Hoppel scores equalizer, Huskies fall to Indians
LEWISTOWN — Despite its best efforts defensively, Mifflin County fell just short to Waynesboro by the final score of 2-1, in an overtime Mid-Penn Conference boys soccer game on Tuesday.
“That was the best game we’ve played all season. I thought our defense stepped up and played very well. Our midfield played well and we finally played a decent game in the final third,” Huskies coach Robert Lepley said. “Props to Grady Hoppel, who was thrown out there to start as a freshman for his first time. He played great. It looked like he nad been there before.”
With the way his team played, Lepley believed the Huskies had a great chance to end the game in regulation with a win.
“I felt we shouldn’t have been into overtime,” Lepley continued. “We just needed that little punch of more energy and we (would’ve) won the game and never go into overtime.”
For a little over 15 minutes of the game, both Mifflin County and Waynesboro were trading shots with one another, fighting over control of the ball and getting into its respective offenses.
The Huskies took the first crack at the Waynesboro net, as Gabriel Yoder had a direct kick opportunity. Yoder failed to get the ball in the net as his shot sailed over the net.
With 24:57 remaining of the first half, the Indians got cooking offensively as sophomore Will Boltz found freshman Eric Jacobs on a cross pass. Jacobs took the pass and put the ball to the back of the net.
From there onward, both teams created chances to score. For Mifflin County, senior midfielder Jameson Price made a strong run on the outside, but failed to make the shot.
Shortly after, the Indians had a chance to extend their lead as junior Nik Sanders attacked on the left side and missed his shot as it bounced off the right post.
The score remained 1-0 at the end of the half.
“We were very organized and the defense played a great line in the first half,” Lepley said. “They were organized, had great communication, we showed great leadership. Our leadership showed across the field.”
The Huskies showed a lot of aggression at the start of the second half, as Yoder again looked to get the ball in the net. Yoder then took the shot that bounced off a Waynesboro defender sending the ball rolling over to senior Gage Moore. The ball was stopped by Indians’ keeper Bryson Shaull, who dove in and snagged the ball away.
At 33:20, Mifflin County finally evened the score as freshman Grady Hoppel broke right on through to the other side of the Waynesboro defensive line and put the ball right between the legs of Shaull to even the game at one apiece.
The remaining five minutes of the game was a shootout, as both Mifflin County and Waynesboro took turns were firing shot after shot. Any time someone had a clear lane to shoot the ball, they shot.
The closest that Mifflin County came to taking the lead in the half was when Hoppel fired a shot from the 18-yard line and curled the ball over the head of Shaull, appearing as if it was going in. However, the ball smacked off the top left corner of the cross bar and then off the left post before rolling away.
“The second half, I thought, was just as good as the first,” Lepley said. “We didn’t capitalized on a golden opportunity that would have won us the game. That’s the difference.”
In overtime, the Huskies had a miscue with the ball and Sanders took advantage of it, motoring down the field and knocking the game-winning goal.
“They wanted it more than we did,” Lepley said. “It was a breakdown on our part and they capitalized.”
Mifflin County keeper Zimmerman put in good work in the net as he faced 26 shots on goal and denied 24 of them.
“Conner Zimmerman is the best high school goalie to ever come through this area,” Lepley said. “He does things that humans are not suppose to do and he is amazing. I have nothing bad to say about him on his efforts, his leadership or anything like that.”
Mifflin County drops to 0-6 and will look to pick up the first win of the season today as the Huskies will travel to face Lower Dauphin.
Waynesboro 2, Mifflin County 1 (OT)
W – Eric Jacobs (Will Boltz), 24:57.
MC – Grady Hoppel, 33:20.
W – Nik Sanders, 7:48.
Shots: W 26-5. Corners: W 6-1. Saves: MC-24 (Conner Zimmerman), W-4 (Bryson Shaull).