Share This Page

Connellsville boys soccer team finishes at .500 after topping Southmoreland

| Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 10:45 p.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Connellsville's Jacob Rice (19) moves past Southmoreland's Adam Hernley on his upfield Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, at Hempfield's Spartan Stadium.

For the Connellsville boys soccer team, finishing the season on a strong note meant more than just picking up a victory in the season finale.

The Falcons entered Tuesday's nonsection game against Southmoreland hoping to avoid a losing season, and Connellsville came through with a big effort on its way to a 3-0 victory over the playoff-bound Scotties. The win clinched a .500 season for the Falcons (9-9).

“It's been an up-and-down year,” Connellsville coach Jason Rice said. “If we play whole games,we probably would have won a few more, but we're learning.”

Rice understood the significance of piecing together a .500 campaign.

“It's big for us,” Jason Rice said. “It helps us build throughout the program.”

For the Scotties (12-5-1), a third-place finish in Section 6-AA gives them the chance to compete in the WPIAL playoffs, which could start as early as Saturday. However, coach Chris Hixson didn't see a lot to build on in the game against Connellsville, which was played at Hempfield because of flood damage that was sustained at Russ Grimm Field earlier this season.

“(Connellsville) is a very good team, and we found out some things we needed to work on,” Hixson said.

Hixson noted that many of the changes his players need to make are mental.

“It's more attitude and focus,” Hixson said. “We have to have the attitude to be focused for games, and I'm hoping that attitude will be there (in the playoffs).”

One of the bright spots for Southmoreland was the play of Brian Shaffer. The Scotties' keeper made several tough saves, which kept his team within striking distance.

“Brian is great,” Hixson said. “He probably gets overlooked because we expect him to make the big saves.”

Shaffer was good, but so was Connellsville keeper Lawrence Becker. The Falcons didn't give up many quality chances, but when they did, Becker excelled.

“Becker has come up big for us,” Rice said.

The Falcons out-chanced the Scotties, and they were rewarded for their hard work, when Jacob Rice broke through the middle and slid a low shot past Shaffer to give Connellsville a 1-0 lead 16 minutes into the game.

Then in the second half, Southmoreland pressured for the tying goal, but were denied several times.

Connellsville's Jeffrey Kreinbrook then scored a huge goal. He deflected a ball high into the right corner to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead with 24 minutes to go. Moments later, Jacob Rice sealed it when he drilled one past Shaffer on a penalty kick for his second goal.

For the Falcons, it was a fitting end to the season.

“One of our goals this year was to be in every game, and we were, except for one,” Jason Rice said.

Connellsville finished 6-0 in nonsection play. Every nonsection victory was a shutout.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.