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Deitch’s 2 goals send Great Valley to state final

EXETER TOWNSHIP – Great Valley flipped the script on last season’s bitter loss in the state boys’ soccer semifinals Tuesday night at Exeter High School.

One year after dropping an overtime decision to Conestoga Valley at this very same venue, the Patriots erased the bad memory with a 2-1 triumph over Mechanicsburg to advance to the PIAA Class AAA championship Saturday (6:30 p.m.) at Hersheypark Stadium.

Colin Deitch banged in a pair of goals, his second strike in the 57th minute snapping a 1-1 tie and sending Great Valley (19-5-2) to Hershey, where they’ll face District 7 champion Peters Township – a 3-0 winner over Lower Dauphin in Tuesday’s other semifinal.

“Somebody is stepping up every game,” said Deitch, who has eight goals on the season. “Last game it was Jack (Hajnik) and Nick (Paynter). This game, I guess it was me.”

Deitch’s game-winning drive from 25 yards out, set up by a Kyle Hoops assist, preceded the solid work turned in by keeper Aidan Claffey, who came up big down the stretch to preserve the win.

First Claffey, who finished with three saves, dove to the right post to turn away a corner attempt after a scrum in front of the net at the 8-minute mark. With 1:45 remaining, Claffey went high to deny Zach Sherman on a header going toward the right post.

“Any time you’re up a goal, you don’t have to expose yourself,” said Great Valley coach Dave Moffett of the defense-first mentality down the stretch. “We’ve had enough games like this to understand that. We sometimes gave up possession to get better (defensive position).”

Mechanicsburg (18-6) drew first blood when Sherman scored off a counter in the 12th minute, but Deitch came up with an answer 4 minutes later, ripping one home for the equalizer from 20 yards out.

“We just wanted to play our game,” said Moffett. “Knock the ball around and make people chase us.”

Now the chase is on for a state title. The Patriot, who last won the Class AAA crown in 1993 and have four state titles under their belt, will have to contend with District 7 champion Peters Township scoring machine Mario Mastrangelo, who had a hat trick to run his season total to 24 in the semifinal win.

But Claffey likes the way everything is unfolding for the Ches-Mont League representatives.

“We thought we should have won last year, and we knew we had something to prove,” said Claffey.  “The way our team has been playing during these playoffs has been beautiful. It is fun to watch.”

Peters Township (21-2) has outscored the opposition 10-0 during its three playoff wins, but Deitch is confident in the Patriots’ chances.

“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Deitch. “If we play hard, we can get the job done.”

(1-2) Great Valley 2, (3-3) Mechanicsburg 1

Mechanicsburg    1-0-1

Great Valley          1-1-2

Mechanicsburg (4 shots, 3 corners)

Zach Sherman 1g

Brandon Diehl 7 saves

Great Valley (9 shots, 2 corners)

Colin Deitch 2g

Kyle Hoops 1a

Aidan Claffey 3 saves

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