Bedford’s boys soccer team has achieved more this season than it ever had before.
But the dream season came to an end Tuesday night at Chambersburg High School’s Trojan Stadium when defending Class AA state champion Lancaster Mennonite eliminated the Bisons 3-1 in a PIAA semifinal contest.
It seemed as though the Blazers (20-8) were a step ahead of Bedford all evening.
“A lot of times it was like they were playing keep away with us,” Bisons coach Jeff Thomas said after his team finished the season with a 21-2 record.
“They worked the ball on the turf. You could tell they were a little more used to it than we were. They worked the triangle well. It seemed like we just couldn’t keep the guys covered. I think the game was a little faster pace than we were used to. I think it was because of the turf.”
Lancaster Mennonite had control of the action for nearly the entire first half as the Blazers held the Bisons without a shot on goal for the first 40 minutes.
Lancaster got on the scoreboard first as sophomore Khup Dal sent the ball to Ian Burkhart, who kicked it past Bedford goaltender James Jeffries to put the Blazers ahead 1-0 with 16:34 to play in the first half.
The Blazers struck again in the final minute of play in the first half. Matt Hess had a throw in which Zach Lehman moved ahead to Eric Bailey. Bailey headed the ball over Jeffries to put the Blazers up 2-0.
“Getting that second one makes it a little more comfortable for you at halftime, but you don’t want to rest on that,” Blazers coach Fred Winey said. “We try to play a possession style and move the ball around. If you can move the ball quickly it’s hard to get a lot of pressure on people because you’re always chasing after them.”
The Bisons came out in the second half with more intensity.
“I just told them that they had to get possession back and do the things that we’ve done all year, what got us here, and to keep mixing things up,” Thomas said. “They never gave up. They kept fighting.”
But Lancaster sealed the game with a third goal, this one by Viktor Kaltenstein. Bailey had the assist on the goal, which was scored with 6:27 left.
Bedford averted the shutout with a Steven Stroup goal with 4:28 remaining in the contest.
“Coming in to the season, we knew it was going to be a good season, but you never know, but I’m sure they are all proud of what they accomplished,” Thomas said.
It will be an all-District 3 final as Lancaster Mennonite plays Pequea Valley at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.