By CHRISSY WOLBERT
On a rare warm November night, District 10 champions Harbor Creek and District 5 champions Bedford battled through a scoreless first half during Saturday’s PIAA Class AA boys soccer quarterfinal Saturday night at North Allegheny’s Newman Stadium.
Bedford senior goalkeeper James Jeffries made sure of that by making seven saves and shutting down repeated chances from the Huskies offense.
Jeffries also kept the Huskies (19-2-1) at bay in the second half while Blake Baer netted a late goal to give the Bisons a 1-0 win, taking the squad to its first ever PIAA boys soccer semifinal.
While the Harbor Creek faithful were once again forced to endure a heart-wrenching defeat to close their squad’s season, the Bisons will now get ready to play in the semifinals for the first time in school
Bedford, which also holds the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference crown, will take on Lancaster Mennonite (16-6-0), a
3-2 shootout winner over Quaker Valley on Tuesday. A site and time have not yet been determined.
“This team is special,” said Bedford coach Jeff Thomas. “They have chemistry and they’re not afraid to back down. If we keep fighting like we have all season, I think we’ll be set.”
The Bisons came out strong, applied the early pressure and appeared to hold the advantage as far as offensive possession. Despite this, the Huskies held the edge in offensive chances as they outshot Bedford 7-4 in the first 40 minutes.
The tables turned once the second half got underway, with Harbor Creek looking alive and playing more aggressively. The Huskies made two good offensive pushes, but were shutdown yet again by the Bedford defense.
“We could not have asked more out of our defense tonight,” said Thomas. “They did not back down and kept the shots to a minimum.”
Bedford (21-1-0) had five shots on Harbor Creek goalie Nick Barclay in the second half, but only one of those shots led to a Bisons goal. The play developed as Sam Felix connected with Baer after a cross from the left side of the field, which was headed beautifully into the top right corner of the net with 6:15 remaining.
The Baer goal ended the Huskies five-game shutout streak, and secured a Bedford victory after the Bisons defense once again thwarted the District 10 champs.
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