Boys’ Soccer Team Wins District VI Title

The starting lineup posing with the trophy and their medals after the game. (Front: Chase Zhou, Drew Kogelmann, Arthur Cleveland, Collin Murphy, Matias Harte; Back: Sam Cheslock, Tanner Ligetti, Solly Lubin, Gavin Zaffino, Will Kogelmann, Luke Torbic)
The starting lineup posing with the trophy and their medals after the game. (Front: Chase Zhou, Drew Kogelmann, Arthur Cleveland, Collin Murphy, Matias Harte; Back: Sam Cheslock, Tanner Ligetti, Solly Lubin, Gavin Zaffino, Will Kogelmann, Luke Torbic)
Noah Radio

Coming in as a heavy favorite, no one expected the State High boys’ soccer team to falter in its first playoff game. The team delivered, defeating Central Mountain 8-0 to become District VI champions for the tenth time in the last twelve seasons.

After an early Central Mountain attack, the Little Lion attack began to turn up the heat. In just the fifth minute of the game, State High senior Sam Cheslock took a pass in the box, and when Central Mountain failed to close the space, buried a shot into the bottom right corner of the net for State College’s first goal.

With 25 minutes to play in the first half, Central Mountain nearly produced its best scoring chance of the game. A save by goalie Luke Simcox and a quick outlet led to a breakaway for Central Mountain, which, if not for a stop by State High junior defenseman Gavin Zaffino, would have turned into a one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper. Shortly after, Ellis Jordan came on as the first substitution for State College.

Led by the Kogelmann twins, Will and Drew, State High kept up the pressure throughout the rest of the first half. Simcox held strong under a barrage of shots from the constant State College attack, but the phrase, “water finds its level” rang true in the final twelve minutes of the first half.

After a Drew Kogelman free kick, a scramble for the ball ensued in front of the Central Mountain goal and his brother, Will Kogelman, knocked it into the net with 11:34 remaining in the first half to make it 2-0 State High.

Drew Kogelmann got in on the scoring action just four minutes later on a solo attack to make the score 3-0. What were once looks of determination from the Central Mountain players and staff began to shift to defeat as State College had surrendered just one shot on goal in the first 32 minutes of play.

A slow-building possession for State College quickly flipped into high gear as Sam Cheslock hit Will Kogelmann in stride with a back heel flick running up the left sideline. Kogelmann took the pass and ripped a shot from outside the box off the right post and past Simcox for his second goal of the game.

The few casual observers in attendance at Alumni Stadium of Bald Eagle High School began to filter out at halftime as the temperature continued to drop and it became abundantly clear that the game would not produce an exciting championship finish.

Less than two minutes into the second half, State College struck again. Nile Bice took his turn on a three-man attack with the Kogelmann twins to put one into the back of the net bringing the score to 5-0.

The push continued from State High, even while attempting to milk the clock. Bice nearly had his second goal of the night, but a full-extension save from Simcox created an opportunity for sophomore Chase Zhou to control the rebound and score his first varsity goal. Zhou downplayed the goal after game.

“The game was really just a team effort; it was great to score, but it was just a tap in,” Zhou said, insisting that it wasn’t a big deal. Nonetheless, Zhou’s goal put State High up 6-0 with 37:22 still remaining in the game.

Central Mountain’s Griffin Confer put forth a strong personal effort to advance the ball into the attacking half with 30 minutes to play, but quickly had it cleared by State High’s Noah Reavy and nothing came of the play.

With a mass substitution waiting to come in for State College, Cheslock made the most of his last minutes in this game. Cheslock corralled a through ball in the box, put a move on Simcox and tapped in the open-net goal to bring the score to 7-0 with 28:46 remaining.

Much of the State College starting lineup was subbed out of the game, making room for the only freshmen rostered for the playoffs, Byrd Glenney and Alex Zlupko, as well as other younger players to enter the game.

One younger player, sophomore Ryan Hulek, recorded the final goal of the game with 4:05 remaining. While burning as much time as possible, State College built a slow attack, and Hulek felt the rewards with a close-range goal to widen the lead to eight.

While not much can be learned from a game in which outcome is never in doubt, Head Coach Danny Orton found satisfaction in his team doing what it was supposed to do against a weaker opponent.

“We’ve been here before in championships, being the favorite in the match and slipped up, not played well, and lost the game,” Orton said. “I was really pleased with the fact that we did the business, did our job, kept clam, and played really well.”

The Little Lions also beat Brashear High School 16-0 on Nov. 1, and will now play Erie High School on Nov. 4 for the opportunity to play in the State Tournament.

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    Nancy RadioNov 2, 2023 at 12:11 PM

    Great article, I felt like I was at the game!

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