After spotting section rival Riverview a three-goal lead at the half, Royals coach Mitch Riehle knew poor marking on corner kicks is what put his squad in a hole.
“We didn't do a good job marking on those corner kicks, and we came out a little flat which was my fear,” Rhiele said. “I told them at the half, let's go out and win the second half. Let's push it to a 3-3 tie and take it to overtime.”
The Royals almost did exactly that before falling, 3-2. Mike Haberman converted on a penalty kick early in the second half, and Alec Costa did a nice job in front of a crowded net to score the Royals' second goal.
Vincentian cranked it up, and although the team had probably two or three good scoring opportunities, Vincentian just could not draw any closer.
“I was hoping to let our fitness take control in the second half,” Riehle said.
Riehle would have preferred a win, but the Royals punched their playoff ticket regardless.
“I wanted to finish strong and get a top-four seed, but now our focus is a strong finish,” Riehle said. “We want to go into the playoffs on a high note.”
The deepest any Royals team has made it in the WPIAL playoffs was the semifinals, so that is the goal Riehle set for his team. To accomplish that feat, the team has to win three games.
“I am proud of how we came back in the second half against Riverview,” Riehle said.
“Close games will help you as a team, and we have six underclassmen starting, so this experience is good for them.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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