HARRISBURG - A pair of second half goals lifted Trinity past Greenwood, 2-1, in the District 3 Class A boys soccer consolation game at Central Dauphin's Landis Field.
Only the winner advances to the state tournament.
The Wildcats grabbed an early 1-0 lead when junior midfielder Hunter Wirth headed in a feed from senior Corey Losch with 26:11 to go in the first half, but failed to add on despite several quality opportunities.
Sentinel photo by LARRY?YOHN
Greenwood’s Hunter Miller, left, is pursued by Trinity’s Joel Ridd while Wildcat Hunter Wirth looks on Saturday at Landis Field.
"We had chance to put them away in the first half, and we just didn't do it," Greenwood coach Tom Magill said.
Those chances included a nifty save by goalie Matt Gregoire - who stopped 13 of 14 Wildcat shots - off a free kick by Hunter Miller with 31 minutes to go until the half.
Wirth had another goal opportunity waved off when the team was called offside.
Gregoire then was bailed out by teammate Brett Becker, who prevented a goal on a play were the ball got behind Gregoire at the 18-minute mark in the first.
The Shamrocks finally got a decent scoring chance with 10 minutes left, but the shot from the side went just wide and Ben Moyer's shot at the 2:10 mark was just high.
Trinity opened the second half on the attack and did not relent until it had the lead.
"During the break I told the kids to keep pushing and to believe in themselves," Shamrocks coach Gary Bricker said. "They responded well. We stepped up the pressure and forced (Greenwood) to make some mistakes."
After several near misses, including a shot by midfielder Christian Tegene that sailed just wide at the 36:30 mark, Jack McLaughlin finally delivered the equalizer with 27:12 to go.
Nine minutes later a two-on-one breakaway resulted in Ethan Herstek putting home a delivery from Ryan Doyle to put the Shamrocks up 2-1.
"The momentum kept building (for Trinity) the entire second half," Magill said. "We couldn't knock anything out at all. They passed the ball extremely well in the second half and made us pay for any mistakes we made."
Magill questioned his own strategy to the second half stating, "Maybe we should have gone a little more defense and just have tried to ride out the 1-0 lead."
Greenwood's shot to pull back even occurred with 10:50 to go but Gregoire proved up the challenge, stopping another Wirth shot.
"That was the save of the game," Magill said. "(Wirth's) shot was right to the corner, it was down low, (Gregoire) read it well and made the play."
A few minutes later Wildcat sophomore goalie Noah Schaeffer, who made 13 saves, deflected Tegene's shot up and over the goal to preserve the one-goal margin.
Greenwood had a few more chance to pull even, but a header by Lucas Grimm went wide with 3:45 to go, and another header in the closing seconds proved off the mark.
The season ends for Greenwood (14-5-2), which finished tied for second in the Tri-Valley League but outlasted all of the other TVL teams that made the playoffs.