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Late goal ties Storm with 'Dogs

September 13, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Many coaches and players will describe a tie game in sports as no better than kissing a sister.

But the Mercersburg Academy boys soccer team took much more away from its draw against Martinsburg on Wednesday.

The Blue Storm scored the tying goal with 2:27 left in regulation and withstood a fierce Bulldogs attack in 20 minutes of overtime to escape with a 1-1 tie.

"Playing against Martinsburg is always a good game because of the talent and numbers they have," said Mercersburg coach Peter Kempe. "And for us to tie them with a young, inexperienced team, it really gives us something to build on."

Martinsburg (5-0-2) outshot Mercersburg (3-1-1) 10-4 in regulation and led 1-0 in the 78th minute, before Blue Storm senior David Strider got control of a pass by freshman Joey Roberts and chipped it past Bulldogs goalie Nathan Schofield to knot the game at 1.

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"What we did on that goal was exactly what we wanted to do for the entire game," Kempe said. "We wanted to get the ball from midfield to the front as quickly as possible because of the speed of Martinsburg's defenders. (Roberts) received the ball, got it over the top and (Strider) made a nice little lob for the goal."

That goal forced overtime, during which Martinsburg continued to control the ball and outshot the Blue Storm 5-1. The Bulldogs also held a 4-0 edge in corner kicks, but none made it past Mercersburg goalie Andrew Reichardt.

"We've always had a problem with our corners," said Martinsburg coach Greg Miller. "We've probably had 50 corners this year and we haven't got it down yet. It's all timing."

Even perfect timing might not have stirred Reichardt, who had four of his 10 saves in overtime. Reichardt lived dangerously, at times leaving the goal untended, and he even committed a penalty inside the box by picking up the ball after it was set for a goal kick, which led to a Bulldogs restart from less than 10 yards away. But each time, he was able to retreat, recover and keep the Bulldogs out of the net.

"Goalkeepers are special people. Mentally, they have to be a little crazy, but also keep alert," Kempe said. "(Reichardt) had a few lapses here and there, but he made the plays when they counted. He made some solid saves, and a few more spectacular ones."

The game was played between the 18s for much of the first half with only six shots on goal before Martinsburg scored with 55 seconds left. Senior captain Spike Geffert got hold of the ball wide on the right side and crossed it in front of the goal to sophomore reserve Aaron Anderson, who booted it past Reichardt and a second streaking defender to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

"(Anderson) is part of a very good bench," Miller said. "It's probably the best bench we've had in years, and it allows us to keep fresh legs without losing a lot of talent at any position."

The better-rested Bulldogs continued to control play while nursing the 1-0 lead in the second half. That was, until the Blue Storm slipped the equalizer through in the closing moments.

JV: Martinsburg, 4-2.

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