C.dock falls to New Hope
It was not for a lack of desire that the Christopher Dock boys soccer team had its season end in the District One Class A semifinDOs IRr WKH WKLrd sWrDLJKW season.
,W wDs D ODFN RI finLsKLnJ their scoring chances that did in the Pioneers Friday night.
While second-seeded, Dock could not put a ball into the net on a number RI RSSRrWunLWLHs Ln WKH firsW half, Jack Natale scored off a corner kick 8:3V from halftime as No. 3 New Hope-Solebury came away with the 1-0 win at Christopher Dock.
“Came in at the beginning of this year, wanting to get that district title, I almost wanted that more than the state title,” Dock senior Ryan Thomas said. “And it’s just that I guess it wasn’t our year.”
Christopher Dock had earned a pair of one-goal victories over the Lions in the regular season, but after the two-time defending district and PIAA champs went ahead on Natale’s goal, the Pioneers were unable create a consistent offensive attack needed to collect an equalizer.
“We never established any rhythm whatsoever in this game,” Dock coach Matt Moyer said. “I credit New Hope. They take advantage of a set piece and that’s something we talk about as a program, too, how important that moment is and they took advantage of that moment.”
In the opening 40 minutes, Dock was stopped twice by New Hope-Solebury goalkeeper Lucas Ebeling, and was also unable to take advantage of Ebeling losing a ball inside the Lions’ 18yard box.
“:H’vH JRW WR finLsK when we have opportunities. We’re not going to get opportunities,” Thomas sDLd. “TKHy finLsK Rn WKHLr opportunity. And we just didn’t.”
New Hope-Solebury advances to face No. 5 Plumstead Christian in the district finDO 0RndDy DW D sLWH Dnd time to be announced. In WKH firsW JDPH RI D sHPLfinDO doubleheader at Christopher Dock, Plumstead upset topseeded Faith Christian 1-0 in double overtime.
“Last year and the year before we had exceptional teams, exceptional players,” said Natale of the Lions’ two state title sides. “This year, we started out, we knew we had a very good team, but we didn’t know we were going to be at the level we were the past two years. But I think the last couple weeks, our team’s really proved itself and made a name for New Hope again.”
Christopher Dock won nine of 10 District One Class A titles from 2000-200V, with New Hope-Solebury being the lone non-Dock champ in 2006. But since winning the last of their four PIAA championships during that run in ’0V, the Pioneers KDvH EHHn unDEOH WR find D way out of the district tournament.
“One of our objectives is to get in the state playoffs. So, yes, on a personal level, I’m very disappointed,” Moyer said. “But you know what, you just keep moving on, you keep coaching, you keep training kids to get better. And there’s no giving up around here.”
New Hope-Solebury, meanwhile, has won its last 16 postseason contests — eight in District One, eight in PIAA play.
In scoring the game’s lone goal, Natale was unmarked right in the middle of the Pioneers’ box, and was able to make a free run onto an Alan Smith corner kick and bury the ball into the back of the goal.
“We work on those plays all the time. Sometimes it just works out that way,” Natale said. “Dock made a mistake, didn’t mark me. Wide open, easy header.”
EDrOLHr Ln WKH firsW KDOI, Ebeling kept junior Ethan Neal from scoring at the left post after Neal received a cross on the ground from senior Robby Johnson. Senior Matt Beljan tested the Lions keeper with a shot from the top of the box, but Ebeling parried it over the crossbar.
Neal had another opportunity as Ebeling lost control of the ball after coming off his line, but Neal pushed his shot wide right.
Christopher Dock’s Robby Johnson and New Hope-Solebury’s Jack Natale go for a ball during Friday’s District One Class AA semifinal action.