HOLLIDAYSBURG - Although midnight struck early for the Philipsburg-Osceola High School boys soccer team, the Mounties already are looking forward to the 2014 season.
The District 6 Class AA-champion Mounties dropped a 4-0 decision to District 3 runnerup Oley Valley in a PIAA state tournament first-round game Tuesday night at Tiger Stadium.
P-O was seeded sixth in the D6-AA tourney but knocked off the top three seeds to earn their second straight district title.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
P-O’s Zach Ament (left) battles Oley Valley’s Marcus Frangaskis for the ball at Tiger Stadium Tuesday night.
"I was definitely concerned when I saw they beat the top three seeds," Oley Valley coach Shawn Meals admitted. "They must have been working some kind of magic."
Meals didn't have to be concerned, though, because OV dominated first-half action when it scored all four of its goals.
"I'm not sure if they took off the gas in the second half," P-O coach Shawn Inlow said.
After riding a bus for three and a half hours, the Oley Valley team stormed the P-O defense early and finally cracked the scoring column on Marcus Frangakis' penalty kick with 20:36 left in the half.
Then, only 27 seconds later, OV was on the scoreboard again when Frangakis fed Ben Kerkeslager, who buried one into the left corner past P-O goalie Mitchell Winters.
"I knew that number 10 [Frangakis] was a pretty good dribbler and created things, but the PK sort of opened the door for them," Inlow said. "Andy [Gray] took him down and that was a legit PK.
"I thought up until then we were handling their pressure OK."
Frangakis was taken down in the box by Philipsburg defender Gray and ripped the PK past Winters into the right corner. He also assisted on the team's last two goals.
"We came in and set a tone the first 10 to 20 minutes," Meals said. "I can't say enough about my guys. We took advantage early and played solid defensively, too.
"Any time you get that first goal, it puts a little more wind in your sails," Meals said. "We know the importance of getting the first goal and building on it."
The Reading-area team got goals from Ben Meier and Clark Williamson before the half was over. Meier scored after a long throw-in and, when Frangakis banged one off the right post, Williamson was there and crushed the rebound into the left corner to make it 4-0.
"It took me till halftime to figure out that I needed to play with two withdrawn midfielders," Inlow said. "After that, it seemed to give us a few more runs forward."
The Mounties were able to get a few more runs but couldn't dent the OV goal. The Mounties' best chance came with only 16 seconds left in the game when winger Hunter Honan had a breakaway but ripped the ball off the right post.
"If I've learned anything about playing District 3 teams, you must have a strong midfield," Inlow said. "They're going to have talent in the middle and you've got to break it up.
"But, they certainly had the better of us tonight."
The Mounties lost to Lancaster Mennonite in the first round last year at Hollidaysburg and Mennonite went on to play in the state finals.
With most of his team returning next year, Inlow is optimistic about 2014.
"Next year, you'll see this team here again," he said "because we've got most of the team back and, hopefully, we can be the first Mountain League team to win a first-round game.
"This team is very young and they need to see quality opponents from District 3," he said. "We also hope to get games with Hollidaysburg and Altoona. We'd like to get games with teams who play a better possession style so we can adapt and get ready for the playoffs."
SCORE BY HALVES
Oley Valley4 0 - 4
Philipsburg-Osceola 0 0 - 0
First Half: OV-Frangakis (penalty kick), 20:36; Kerkeslager (Frangakis), 20:09;. B. Meier (unassisted), 9:24; C. Williamson (Frangakis), 8:00.
Records: Oley Valley (17-4-2); Philipsburg-Osceola (10-9-1).