SAEGERTOWN — Soccer referee Dan Craven possibly summed up the Saegertown-Meadville match on Wednesday the best, “This match had the intensity of a playoff match.”
Yes, it did.
In a highly emotional match involving two schools who play travel soccer together, Saegertown — on the strength of Andrew Flynn’s tie-breaking goal with two minutes left in the match — knocked off Meadville 2-1 in Region 6 action.
The Panthers, who are now 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the region, avenged a 5-1 loss to the Bulldogs earlier in the year. The ’Dogs dropped to 10-2 overall and 5-2 in the region.
“A lot of these boys play travel soccer together and if you think this was just your normal match then you’re nuts,” said Saegertown coach Lonnie Hunter.
Meadville first-year coach Ryan Smith felt the pain of this rivalry setback.
“This loss burns ... it’s tough,” he said. “We were coming off three good wins and I really felt good about our chances. For some reason, we were slow to the ball. We didn’t have enough one-touch passes. We were lax on offense.”
After a scoreless first half, Meadville’s Troy Hovis — receiving a pass from Logan Zimmerman — sent a header past Saegertown goalie Zachary Coon to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Saegertown answered ... Err, Flynn responded.
Receiving a set-up pass from Nate Duffy, Flynn booted a long-distance, looping kick from the right-wing area and it sailed past Meadville goalie Evan Vanyo to tie the game.
After getting denied on a couple shot attempts due to great saves by Vanyo, the Panthers finall broke the deadlock when Flynn stepped up.
Hunter was more excited about the pass than the goal.
With his back to the goal, Saegertown’s Trent Krzisiak fed the streaking Flynn with a perfect back-kick and the junior did the rest as his kick eluded Vanyo.
“That pass was sweet,” said Hunter. “I told the players before the game that someone other than our main players is going to have to step up and Andrew did. He was the guy.”
As soon as Flynn’s shot hit the net, the Saegertown players started jumping for joy like it was a playoff match.
Meadville’s star player Cottrell McDonald — who scored three goals in the Bulldogs’ 5-1 win over Saegertown — had a constant tag-a-long with him: The Panthers’ Jude Mattocks.
“I gave Jude the formula before the match, we are going to have someone other than Cottrell beat us,” said Hunter. “He was on him like a glove. He did a fantastic job. And the referees came up to me afterwards and said they noticed the work Jude did on him.”
Smith was expecting a different defensive tactic on McDonald.
“Everybody knows what type of player Cottrell is,” he said. “He gets double teamed every match and it’s tough on him, but he keeps his composure and he doesn’t get down.”
Continuing, Smith praised the work of his goalie Vanyo, “If Evan wasn’t in goal, Saegertown would have scored more goals. He made at least three great saves.”