JACKSON TWP — Seneca Valley's boys soccer team was under-manned Tuesday night, but the Raiders' chances of advancing to the Class 4A state quarterfinals remained in very capable hands.
Senior forward Joey Coon had a hat trick and SV's defense put the clamps on yet another opponent in a 3-0 victory over District 3's Hempfield at NexTier Stadium.
Coon, who missed a number of games this year with injury, said he had scored five goals this season prior to breaking out Tuesday.
“I don't think there's a better feeling, with this being our last home game of the season,” Coon said. “It's awesome!”
Seneca Valley will face District 1 runner-up Lower Merion, a 2-0 winner over Parkland, in a quarterfinal Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
The Raiders were without several key players who were “dinged up,” according to coach George Williams.
SV was also just three days removed from winning the WPIAL championship. Sure, the program seamlessly made the transition from claiming a district title last year to making a run that ended with a state title, but only one starter returned this year from that team.
Would the emotional high be too much for this group?
“We were a bit concerned with that,” Williams admitted. “And we were preparing to face a team (Hempfield) that we didn't know much about, but our boys were up to the task.”
That was evident early as Coon's first goal, set up by a cross from the right of the net by Beaux Lizewski, was scored in the eighth minute.
Coon made it 2-0 just 11 minutes later. After receiving a pass from Max Marcotte, Coon was able to get a shot off left of the net just before a defender arrived. Hempfield goalkeeper Noah Felty had come off his line and the ball beat him to the net.
SV (19-0-1) carried the 2-0 lead into halftime.
The Black Knights (12-7-1), who finished fourth in their district, had received balanced scoring this season from forwards Nate Schwartz, Nathan Leisure and Devin Schmitt. But open space proved hard to come by against the Raiders.
“Seneca Valley was able to put a lot of pressure on us,” said Hempfield coach Mark Ashley. “We had to play the ball quicker than we wanted to.
“They say the best defense is a good offense and they possessed very well.”
Early in the second half, the Black Knights earned three corner kicks in a 90-second span, but none of them led to a goal.
Coon capped the scoring with his third goal in the 59th minute.
“Joey's still working his way back from injury,” said Williams. “He's a workhorse with a physical aspect to his game.”
Felty stopped seven shots for Hempfield. SV's Ryan Krumenacker had to make just two saves.