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Boys soccer: Graham's goal helps Greencastle defy odds

September 11, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Sometimes, 50-50 doesn’t break even.

On Tuesday, Noah Graham got the better half of one such instance.

Graham won the contest for possession of the ball and then won the game with a goal to break a scoreless tie in the 69th minute, giving the Greencastle-Antrim boys soccer team a 1-0 Mid-Penn Colonial win over rival Waynesboro.

“I got lucky,” Graham said. “I was surprised I got it.”

Good things usually happen when you call it right in a coin-flip situation. And things couldn’t have gone better for the Blue Devils (2-1, 1-1) in the tightly played match.

The two teams traded good scoring chances in a game dominated by the goalkeeping of Greencastle’s Josh Spoonhour and Waynesboro’s Kris Settlage.

One bounce ended up being the difference in the game.

Greencastle’s Steve McFetridge dug the ball off the sideline and fed it into the middle of the field, where Graham and an Indian adversary took simultaneous strikes at the ball.

The ball squirted over to Graham’s left, where he began to dribble to the Waynesboro goal. Graham got Settlage to move the right and deposited the ball in the low left-center of the net for the score in what was probably the clearest shot the Blue Devils got all night.

“He started to come out of the net and I touched it to the right to set it up,” Graham said. “Then I put it in low and to the left.”

As the game wore on, it became evident that one bounce or break could decide it.

“It was a simple ball that we had cleared all night,” said Waynesboro coach Doug Beckner. “We didn’t get that one.

“It was a very tight, good high school game that we were expecting. We had both played Gettysburg and had similar stats, so it looked like it would be pretty even.”

Each team had a 50-50 shot at winning, and played like it.

Both teams had great scoring chances in the first half to gain the early momentum, but came away empty.

Waynesboro’s Jesse Smith broke free and alone on the left side of the field and unleashed a 10-yard shot in the fifth minute. He struck it hard and low, but Greencastle and Spoonhour were saved when the shot hit flush against the near net post.

Greencastle had similar shots against Settlage, but came away empty as Waynesboro’s defenders overpopulated the box. The Blue Devils scored in the 37th minute, but the goal was waved off because of an offside call.

The shots became more frequent in the second half as both teams continued to get opportunities, but none got through — until Graham’s play.

“It was a typical game between these two teams,” said Greencastle coach Scott Gelsinger. “It was back and forth. Their keeper did an outstanding job. He was coming out and making stops. We talked about it at halftime and said we wanted to get him to move side to side.

“That goal was created by (Graham). He ran hard to the ball, got the 50-50 and scored the goal.”

Even with the goal in hand, the Blue Devils weren’t safe. The Indians (1-2, 1-2) added more pressure to try to get the tying score, but Spoonhour and Greencastle’s defense held on as time expired.

“There was no relief in getting that goal.” Gelsinger said. “Now we had to hold it and we knew Waynesboro was going to get after it.”

Each team finished with 13 shots. Spoonhour collected 10 saves to Settlage’s eight.

“We hit the post early in the game,” Beckner said. “If we had scored that one, things might have gone differently. Our guys really stepped it up to put pressure on them. I was happy with the way we played in the middle of the field.”

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