BRYN MAWR — Lower Merion, the District 1 champion, was as good as advertised.
And that was bad news for the Chambersburg Trojans.
The Aces scored two first-half goals on penalty kicks and rode that advantage to a 4-0 victory over Chambersburg in a first-round Class 4A game in the PIAA Boys Soccer Tournament on Tuesday evening at Harriton H.S.
The Trojans were eliminated with a 13-8 record in their first appearance in the state tournament. Lower Merion (21-1) will face Pennridge in a quarterfinal game Saturday.
“They were the better team, so our goal was to keep it close, hold it to zero goals or one as long as possible, and then you never know,” Chambersburg coach Corey Grove said. “But having two soft penalty kicks go against us was a little frustrating. It made it hard to get the momentum back.
“It was 10-2 in fouls in the first half, which made it harder for us to get anything going.”
After the second PK, the Trojans did a good job of possessing the ball the rest of the half, and Michael Cespedes had a header got wide left off a corner kick late in the half.
But the Aces scored a goal early in the second half to douse Chambersburg’s hopes, and added another one with 25 minutes left.
Grove said, “They started nine seniors and had two more seniors off the bench who were really good. So they had good players. I didn’t think we played a bad game at all, but we made a few mistakes in the back and they capitalized on them.”
Lower Merion out-shot the Trojans 11-7, although Chambersburg had five corner kicks to four for the Aces. Trojan goalkeeper Drew Cover made seven saves.
“They were very organized in the back,” Grove said. “A lot of our strength in attack is winning 1-v-1 battles, but we weren’t able to beat them that way very often.”
Late in the game, Chambersburg had some of its best chances to score, but were unsuccessful. Cristian Lopez beat two defenders and hit a shot that deflected off a defender’s leg for a corner kick. Cohen Redding also got free for a shot, but hit it right at the goalkeeper.
Finally, a nifty back-heel pass from Redding to Goetz Dickman freed Dickman for a shot from about 12 yards out, but the Aces’ keeper tipped it away from the upper left corner.
Grove said, “The boys did something no other (Chambersburg) team had before. We only lose four starters, and although those four are good players, the younger guys got some great experience playing in states. If they take that experience and apply it down the road, it will really help us.”