Con­estoga, Hen­der­son go for dis­trict crown

CON­ESTOGA-HEN­DER­SON RE­MATCH WIL BE FOR DIS­TRICT TITLE ‘Three Ami­gos:’ Pioneers’ trio keys Con­estoga’s win over North Penn

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bruce Adams badams@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @mline­s­ports on Twit­ter

When Con­estoga mid­fielder Blaise Mi­lanek fired home a goal at the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond half to break a score­less tie and put the Pioneers ahead for good in the Dis­trict 1 4A semi­fi­nal Wed­nes­day evening, Con­estoga head coach David Zim­mer­man thought it was fit­ting that the scor­ing com­bi­na­tion was the se­nior trio of de­fender Gabe Harms to for­ward Ma­son Miller to Mi­lanek.

“They’re known as the ‘Three Ami­gos’ — all three of them played on the var­sity as fresh­men, they play on the same club team, and they’ve been the core of our team the last three years,” said Zim­mer­man. “And this win was their last soccer game for Con­estoga on Teamer Field.”

In front of packed house at Teamer, Mi­lanek scored 45 sec­onds into the sec­ond half, then 14 min­utes later Miller tal­lied give the hosts a 2-0 lead. North Penn ral­lied for a goal by se­nior de­fender Noah Kwort­nik with 10:06 left, but the vis­i­tors could do no more and the Pioneers (210) won, 2-1, to ad­vance to the Dis­trict 1 cham­pi­onship.

The cham­pi­onship against No. 2 West Ch­ester Hen­der­son (19-11), will be played Satur­day at 5:30 p.m. at Great Val­ley High School. Hen­der­son’s only loss this sea­son was a 2-1 over­time de­feat against

Con­estoga on Sept. 6.

For the first 40 min­utes of Wed­nes­day’s dis­trict semi­fi­nal, No. 5 North Penn bat­tled un­de­feated Con­estoga to a score­less draw, and the score was 0-0 at half­time.

“I thought Con­estoga had the ad­van­tage for the first 10-12 min­utes of the first half,” said North Penn head coach Paul Duddy. “Then we played them pretty much even the rest of the half. But in the sec­ond half, they dom­i­nated us.”

Con­estoga put the pres­sure on North Penn right af­ter half­time, which led to Mi­lanek’s goal 45 sec­onds into the sec­ond half.

“For the first five min­utes of each half, we try to put the pres­sure on our op­po­nent, try to keep the ball in their ter­ri­tory,” Zim­mer­man said, “When you start a game, play­ers might be a lit­tle ner­vous, their touch might not be there, and mis­takes can be made. Those mis­takes are am­pli­fied if you make them in your own ter­ri­tory, so we try to par­tic­u­larly push the ball [deep into op­pos­ing] ter­ri­tory the first few min­utes of a half.”

Miller, who was the mid­dle­man in the first score, echoed his coach: “The first five min­utes, we try to keep up the pres­sure, keep the ball up on their end. When Gabe [Harms] brought the ball up, I could see that there were two guys on him, I called for the ball, and he passed it to me. I saw Blaise com­ing over to­ward the goal, and passed it to him, and he put it in.”

Mi­lanek said, “We al­ways try to start the half with the pres­sure up for the first five min­utes. It was a set piece - Gabe passed the ball down the line to Ma­son, and then [Ma­son] and I made eye con­tact, amd he got it to me.”

Duddy said, “We made a mis­take on the far side early in the sec­ond half [lead­ing to the goal by Mi­lanek], and you can’t make mis­takes against a team like Con­estoga — that’s why they’re 21-0. Con­estoga is very good on set pieces, they de­fend well and they’re fast. They’re very good ev­ery­where.”

Con­estoga’s sec­ond goal came when Miller worked his way from the right cor­ner into the mid­dle, where he saw an open­ing and fired it in to give the hosts a 2-0 lead with 25:10 to play.

The Pioneers con­tin­ued their sharp pass­ing and ball con­trol well into the sec­ond half, and ap­peared the have the game in hand when North Penn worked the ball deep into Con­estoga ter­ri­tory and se­nior de­fender Noah Kwort­nik chipped in a goal to make it 2-1 with 10:06 left. But the vis­i­tors could do no more.

“North Penn is a tough team, and they didn’t give up,” Zim­mer­man said. “When they scored to make it 2-1, I told our wings to get back, and with less than five min­utes left, we tried to play in the cor­ners. I thought we did a good job of lim­it­ing their chances at the end of the game.”

Duddy said, “We have 3-4 pretty dan­ger­ous at­tack­ing play­ers, and Con­estoga did a good job of shut­ting them down.”

BILL RUDICK — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Fly­ing High: West Ch­ester Hen­der­son’s Ai­den McFad­den soars to score on a header dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s dis­trict semi­fi­nal win over Coun­cil Rock North.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Dual Duel: North Penn’s Nate Bax­ter and Con­estoga Mike McCarthy (99) col­lide in the late min­utes of the first half Wed­nes­day evening.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

For the Block: North Penn’s Eric Szi­lagyi (16) and Jack John­ston (24) han­dle a header as Con­estoga’s Lo­gan Schwartz (2) and Blaise Mi­lanek (13) watch in the first half of their DIs­trict 1 semi­fi­nal at Teamer Field Wed­nes­day evening.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Con­estoga’s Blaise Mi­lanek (13) and North Penn’s Mike Kohler (8) col­lide on a header in the first half Wed­nes­day at Teamer Field.

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