Thunder drop match to Rovers, 4-0
BMS falls in quarterfinals to Brockway
BROCKWAY — The historic season for the Belleville Mennonite boys soccer team quietly came to an end Saturday afternoon in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals as the Thunder fell 4-0 to Brockway.
“This wasn’t the way I envisioned this ending,” Thunder coach Brian Renno said. “I liked the way we prepared and practiced the last two to three days. I was hoping to end with a little more competitive result. I felt like we were prepared. We had some of our best practices coming into game and we had some of our best games leading up to today. I was a little surprised with our mental capacity on the field once we started.”
Leading the way offensively for Brockway was Nolan Swanson, who posted two goals and led the offensive charge for the Rovers.
Belleville got a strong effort by its backline and goalie Aiden Reed who tallied 11 saves in the defeat.
“I felt like Brockway started out physical and aggressive and they made their intent to go after the ball from the get go, and I thought that affected our psyche,” Renno said. “The way they played in the first half is the way we played against Bishop Carroll and West Shamokin and we had good results.”
In the first half, the Rovers led things off by taking the ball down into the back-third of the Thunder’s side of the field.
Early on, the defense seemed up to the challenge, as it fended off Brockway for the first 10 minutes of the game, despite having to fight through three early corner opportunities by the Rovers.
Even when Brockway scored at 29:36, it came off of a strong save by Reed that ricocheted off his hands, right to the foot of a rushing Dom Inzana who was at the right place at the right time to send it back into the goal, making it 1-0.
Defensively, BMS got back on its feet and again tightened the defensive side of the ball.
Unfortunately, the Thunder had a hard time putting a substantial drive in the Rovers’ side of the field as the Brockway defense proved to be almost impenetrable in the first half.
But just a little past the halfway mark of the stanza, the Rovers found themselves another goal when Dylan Antonuccio scored off an assist from Marcus Bennett, at 17:10.
But the Thunder kept plugging away still trying to pick up its first goal and trying to cut into the deficit.
However, with just 12:21 left in the half Swanson hit his first goal on a straight on blast, ending the first half scoring at 3-0.
Brockway held the advantage 12-5 in the shots on goal department and led in corners by a 4-2 margin.
Coming out of the intermission, the Thunder defense stiffened as it fought off eight corner opportunities by the Rovers and looked to keep their opponents without a goal in the period.
Despite their best efforts, Swanson was able to sneak one last goal in before the contest was over, finishing the game on a 4-0 first round win.
The Thunder finished the season with their first District 6 championship and a season that they were just happy to be playing.
“Going into the season we are just thankful that we had a season and that we were able to play. It was a challenge to get through season but the players stayed healthy and we were fortunate to have a full season,” Renno said. “Coming into the season, I didn’t honestly expect to get this far. I knew we could put together a successful season. We had a big group of freshman coming in. The question was how quickly were they going to mature and how quickly were they going to bond with the upperclassmen we already had here. From Day 1, it seemed like the upperclassmen were willing to work with them and bring them along.”
“As we went through the season, we had our ups and downs,” Renno continued. “But fortunately towards the end of the season, we had a good heart-to-heart talk one day at practice, and it seemed like it was able to right to ship. We were able to get ourselves back together and organized for the stretch run we had.”
Brockway 4, BMS 0
BRO 3 1-4
BMS 0 0–0
Goals: BRO–Nolan Swanson 2, Dom Inzana, Dylan Antonuccio. Assists: BRO–Marcus Bennett. Shots on goal: 18-7, Brockway. Corners: 12-2, Brockway. Saves: BMS–Aiden Reed 11; BRO–Dylen Coder 3.