Strong 2nd half lifts South Park to victory over Quaker Valley
With both teams battling to a scoreless tie well into the second half of South Park and Quaker Valley’s PIAA Class AA first-round playoff match, the Eagles’ Christian Payne wasn’t too concerned about the outcome.
“We had possession most of the game and I felt like we were getting a fair amount of chances, so I knew we would get one sooner or later,” said Payne, a junior forward. Midway through the second half, Dan Irwin’s centering pass found Payne, who tapped the ball through Quaker Valley goalkeeper Jonathan Reboton’s legs to put South Park ahead.
“I just tried to get it on net and luckily it found a way through,” Payne said.
Brandon Walbert scored on a penalty kick a few minutes later to add to the Eagles’ advantage.
“They’re a terrific team,” said Quaker Valley coach Gene Klein, who has led the Quakers to six PIAA titles. “I certainly see how they’re undefeated. We tried to stretch the game as long as we could, but they’re too good.
“They maintained their composure and were confident they were going to find a way.”
The Eagles (23-0) advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals, where they will meet District 3’s Lancaster Mennonite, a 5-0 winner over Bedford, at a time and place to be determined.
Neither team was able to find the net in the first half, but both squads had good opportunities.
Within the first 10 minutes, South Park’s Justin Minda broke through a pack of defenders but his shot went wide right. With a minute left in the first half, Payne got a good shot off from inside the box that went just over the net.
Midway through the first half, Quaker Valley’s Landon Narkevic came crashing toward the net to attempt a header, but the ball was plucked from the air by Eagles keeper Dylan McCourt.
Shortly after that attempt, the Quakers’ starting goalie, Jack Regueiro, was injured when he collided with Payne while chasing a loose ball. Junior Jonathan Reboton saved the only shot he faced to preserve the first-half shutout.
The Quakers held off the Eagles with a tight defense that scattered balls out of harm’s way for most of the match. In the end, South Park was able to break through.
“We tried to stay organized and tried to hold together as long as we could, but when you have speed all over the field like they do and guys with good technical ability, they found a way to bring us down,” Klein said.
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.