Bobcats oust Everett boys

LOYSBURG — Beaver had to travel 2 1/2 hours to Northern Bedford High School from Beaver County for its first-round PIAA Class 2A boys playoff soccer game against Everett on Tuesday.

The trip didn’t seem to bother the Bobcats any, though, as they scored a goal 2:48 into the game, and three goals in the first half, all of which were enough to end the Warriors’ season, 3-1.

“I thought Beaver came out with a real sense of urgency and a real desire,” Everett coach Brad Zembower said. “And I just felt that our team, from the very first whistle, just didn’t look like we wanted it as bad as they did. They’re a good, quality team. I thought their midfield, especially, was tough, but I thought we could have had opportunities. We didn’t have the intensity or work ethic that was necessary to get those opportunities.”

“We talked to the boys about coming out and making sure we got a fast start,” Beaver coach Scott Hazuda said. “It was a long trip out here, and we wanted to make sure we got off the bus with some energy. A big part of our game plan was to try to get a lead, and that’s what we did. In the second half, we played a little bit more cautious and tried to keep that lead.”

District 5-6 champ Everett finished its banner season at 18-2-1. District 7 third-placer Beaver, which will play District 7 runner-up Shady Side Academy (a 1-0 winner over Mercyhurst Prep) on Saturday, was 7-10-1 coming into the game.

“We played a really difficult regular-season schedule, and I think that prepared us for the playoffs,” Hazuda said. “Just about all the teams we lost to were ranked, even in classifications above us.”

Midfielder Michael Dicola scored the first goal of the game at the 37:12 mark. The Bobcats pretty much dominated in the middle of the field and played keep-away from Everett.

“We really talked about trying to keep the ball out of the middle of the field, because we knew their midfield was good,” Zembower said. “We just held on to the ball too long, dribbled too much. So, we weren’t able to build any kind of great, quality attacks, but we still had some looks early.”

Beaver’s Anthony Dibenedetto scored at the 14:22 mark to make the score 2-0. The Bobcats incurred two yellow cards in a short span, the second one coming when Dustin Mallow was tripped from behind on a break. He then booted the ball past goalkeeper Peter Avdellas at the 8:17 mark on an indirect free kick.

“It was a good shot by Dustin,” Zembower said. “We thought we might have some opportunities to score on this keeper, and he hit a good ball. The keeper couldn’t save it, so it was a good shot from Dustin.”

But 2:16 later, Beaver’s A.J. Jones sent a ball past goalkeeper Joe Koontz, who had 12 saves, at the 6:01 mark. The first half ended with the Bobcats leading, 3-1.

“At halftime, I really felt like ‘Hey, if we turn this on we can score at any given moment and get back in this game,'” Zembower said.

Both teams had chances to score in the second half, but neither team found a way to reach the net.

Everett will lose five seniors, including Koontz and Mallow, to graduation from a team that set the standard for soccer at Everett.

“This year, we had a great group of kids,” Zembower said. “They really, really work hard, accomplished more than anybody in the boys program has ever accomplished before.”

SCORE BY HALVES

Beaver    3  0 — 3

Everett      1  0 — 1

First half: B–Dicola (penalty kick), 37:12; B–Dibenedetto (unassisted), 14:22; E–Mallow (indirect free kick), 8:17; B–Jones (unassisted), 6:01.

Records: Beaver (8-10-1); Everett (18-2-1).

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