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Liebert, Zwolinski lift Rebels to title

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By Jamie Rankin
Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008
 

HERSHEY -- With one kick, the PIAA Class A boys soccer championship went from a likely overtime adventure to a stunning victory by Seton-La Salle.

The Rebels scrambled to keep pace with a quick and talented Camp Hill team for much of the game before senior defender Michael Liebert capitalized on a free kick in the corner, scoring with five seconds left in the game for a 1-0 Seton-La Salle victory at Hersheypark Stadium.

The goal was Liebert's fourth of the season, not to mention the biggest of his career.

"It was great," he said. "It's something every kid dreams about, scoring the game-winning goal in the state finals, and it actually happened."

Seton-La Salle coach Aaron Panczyk said Liebert found the net on the "alumni play."

"In the alumni game, we had all the kids push forward, and we scored on it," he said. "This time, we wanted to get everyone in the box. We were very fortunate on it."

The victory put the finishing touches on an undefeated season for the Rebels (25-0), and Panczyk said some of the credit must go to the defense and senior goalkeeper Michael Zwolinski.

"This is Mike's first year as goalkeeper. He told me after the game at Shaler (a 3-0 semifinal victory against Shady Side Academy) that he would never let me down," Panczyk said.

Zwolinski lived up to his promise, stopping repeated shots. Camp Hill (24-3-1) tested him often, particularly in the first half. Senior forward Ben Danowitz was a threat in front of the net for most of the game, and senior midfielders Nick Kline and Neil Gallagher also had a couple of shots.

Seton-LaSalle standout David DelGreco was under pressure from a tough Camp Hill defense.

"They absolutely dominated the play the first half," Panczyk said. "Toward the end of the first half, we could see they were starting to get tired a little bit."

The Rebels made some adjustments at the half and came out stronger in the second period, but Camp Hill had its chances, including a penalty kick by Gallagher at 26:08 of the second half. Zwolinski turned it aside.

At the other end of the field, sophomore goalie L.K. Thompson managed to keep Seton-LaSalle under control until Liebert took a fortuitous pass from Alex Fischetti to score the game-winner.

"It just sucks the life right out of you," Camp Hill coach Jon Piraino said. "We dominated the game and were getting ready for overtime, and it just sucks the wind right out of you. Everybody saw it - their fans, our fans. I'm not going to say the wrong team won, but it was very unlucky for us. It just happened to go their way."

Panczyk called the win, on a goal by an unlikely star, "a fairy tale."

"Camp Hill is the best team we've played all year, by far," he said.

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