Mus­tangs stun No. 1 Cum­ber­land Val­ley in OT

The Southern Berks News - - SPORTS - By Jeff De­wees

There was never a mo­ment when Gover­nor Mif­flin looked or felt out­classed.

Ac­cord­ingly, 83 min­utes and change of fight de­liv­ered one of the big­gest up­sets in the his­tory of the girls’ soc­cer pro­gram.

Gil­lian Maack’s free kick con­ver­sion from a David Beck­ham-es­que an­gle 3:43 into over­time gave the Mus­tangs a stun­ning 2-1 up­set of the top-seeded Cum­ber­land Val­ley Ea­gles Satur­day night in the quar­ter­fi­nals of the District 3 4A tour­na­ment, held at Her­shey High School.

The top-seeded Ea­gles (19-3-0) en­tered the match with 19 wins in 21 tries but, thanks to Maack’s ex­tra-ses­sion hero­ics, shock­ingly saw its sea­son ended be­fore Hal­loween.

Mif­flin (17-5-1) ad­vances to play Man­heim Town­ship in the 4A semi­fi­nals on Tues­day, in Ham­burg. The Blue Streaks up­ended Wil­son, 1-0, in their quar­ter­fi­nal match.

After be­ing taken down, Maack took her free kick about five yards closer to the left-hand cor­ner flag than she was to the near goal post, on a near-par­al­lel plane. She ap­plied sharp bend to the kick and the ball some­how found the far low cor­ner of the net, un­touched, to end it.

“Right as I hit it, I don’t know even know how I did it, but it kept curv­ing and curv­ing and curved went in,” Maack said. “I thought maybe some­one would get their head on it, but it went right in.”

Maack res­onated with the con­fi­dence that had en­veloped the en­tire Mif­flin squad as the game pro­gressed. The Mus­tangs were bright and they matched, or ex­ceeded, the play of their highly-touted

foes Satur­day night. Mif­flin out­shot CV by an 8-3 count, ex­pand­ing on a mar­gin that had been 3-2 at the half­time break.

“We knew what had to do and we had been pre­par­ing for it,” she said. “We knew how good they were and we just de­cided to leave it all out on the field. All our hard work, all sea­son, leave it out here. We were all over it.”

Mo­ments after the win­ning strike, vet­eran Mif­flin head coach Ed Deren called it the big­gest mo­ment of his 25-year coach­ing ca­reer – this, com­ing from a man who led the Mus­tangs to the 2012 D-3 ti­tle.

“We won that district cham­pi­onship in ’12 and that was amaz­ing,” Deren said, “but we’ve gone up against Cum­ber­land Val­ley five or six times and we’ve got­ten close, but could never get over the hump. And we know that’s one of the five or six top teams in the state over there that we played tonight.”

A stout de­fen­sive ef­fort all match long set the pa­ram­e­ters for vic­tory. Mif­flin’s mids and back line were ag­gres­sive on the ball with­out be­ing overly so, and thereby risk get­ting pulled out of shape.

“I watched a bunch of tape on them and I was con­fi­dent that we could make some things hap­pen and use their ag­gres­sive style against hem at times, counter their coun­ters,” Deren said. “It was risky, but I have a lot of faith in my de­fend­ers and they shifted and did what they had to do. I asked them to cover a lot of ground and play smart soc­cer and they re­ally did. … As long as we stayed in the game, we had a chance.”

CV’s only suc­cess­ful un­lock­ing came in the 34th minute, when Mal­lory John­son took a well-weighted feed from Gina Lukoskie in the box and beat Mif­flin goal­keeper Kate­lyn Dreiel­bis to the far post for a 1-0 CV lead.

That ad­van­tage lasted barely four min­utes. Hai­ley Payne pulled the Mus­tangs level on the first of their two surreal shots with a 40-yard arc­ing of­fer­ing that bounced high at the goal line in front of CV keeper Hay­ley McGee and over her head to knot it at 1 in the 38th minute.

“I would say that’s good clean, livin’ on some­one’s part,” Deren said, “be­cause it doesn’t al­ways hap­pen like that. Some days the ball bounces your way like that and other days it doesn’t.”

Deren took a mo­ment to try and quan­tify what his girls had just pulled off on a brisk, windy night in Her­shey.

“It’s a tremen­dous feel­ing to beat a team like that,” he said. “We’ve talked about get­ting to this point. We be­lieved that we should be here. The girls be­lieved that. We’ve played a lot of re­ally good teams this year.

“I just wanted us to keep press­ing them. Don’t let them com­fort­able, be­cause if they get com­fort­able, you’re in trouble. We had to main­tain the high pres­sure, be­cause if you don’t, they’ll get ya.”

KIRK NEIDERMYER - FOR DFM

Gover­nor Mif­flin’s Gil­lian Maack scored the over­time game-win­ner in the Mus­tangs win over top-ranked Cum­ber­land Val­ley last week.

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