Everett boys claim first district crown
The Everett boys soccer team entered the District 6 Class 2A playoffs as the No. 1 seed, but the Warriors had no previous history of postseason success.
Everett had never won a playoff game, let alone a district championship.
The team changed all that in the span of a week. The Warriors won their first-ever playoff game last week and followed that up Monday with another victory in the semifinals for a berth in the championship game Thursday at Mansion Park.
Tied 1-1 in overtime against third-seeded Bald Eagle Area, the title game appeared to be headed to a second extra session.
Dustin Mallow quickly changed all that when he drilled a low, hard shot into the left corner of the net from 30 yards out with 28 seconds to go, giving the Warriors a 2-1 win and their first district crown in school history.
“I got a big touch and saw an opening. I figured a low, hard shot had the best chance to go in,” Mallow said.
“A lot of times he either puts it over the net or pulls it to the left,” Everett coach Brad Zembower added. “When he first hit it, it looked like it had good pace on it then I saw it hit the back of the net. I saw him standing there in shock then took off and joined the pile.”
The game went back and forth, remaining scoreless for more than 71 minutes before the Foor brothers teamed up to give Everett a 1-0 lead.
Brady Foor made a run down the left side and lifted a centering pass to Bailey Foor who redirected the ball into the right corner of the net off his head.
“Early on they possessed the ball and that was on us for not stepping to the ball,” Bald Eagle coach Jason Bair said. “We made some adjustments at halftime and dominated the second half. We just had the one breakdown on the goal they scored.”
The Eagles push for the equalizer started to look like it would come up short before Joey Gates scored to tie the game 1-1 with 2:28 remaining.
Gates settled a high-bouncing ball in the goal area and put it past Everett keeper Joe Koontz before he could come out and make the save.
“That gave us new life when he found the back of the net,” Bair said. “In overtime, we had a couple opportunities. I didn’t even see the [game-winning] goal when it went in. I was planning for the next overtime. It’s a tough way to lose. Everett is a good team. They did a good job. We have no excuses.”
Prior to that, Koontz had stonewalled Bald Eagle, making several quality saves to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard.
“Joe came up big. He did a great job with the shots they put on goal. He made some great saves for us,” Zembower said. “Bald Eagle played great defense all game long. Our style is possession-based but with an attacking mindset. They did a good job taking away that style until late in the game. I knew we’d be OK if we could get some shots on goal.”
Everett’s success this season has been four years in the making, Zembower said. The seniors on this year’s team won just four games as freshmen, improved to six wins their sophomore year and nearly doubled that win total a year ago with 11.
“It’s really awesome. These are all firsts for us. It’s a testament to the hard work they’ve put in and the way they’ve bought into what we’re teaching them,” he said.
By advancing to the district championship game, both teams qualified for the state playoffs.
Everett plays District 7 third-place finisher Beaver Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
Bald Eagle takes on the District 7 champ Tuesday at a site and time to be determined as well. Shady Side Academy and Quaker Valley play Saturday for the District 7 title.
SCORE BY HALVES
Bald Eagle Area 0 1 0 — 1
Everett 0 1 1 — 2
Second half: E–Ba. Foor (Br. Foor), 8:45; BEA–Gates (unassisted), 2:28.
Overtime: E–Mallow (unassisted), :28.
Records: Bald Eagle Area (14-5-2); Everett (18-1-1).