Wasted opportunities haunt Great Valley in district title game loss to CB East

BS_20141101_GVvsCBEastBy DAVE KURTZ

FRANCONIA TWP. – Unfinished business.

That was the final analysis coming from the Great Valley corner following a gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to fourth-seeded Central Bucks East in the District 1-AAA boys’ soccer championship match Saturday afternoon at Souderton Area High.

The defending district champions and No. 15 seeds squandered countless opportunities in the opening 40 minutes, and failed to find an answer when CB East broke on top with the game’s only goal off a restart in the 34th minute.

“In the first half we had all kinds of chances,” said Great Valley coach Dave Moffett. “But we just couldn’t connect or put them away. We kept banging on the door but we could not get through.”

CB East junior keeper Austin Prime and the sturdy defensive group in front of him – including J.R. Eisold, Will Eisold, Booker Farrior and Ian Lutz – formed an impenetrable wall in front of the net. Prime finished with seven saves –several of the highlight-reel caliber variety – and five in the opening 40 minutes when the GV Patriots came up empty on five well-conceived corner opportunities.

“We knew Great Valley was strong, and that the No. 15 seed for them was deceiving,” said Prime. “They put a lot of pressure on us, especially in the first half. But I have to credit my defense for being strong. We had good communication, and although we have some young guys back there like (freshman) Will Eisold, we have good chemistry.”

CB East had the right mix following a restart with 6:12 left in the first half, junior Brian Gilligan heading home Evan Vare’s perfect cross for the game’s only goal.

“They executed that free kick perfectly,” said Moffett. “Their keeper kept them in it and then they converted when the opportunity came, something we couldn’t do. Our defense had a little lull and they took advantage.”

The missed opportunity sends Great Valley (15-5-2), a state semifinalist in 2013, to a PIAA opening round date with District 11 champion Southern Lehigh Tuesday at an undetermined time and place.

But the pain of the district loss won’t linger, said Great Valley senior captain and forward Jack Hajnik.

“Their goalie made some great saves and when we got down a goal, we stopped playing our game,” said Hajnik. “It was a different situation being down, much more urgent. But although we lost today, we are ready to kick some (butt) in states.”

Great Valley is ready for this restart and Tuesday’s opener versus Southern Lehigh, which took the D11 title with a 2-1 win over Emmaus Thursday.

“Our kids have a lot of experience in pressure situations,” said Moffett. “We feel we are capable of beating anyone.”

NOTES: Aidan Claffey finished with five saves for Great Valley, which held advantages in shots (7-6) and corners (6-1) … CB East (20-2) opens state play against the No. 4 seed from District 3 Tuesday.

Great Valley   0-0-0

CB East            1-0-1

CB East scoring

6:12 (1st half); Brian Gilligan header off a cross from Evan Vare on free kick

Goalie saves: Aidan Claffey (GV) 5, Austin Prime (CBE) 7

Shots:  Great Valley 7, CB East 6

Corners: Great Valley 6, CB East 1

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