Boys soccer beats SL for title
When Northwestern Lehigh and Southern Lehigh meet in soccer, don’t figure on too many goals being scored. The two teams played to a scoreless tie in their regular season meeting and the District 11 final was no different.
The two teams played 80 minutes of scoreless soccer again, but this time there had to be a winner. In the ninth minute of overtime, Jeff Garcia used a spectacular bicycle kick to break the scoreless tie and send Northwestern to a 1-0 win and back into states for the fourth time in five seasons.
On the game-winning goal, Garcia made the play on a throw-in from Ryan Baker and positioned the ball perfectly to guide it past goalkeeper Jack Cyr for the game-winning goal.
“Brilliant. An amazing finish by Jeff,” said Tiger head coach Nate Hunsicker of the play. “He’s been struggling a little bit this year scoring goals and for him to get that tonight, I couldn’t be happier for him.
After a scoreless regulation, Hunsicker admitted that he sort of threw the playbook away and was looking for some sort of freestyle move from his players to get the win.
“We told them ‘boys, take any chance you have, you never know,’” said Hunsicker. “It’s an incredibly difficult shot, but he pulled it off.”
In addition to saves from goalkeeper Zach Rosamalia, Colin Coffield came up with a big defensive save when Landon Bealer caught Rosamalia out of position, but Coffield stepped in to make the save.
“It wasn’t our most perfect game, but we were all working hard and we all wanted it,” said Garcia. “We all put our best effort into it and we all worked for it.”
After playing so much soccer against Southern Lehigh without getting a goal, the team may have been pressing a little bit.
“It was getting a little frustrating that we couldn’t find the back of the net,” said Baker. “But we got the result we wanted, so we’re happy with it now.”
The win sends Northwestern into a first-round state tournament game against Holy Ghost Prep, the second-place team from District One that is currently 14-6-0 on the year. The Firebirds lost to Strath Haven in the district championship game.
“Falling a little bit short in the Colonial League playoffs was a little bit of a disappointment and we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” said Hunsicker. “We knew that we were underperforming toward the end of the season and we came into this tournament with a focus really on regaining that district championship and getting back to the state championship.”