GREENCASTLE — The Greencastle-Antrim girls soccer team came into Saturday’s District 3 Class 3A semifinal game with a 15-0 record, averaging 4.6 goals per game, and had scored fewer than two goals only once all season.
But the Blue Devils’ offense met its match in the stifling defense of Lampeter-Strasburg, led by junior center back Jenna Daveler.
A Pioneer goal by Danielle Di Pace with 12:20 remaining in the second half was the only score and L-S went home with a 1-0 victory at Kaley Field. The No. 6-seeded Pioneers (10-3-2) will play at Mechanicsburg (13-2) in the district title game on Tuesday after the Wildcats knocked off No. 1 seed Elco, 2-1, in two overtimes.
“I watched two games of theirs, and I could see their defense was really good,” G-A coach Chris Noblit said of L-S. “Gettysburg scored more goals than us and they hardly got across half field against (L-S) and the same thing with Northern.”
Lampeter-Strasburg was as good as advertised.
Greencastle, which finished 15-1 in Noblit’s first season as head coach, basically had four chances to score — all in the second half. A promising through ball to Mia Libby, that would have created a 1-on-1 with goalkeeper Maggie Johnson, was halted by a close offsides call. Near the end, center back Rylee Henson worked her way upfield and took a good shot that went about three feet over the bar.
Striker Courtney Andruczk took a fine pass from Kendyl Moats, but her shot was smothered by Johnson. Earlier, Andruczk appeared to have an edge on Daveler, but just as she got her shot off, Daveler stuck out her foot and redirected the ball over the end line.
Noblit said, “Their defense was phenomenal. That No. 12 (Daveler) was sweeping plays away everywhere. Any attack we made, she closed it down. Courtney didn’t really have any space to work with until the second half.”
Daveler’s quickness countered Andruczk’s fine ball skills and prevented Andruczk from playing successfully with her back to the goal in the first half. In the second, the Blue Devils tried to spring her with more through balls and that created more chances.
Also, the Pioneers’ Kendall Hadesty prevented G-A left wing Haley Noblit from finding much room and Lane Kopelman helped control the Blue Devils’ Avery Parks in the midfield.
Meanwhile, the G-A defense was also posting a shutout. In fact, Lampeter-Strasburg’s first good chance did not come until midway through the second half when Henson made a rare mistake to lose the ball and Di Pace got off a good shot, but it was deflected away by Greencastle keeper Sydra Royer.
Royer, in her high-flying style, made several fine saves and raced out of her box to kick away several long balls. But she would probably like to have one play back.
G-A was called for a foul and the Pioneers’ Lane Kopelman took the free kick from 30 yards away. She struck a really hard, waist-high shot that came straight at Royer, but the knuckling ball handcuffed her a bit. The ball took a short bounce away from her and Di Pace pounced on it to knock it into the net.
“I’ll never be able to replace Royer, who is the best goalkeeper I’ve seen,” Noblit said. “That girl hit a hard line drive and Royer was coming out full speed and that made it a tough play for her.”
Despite the defeat, Greencastle made huge strides this year, winning the Mid Penn Colonial Division title and going unbeaten during the regular season. And the Blue Devils lose only three senior starters — Royer defender Sayge Wilhide and wing Ella Hileman.
Lampeter-Strasburg 1, Greencastle-Antrim 0
Lampeter-Strasburg 0 1 — 1
Greencastle-Antrim 0 0 — 0
LS — Danielle Di Pace, asst. Lane Kopelman, 68:40
Shots — LS 10; GA 7. Shots on goal — LS 6; GA 3. Saves — LS 3 (Maggie Johnson); GA 5 (Sydra Royer). Corner kicks — LS 3; GA 7. Fouls — LS 12; GA 7; Offside — LS 1 GA 1.