CHAMBERSBURG — Having a one-goal lead in a district playoff soccer game is a great thing. Having a two-goal lead is a luxury.
But having a three-goal lead — as Chambersburg did over Wilson at halftime in a District 3 Class 4A first-round boys game Tuesday night at Trojan Stadium — is almost too much to ask for.
The Trojans’ offense had a sizzling first half to post a 3-0 lead, then the defense made it stand up in a 3-1 victory.
Chambersburg (12-6), the No. 5 seed, will play at the No. 4 seed, Northeastern (16-3), in a quarterfinal match Saturday, with time to be determined. The Bobcats edged Harrisburg 3-2 in the first round.
“The first goal really set the tone, the forwards played well, and having a 3-0 lead at halftime … you can’t ask for more than that,” Trojan midfielder Cohen Redding said.
“I was worried coming into this,” Chambersburg coach Corey Grove said, “because we’ve been banged up with some nagging injuries and some kids were sick over the weekend. So the fact that these boys got together and played well was really good.
“We were killing it in the first half.”
The Bulldogs, who finish 11-6-2, had the first chance of the game when Rocco Parella hit a shot just outside the post. But once the Trojans settled down, they dominated the rest of the first half.
Most of the best work came on the left side of the offense, with Cristian Lopez carrying the load. He repeatedly beat his man down to the corner or end line, or was able to pass inside to teammates.
“Their defense was pushed up, so we took advantage of that,” Lopez said.
Redding put up the first goal of the game, in the 14th minute when he took a pass from Izhais Jean, turned the ball to his right side and bombed in a shot from just outside 20 yards.
“I checked over my shoulder and saw Izhais, and he passed me the ball,” Redding said. “I was going to pass it, but I saw I had some space in front of me, so I shot and the ball had a little deflection and went in.”
Lopez said, “Getting the lead in games like this sets the tone and gives the whole team momentum.”
Six minutes later, it became 2-0. Brycen Kuhns, from the left side, sent a ball into the middle that bounced off a couple of Wilson defenders and went to the foot of Michael Cespedes. Chambersburg’s leading scorer (16 goals) knew what to do with it and poked it into the net from about 10 yards out.
With just over two minutes left in the half, the Trojans added the dagger.
Mario Wiesman worked the ball into the left corner, beat a pair of defenders with superlative moves, then cracked a low shot into the side netting on the far side of the goal. And it was 3-0.
Grove said, “We have some nice attacking threats and we have pace on the wings. Wilson had four seniors and three were on the back line, so we thought we’d have to exploit their wing backs, and take advantage of our chances.”
In the second half, he Bulldogs made it more interesting when Carson Peck knocked in a shot with 23:36 remaining. That gave Wilson a spark and the Bulldogs showed a lot more life for the next 8-10 minutes.
But they could not get any more shots off and Trojan goalkeeper Drew Cover finished with zero saves.
“We had a goal to give up zero goals,” Grove said. “We have to be solid as a unit and be tough to break down. If you can frustrate the other team it wears on them and that’s when you can maybe turn it around and put one in the back of the net.”
NOTES: Chambersburg out-shot Wilson, 10-4 … The Trojans were caught offsides four times in the first half, but none in the second … Northeastern edged the Trojans 1-0 in a first-round playoff game last year.
Chambersburg 3, Wilson 1
Wilson 0 1 — 1
Chambersburg 3 0 — 3
C — Cohen Redding, asst. by Izhais Jean, 14th minute
C — Michael Cespedes, asst. Brycen Kuhns, 20th minute
C — Mario Wiesman, unassisted, 37th minute
W — Carson Peck, unassisted, 58th minute
Shots — Wil 4; Chbg 10. Shots on goal — Wil 1; Chbg 5. Corner kicks — Wil 2; Chbg 3. Saves — Wil 2 (Tyler Wentzel); Chbg 0 (Drew Cover). Fouls — Wil 8; Chbg 7. Offsides — Wil 0; Chbg 4.