Deer Lakes, back in playoffs, edges Burrell in shootout
Deer Lakes' first playoff game in a decade ended with a dog pile of Lancers.
Junior Alex Caro, a defender who hadn't scored all season, slipped a penalty kick just past Burrell goalkeeper Justin Schwartz and into the top-right corner to decide Deer Lakes' Class AA first-round shootout win over the Bucs Monday night at Fox Chapel.
The No. 9 seed Lancers (12-2-3) and No. 8 Burrell (10-6-2) remained tied, 0-0, through regulation and two overtime periods. But the shootout served as an offensive showcase for both teams, with all five Deer Lakes players scoring and four of the five Bucs burying shots.
“I've never had that much pressure on me before,” said Caro, who met a rush of teammates and disappeared under them after his goal. “It was crazy, but it was a wonderful feeling after. … I was getting nervous because we were making them, and they were making all of theirs. There were just 1,000 things going through my head.”
Lancers goalkeeper Austin Barneycastle dove to his right to deny Burrell's second shooter, Jon McAfoose, for the only shootout save.
“Sometimes I read the plant foot,” Barneycastle said, “but most of the time, I just pick a side and stick to it.”
Deer Lakes, in the playoffs for the first time since 2003, advances to play either No. 1 seed West Allegheny or No. 16 Mt. Pleasant in the quarterfinals Thursday at a time and site to be determined.
“You can only prepare them so much to shake off those playoff jitters,” Deer Lakes coach Jordan Wiegand said. “I think the next game, we can be a little more calm and composed. … They weren't the entire game up until the end, but in the PKs, that showed some composure right there.”
Barneycastle and Schwartz shined as goal-line guardians for their respective teams.
The Lancers goalkeeper, who finished with 11 saves, stared down a clean shot from about 12 yards by Burrell's Corey Mazary late in the first half, stopped Joey Cox's free kick from just outside the 18-yard box midway through the second half, and used his finger tips on a diving stop to deny Tom Spagnolo, who had a clean breakaway chance.
Schwartz, who had nine saves, came down with Shane Mullin's 40-yard free kick on goal midway through the first half and broke up Joe Dillner's breakaway opportunity in the first overtime.
Jake Davis, Justin Sutter, Matt McCausland, Mullin and Caro beat Schwartz in the shootout. Schwartz got a full hand on Caro's shot to the corner, but couldn't stop the ball's momentum.
“I felt pretty confident on the PKs,” Schwartz said. “I got my hand on a few. The shooters are supposed to make them. I try to get a read on them, but in the end, you really just pick a side and dive.”
Cox, Andrew Stewart, Spagnolo and Josh Wertkin scored for Burrell in the shootout.
The loss added to a frustrating month for Burrell, which claimed the Section 1 title despite going 1-4-2 in October.
“We had a rough month with some sickness and injuries,” Schwartz said. “I thought we showed up tonight though and played our best. Sometimes it just doesn't add up.”