SCRANTON — For two halves and two overtimes, Scranton Prep tried to figure out a way to get a ball past Wyoming Seminary keeper Ryan Anderson.
Turns out the Cavaliers didn’t have much success in penalty kicks, either.
As flawless as Anderson was throughout Wednesday’s District 2 Class 2A boys soccer final, he raised his game to a different level after 110 minutes were played.
The senior goalie stopped two penalty kicks and third-seeded Wyoming Seminary claimed its first gold medal since 2015. After a scoreless regulation and overtime, the Blue Knights edged the top-seeded Cavaliers 3-1 in the shootout, at Loyola Athletic Complex.
“It’s all in the preparation,” Anderson said. “We work so hard all year. Day after day, lots of shots.
“It’s all a mental game. I have my own progression. It just happened to work out today. I look for what the shooter gives me and then I react off of that. Depends on the skill of the player and it worked out.”
Not all of Anderson’s 12 saves were sensational, but several were.
Antonio D’Appolino was sent through in the 16th minute, but Anderson turned him away.
Three minutes into the second half, Alec Buttner delivered a header that looked destined for the top of the net, but Anderson went up and got it. He denied Buttner again in the 67th minute when he stopped his left-footed shot from 10 yards, then covered up the rebound as it trickled toward the goal line.
“You think back to an opportunity in the game where you’re like, ‘I could have finished it there. Maybe I should have taken the ball here. Maybe I should have passed it there,’ ” Buttner said. “I think we all knew they were trying to get us into PKs. They knew they had a really good goalie.”
Blaize Whitehead had the last great opportunity for Scranton Prep with eight seconds left when he used his heel to redirect Spencer Keihl’s cross to the far post, but Anderson anticipated and was there to send the game to overtime.
Scranton Prep outshot the Blue Knights, 20-7, through four periods, but had nothing to show for it.
“They normally don’t attack a lot anyway,” Prep coach Sean Curry said. “They played it perfectly today. We possessed. We controlled. We outshot. We did everything right, except one too many bodies in the way. It was a great strategy and it worked today.
“We had plenty of chances. We just didn’t put them away when we had to and their keeper made some great saves.”
Wyoming Seminary packed it in with 10 players inside its own 35-yard line in the last overtime, in part to get to penalty kicks, and in part because of Scranton Prep’s pressure.
“We were struggling to get out of the back because Scranton Prep is a great team and they had us pinned down,” Blue Knights coach Aaron Littzi said. “At the end of the game, the last five minutes or so, we knew that if we got to penalty kicks, our goalkeeper is phenomenal at penalty kicks. We liked our chances there.
“We practice them day after day after day at the end of practice once districts started. And Ryan is probably the best goalkeeper I’ve seen at penalty kicks.”
Edge Miller converted for Wyoming Seminary to start the shootout, and Anderson dove to his left to rob Kenny Kincel.
Scranton Prep keeper Colin Legg denied Reggie Grayek with his own sprawling stop. After the Cavaliers shot over the net on their second try, Will Zeigler and Colin Sung sandwiched converted kicks around one by Prep’s Greg Fisher.
But with Buttner trying to keep his team alive, Anderson dove to his right to deny Scranton Prep and set off a celebration.
“He’s a great player,” Anderson said of Buttner. “They have a lot of offensive firepower but we take pride in defense as a team. Our defense was amazing.”
Wyoming Seminary advances to the PIAA tournament, where it will face the District 4 runner-up in Tuesday’s first round.
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Source: The Associated Press