EVERETT - There's a saying that coaches often use in sports that states, "The ball just didn't bounce our way tonight."
For Northern Bedford, that literally was the case following a 2-1 heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Fannett-Metal Tuesday night in District 5 Class A high school boys semifinal soccer action at Everett Warrior Stadium.
With both teams scoring once in the opening 11 minutes of the game, the contest became a back-and-forth affair that continued deep into the second half.
With the midway point of the second approaching, the Tigers were on the offensive pushing the ball up field. Senior Zac Hall found an opening and ripped a shot on goal that a NBC defender tried to clear out with his head.
Instead, the ball bounced backward, past the Panthers' surprised goaltender Tanner Ott, who had no time to react, and into the back of the net for a 2-1
Fannett-Metal led at the 20:01 mark.
"I thought we fought with them and played hard," Northern Bedford coach Marcus Yeatts said. "They outplayed us, but we gave ourselves a chance. The ball [just] didn't bounce right for us.
"It was very even [after the teams scored]. The play [of the game] wasn't really in the midfield, I thought the play was in both offensive-thirds,"
Fannett-Metal coach Greg Best said, "We were just lucky to get that goal with the missed head opp-ortunity."
Try as they may, Northern just couldn't seem to get off any decent shots from then on and the Tigers' continued attack kept the Panthers from scoring the rest of the way.
Northern Bedford only managed four shots on goal in the second 40 minutes after letting loose on 12 in the first. Fannett-Metal pushed the issue with a more fluid, precise offensive attack after the break and managed 11 shots after nine in the first half.
"They gave our defense some trouble. We didn't clear the ball out as well as we needed to," Yeatts said.
The Tigers opened the scoring when Tanner Hock-enberry ripped a loose ball in traffic past Ott at the 33:34 mark of the first half.
"There was plenty of time at that time to get back in the game," Yeatts said of Fannett-Metal's first goal.
The Panthers didn't wait long to answer back as junior Tanner Russell crossed a ball toward the goal, and when Fannett goalie Trevor Reisigner misplayed it, sophomore Coltin Ebersole, who was crashing in, kicked the ball into the back of the net at the 29:58 mark.
"[The] first goal is [big] to try to set the tone and get a little momentum," Best said. "I think we got that, but then they answered back and quickly scored."
Northern Bedford's best chance after that came roughly a minute and a half
later, when they had two chances inside the box when Reisigner came out too
far to play the ball. However, the Panthers' second shot with Reisigner on the
ground, deflected off a Tiger player and was immediately cleared out.
Fannett-Metal defeated Northern for the third time this year, after winning
3-1 and 2-1 during the regular season.
The Black Panthers saw their season close at 11-9 and in the semifinal round
for the third year in a row. The Tigers, meanwhile, improved to 16-2-2 and we
be back in the championship game for the second time in three years against
Chestnut Ridge, a 1-0 winner over Conemaugh Township.
SCORE BY HALVES
Northern Bedford1 0 - 1
Fannett-Metal 1 1 - 2
First half: FM-Hockenberry (unassisted), 33:34; NB-Ebersole (Russell assist), 29:58.
Second half: FM-Hall (unassisted), 20:01.
Shots taken: Northern Bedford 16; Fannett-Metal 20.
Goalkeeper saves: Ott, NB, 13; Reisigner, FM, 12.
Yellow cards: Second half - McMullen, FM, 26:16; Chilcote, FM, 2:23.
Records: Northern Bedford (11-9); Fannett-Metal (16-2-2).