The sun had set Wednesday afternoon in Lancaster, and an autumn chill numbed fingers and toes as darkness descended on the District Three Class 1A boys soccer quarterfinal between Lancaster Country Day and visiting Harrisburg Academy. The No. 4 and No. 5 seeds in the tournament had played to a 1-1 tie through regulation and penalty kicks, and as day turned to night, their marathon match went into penalty kicks.
"I told the boys in the huddle," said Chris Wilson, Lancaster Country Day's coach. "I said, 'Listen. Mike's going to make a save. And we're going to make all of ours.' We've been practicing our PKs, and I just said, 'You're going to step up and bury it.'"
Mike — sophomore goalkeeper Mike Korenkiewicz — made a save, Evan Proulx, Mason Lee, Cameron Young and Alex Vine buried their chances, and the Cougars prevailed 1-1 (4-3) to advance to Saturday's semifinal round after Harrisburg Academy's final attempt banged off the crossbar and bounced away from the net.
Lancaster Country Day defeats Harrisburg Academy, 2-2 (4-3 PKs). Cougars advance Saturday's District Three 1A semis. pic.twitter.com/T0iTdaAbUa— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) October 24, 2018
"I love PKs," Korenkiewicz said. "There's almost no pressure on the goalie."
Korenkiewicz gave the No. 4 Cougars (13-4-1) the advantage in penalty kicks by lunging to his right to absorb a shot from Harrisburg Academy's Henry Naguski in the second round.
"He's hungry," Wilson said of Korenkiewicz, who also made three saves in regulation and overtime, "and he's young. He's only a sophomore, but he's progressing nicely. He has a good attitude. He wants to learn. He's always asking, 'Coach, can I do this a little better? Am I taking this angle right?' That helped a lot. He's a very good coachable young man."
Long before Korenkiewicz's lunge, before the sun had set, the No. 5 Spartans (14-4-0) took a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute when Orion Dinh danced into the Lancaster Country Day box and, with a slim margin of separation from the Cougar defenders flicked a shot past the Country Day keeper.
"We were just kind of hem-hum-hawing around," Wilson said, "and (the goal) was a wake-up call. I think we pressed after that and wore them down a little bit."
The Cougars answered in the 50th minute. Jackson Odom put on a foot on a ball that bounced around the Harrisburg Academy box, and it sailed over the hands of goalkeeper John Helm, who turned away eight Country Day shots total, including six in the second half and overtime as the sun set and the Cougars built momentum.
"Their keeper," Wilson said, "made a couple big saves when he needed to, or we could've been out of there in regulation, so hats off to him."
The Cougars advance to Saturday's semifinal, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium, opposite top-seeded Camp Hill (17-2), the defending district and state champion a 3-0 winner over Antietam Wednesday.
As darkness continued to fall, the Spartans boarded their bus in a stunned silence, their fingers and toes numb from the cold. Their head coach, Pat Branoff, reflected on their growth from last year's 7-8 record and their 18th-place finish in the district.
"I'm super proud of our guys," he said, "coming from 7-8 last year and turning it around. We came down here and played a good game with these guys. They were physical. They were smart. I couldn't be prouder of the effort."