LEHMAN TWP. — Hershey had just one shot in the first 35 ½ minutes of Wednesday night’s PIAA Class 3A boys soccer opening-round game.
Brendan Kerr made sure the Trojans made the most of it.
Kerr ripped a high, hard shot into the net from 22 yards out just 6:16 into the game and it held up as Hershey advanced to the state quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory over Crestwood at Lake-Lehman’s Edward Edwards Stadium.
“Overall, I think we had more chances than they did,” first-year Crestwood coach David McFarland said.
Crestwood had seven of the game’s first eight shots and finished with advantages of 14-8 in shots and 6-3 in corner kicks. It was not enough, however, for the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 and District 2 Class 3A champions to avoid being shut out for the first time all season.
“We were just not able to score, which is unusual for us,” McFarland said.
Neither team was able to score after Dante Hunter sent a pass into the middle, where Kerr got off a quick shot for what proved to be the game-winner.
“Brendan Kerr’s been doing that all season for us,” Hershey coach Andrew Maya said. “He’s been our leading scorer all season.”
Despite some interesting moments along the way, the Trojans were able to make that one goal work.
“We’ve been a good defensive team, so we were prepared,” Maya said. “It would have been nice to get a second one.”
Sean Murphy created some of Crestwood’s best chances before leaving the game after a violent collision. McFarland said Murphy was headed to a hospital with concerns that he had suffered a concussion.
Goalie Alex Morgret, who is headed to Division I St. Francis to continue his soccer career, stopped Murphy from point-blank range with 16:09 left in the half.
Murphy’s header on a corner kick with 6:45 remaining in the half went inches wide.
Morgret and Murphy both had their night end on the same play with 19:35 remaining.
Murphy raced in from near midfield while Morgret came running out from the goal line. They met just outside the penalty area in a full-speed collision. Murphy went out with the head injury and Morgret received a red card, putting him out for the remainder of the game and Saturday’s state quarterfinal.
“It seemed to me that Sean got the ball first, and I guess that’s what the refs also saw,” McFarland said. “The goalkeeper, in my opinion, didn’t touch the ball and took the player out, which is the foul that gave him the red card. He was late on the ball.”
Sophomore Teagan Therit took over in goal and, although Crestwood earned two more corner kicks before the game ended, he only needed to make one save, on a shot from 40 yards away.
McFarland said the Comets missed Murphy’s presence late.
“It’s unfortunate and it’s unfortunate also for Hershey because they won’t have their goalkeeper in the next game,” he said. “It’s a shame for us and it’s a shame for them.”
Maya was happy not to have it stop his team Wednesday.
“When you’re down a guy, to pull out a win like that, you’ve got to take it,” Maya said.
Anthony Kovalchik was only called on to make four saves for Crestwood, but he had tough ones 22 seconds before and 41 after halftime, batting the ball into the air then catching it both times to keep the Comets within a goal.
With only six seniors, McFarland said, “it’s a young team. The future is bright at Crestwood.”
PIAA CLASS 3A FIRST ROUND
First half — 1. HER, Brendan Kerr (Dante Hunter). 33:44.
Second half — None.
Shots — HER 8, CRE 14. Saves — HER 6 (Alex Morgret 5, Teagan Therit 1), CREST 4 (Anthony Kovalchik 4). Corner kicks — HER 3, CRE 6.