LA PLUME TWP. — Dallas head coach Chris Scharff felt if his team could establish an early lead, the defense would make it stand.
The third-seeded Mountaineers followed that plan and will play No. 1 seed Crestwood for a chance at a second consecutive District 2 Class 3A title Wednesday after defeating No. 2 seed Abington Heights, 2-1, in a semifinal game Monday afternoon at Keystone College.
Dallas struck first when Zach Holthaus scored off a cross from Alex Solano in the 14th minute.
“I was waiting for the ball on the top of the 18-yard box and there was no one on me,” Holthaus said. “I decided to turn and shoot, and was just trying to get it on goal.”
Dallas took a 2-0 lead when Ricky Wooditch scored on a penalty kick in the 32nd minute after an Abington Heights defender was whistled for a handball inside the box. Comets goalkeeper Jackson Danzig got a piece of the shot, but it deflected into the top of the net.
“That (goal) was very important because then we had a lot of confidence building up,” Holthaus said.
The Mountaineers held Abington Heights without a shot on goal in the first half.
“We pressured them on defense,” Scharff said. “We knew they were going to pass a lot and our (plan) was to let them pass 40 yards from the goal because they can’t score from there. We knew they would have a hard time getting behind our defense and we limited them to very little chances to score.
“We got the two (goals) we needed, then we settled back.”
Luke Abdalla registered Abington Heights’ first shot on goal in the 65th minute, but Mountaineers goalkeeper Kyle Greenwood made the stop.
Abington Heights had another quality scoring opportunity in the 67th minute when a rolling shot from Antonio Maletta slid past the goal.
“I thought we were a different team in the second half,” Abington Heights head coach Frank Dyska said. “We really gave ourselves a chance to get back in the game. We created some opportunities, unfortunately we just couldn’t capitalize.”
Abington Heights broke through for a goal in the 79th minute when Evan Florey scored off an assist from Harry Johnson.
Crestwood 9, Valley View 0
The Comets punched their tickets back to the District 2 Class 3A finals, thanks to a three-goal effort from a pair of two-goal efforts from Max Gariano and Sean Murphy. The duo also each had an assist.
Thomas Roberts, Nick Ruggeri, Dylan Gesford, Matthew Shipton and Zach Kline also scored for Crestwood. Comets goalie Anthony Kovalchik made a game-high nine saves.
Crestwood will host Dallas for the Class 3A final on Wednesday. The Comets lead the season series 2-1.
DISTRICT 2 CLASS 3A SEMIFINALS
Dallas 2, Abington Heights 1
First half — 1. DAL, Zach Holthaus (Alex Solano), 26:18; 2. DAL, Ricky Wooditch (penalty kick), 8:37. Second half — 3. AH, Evan Florey (Harry Johnson), 1:57.
Shots — DAL 7; AH 3. Saves — DAL 2 (Kyle Greenwood); AH 5 (Jackson Danzig). Corner kicks — DAL 6; AH 1.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.