grove reminded his team of that before Tuesday night’s District 3 Class 4A first-round game at Trojan Stadium.
He also told them the same thing after the Trojans produced a 2-0 victory over J.P. McCaskey.
“We preached to them that some games it’s OK to win ugly,” Grove said. “It doesn’t matter in the playoffs. But you do have to play solid defense in order to give yourself a chance.”
Chambersburg (12-5-1), the No. 8 seed, will travel on Saturday to Dallastown to take on the No. 1 seed Wildcats (21-0), with the starting time at noon.
Grove got his wish for solid defense. The Trojans allowed a total of five shots by the Red Tornados (16-3), and the only real chance came on a header by Peter Chol with 10:50 left that was snagged after a dive by goalkeeper Garrett Carter.
“We knew they were pretty good, but we go into every game looking for a shutout,” Chambersburg center back Caleb Gayman said. “We always try to press up on the strikers — as soon as they get the ball we’re on their backs and they can’t get into the positions they want.”
Grove said, “Last year teams found some space between our center midfield and the center backs, and this year we’re trying to keep the backs higher and not allow that space. We did that tonight.”
The Trojans dictated play in the early going and were rewarded by a goal in the eighth minute.
After a shot by Jose Morales was saved off the line by a Red Tornado defender, Mikey Williams’ shot ricocheted off a defender and went to Kenan Korkutovich on the left wing. Korkutovich’s shot spun past keeper Grady Bachman into the back of the net.
Chambersburg continued to press the action in the first half, out-shooting McCaskey 11-2. Bachman made a fingertip save of a Williams shot bound for just inside the right post to keep it 1-0.
Early in the second half, McCaskey was able to possess the ball more, although it did not result in any shots.
“You know there are moments of the game when it will turn around, and you have to buckle down and get through it,” Grove said. “That’s what happened — the first 15 minutes or so they were better, but we kept our shape.”
And then came the dagger.
Exactly midway through the latter half, Tanner Luther, who had switched places with Aaron Maynard and was playing midfield instead of center back, ignited the play that led to the final goal by hitting Calvin Carlin with a perfectly weighted pass that put Carlin behind the defense.
Luther said, “We talked at halftime and said I’d be sending him that diagonal ball like that, so I knew he’s be making that run.”
Carlin crashed in from the right wing and made no mistake, driving a low shot into the far-side netting.
“I saw it was set up for that through ball, and I knew he’d get it to me,” Carlin said. “I looked up and saw the keeper was not in good position — he was too close to the near post.”
Grove said, “The most important thing was getting that first goal. And it was nice to see that the two guys who scored tonight got their first goals of the season.”
He was also happy with the Luther-Maynard tandem. Luther started on defense, but switched with Maynard for about half of the game.
“I like playing midfield — it give me more freedom and I might get a chance to score,” Luther said.
Chambersburg 2, McCaskey 0
McCaskey 0 0 — 0
Chambersburg 1 1 — 2
C — Kenan Korkutovic, asst. Mikey Williams, 8th minute
C — Calvin Carlin, asst. Tanner Luther, 60th minute
Shots — McC 5; Chbg 19. Shots on goal — McC 2; Chbg 15. Corner kicks — McC 3; Chbg 7. Saves — McC 13 (Grady Bachman 11, defense 2); Chbg 2 (Garrett Carter). Fouls — McC 4; Chbg 7. Offsides — McC 1; Chbg 5.