Hawks drop heart­breaker in 1st round

Hawks fall to Her­shey 1- 0

The Hamburg Area Item - - Sports - By Jeff De­wees

HER­SHEY » The Ham­burg Hawks showed up at Her­shey High School Mon­day evening as de­cided un­der­dogs for their Dis­trict 3 Class 3A first- round boys’ soc­cer clash with the home­s­tand­ing and fourth- seeded Tro­jans. It hardly played out that way. Ham­burg and Her­shey were so thor­oughly and evenly matched – skill level, tac­ti­cally, sta­tis­ti­cally – that nei­ther team could find the back of the net in reg­u­la­tion. It took a put- back of a carom off the post 4: 58 into over­time to set­tle the mat­ter in fa­vor of Her­shey, 1- 0, end­ing Ham­burg’s sea­son in heart­break­ing fash­ion.

“No­body could get one home,” Ham­burg head coach Chris Zalasky said. “And that goes for them though, too, ex­cept at the end. It’s the ef­fort we’ve had all year, and we’ve played top­notch com­pe­ti­tion. We came here and knew they were prob­a­bly gonna come at us. Af­ter 10 min­utes, we knew that we could hang and be just as good as them, if not bet­ter.”

Bran­don Moreno’s put- back in the box to the right side, off Dante Hunter’s ini­tial of­fer­ing, was the only sep­a­ra­tor be­tween two squads who, de­spite their dis­parate rank­ings ( Ham­burg was seeded 13th), played 80 min­utes to a dead heat.

Hunter found enough space in the box to clang a shot off the left goal­post which re­bounded to Mo­rano’s right foot; Her­shey’s mid­sea­son JV call- up con­fi­dently struck the ball and it found the back of the net at 84: 58 to end it.

The Hawks ( 9- 9- 2) en­tered the golden goal over­time ses­sion with a 5- 4 edge in shots on tar­get; cor­ners were even at 5 apiece. Both teams pre­ferred to play out to the wings, look­ing for crosses in the box while be­ing pa­tient with coun­ter­at­tacks – care­ful not to get over­ag­gres­sive and stretched out of shape. Oc­ca­sional mid­field for­ays were snuffed by stout back­line de­fend­ing. The mir­rored image didn’t es­cape Zalasky.

“We’ve been prac­tic­ing this since early Au­gust,” he said. “Try­ing to be a team that is dis­ci­plined, that keeps its shape. You’re not go­ing to win games at this level not be­ing dis­ci­plined, just go­ing out there and run­ning around.

“I’m proud of the boys, proud of the way they fought and it’s a shame we couldn’t fin­ish one ball. We weren’t shocked by the pace or any­thing. We didn’t see any tal­ent level we al­ready haven’t seen.”

Ham­burg goal­keeper Trevor Fe­g­ley was on his game in what turned out to be his fi­nal one for the Hawks. The se­nior keeper made a cou­ple of sparkling saves, in­clud­ing one three min­utes into OT, in which he re­jected Her­shey’s first shot of the ex­tra ses­sion by leap­ing to de­flect a headed laser off a cut­ter in the box tar­geted for the up­per right cor­ner.

“He’s been so big for us all year,” Zalasky said of Fe­g­ley, “He’s a poster child for ‘ if you work hard, if you do things right in this pro­gram, you’ll be suc­cess­ful’. He’s a fan­tas­tic model for oth­ers to fol­low. He does stuff the right way. Any­thing we asked for, he did above and be­yond.”

Ham­burg, pa­tient on op­por­tu­ni­ties, un­leashed swift coun­ters as pre­sented. It earned the Hawks the first three shots of the match, but none were of high enough qual­ity to beat Her­shey goalie Alex Mor­gret.

The Tro­jans’ ( 11- 4- 3) pre­ferred method in­side the 18 was cut­ting head­ers off en­try passes. How­ever, none of those at­tempts threat­ened Fe­g­ley un­til that spec­tac­u­lar save that came just a minute and change be­fore the end of the sea­son.

“We’ve been in this sit­u­a­tion all year,” Her­shey se­cond- year head coach An­drew Maya said, af­ter he watched his squad com­plete its fifth over­time match of the cam­paign. “We were for­tu­nate. The play­offs can go either way. It’s a credit to ( Ham­burg). They played a hel­luva game.”

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