MV stuns New Hope-Solebury in semifinals
BY MARTY MYERS
Mountain View boys soccer coach Roger Thomas will be turning the other cheek.
After winning Saturday’s state soccer quarterfinal against Greenwood, Thomas took a razor to the left side of his beard and mustache, signifying the Eagles were just halfway to their ultimate goal.
Thomas’ sons, Colby and Dylan, made sure their father will be clean-shaven for the first time in their lives, combining to score all three goals as Mountain View stunned two-time defending state champion New Hope-Solebury, 3-2, Tuesday night.
The winning goal came when Colby Thomas wheeled and whipped a left-footed shot past Lions’ goalie Lucas Ebeling with 7:13 left in their semifinal at Salisbury High School.
Austin Mack gave his teammate a nice feed 15 yards in front of the right post, but Colby Thomas knew he didn’t have much room, or time.
“I have to give (New Hope-Solebury’s) Jack Natale credit,” Colby said, “He plays on my Lehigh Valley team and he was hassling me the whole night. He didn’t give me much space. I knew he was behind me.
“I just turned with my left foot – again, I’m not a lefty – I just closed my eyes and hoped.”
The shot deflected off the post and behind Ebeling for the Eagles’ only lead of the game.
“My coach is my dad,” Colby said when asked to explain how he made that play. “Ever since I could walk I had a soccer ball. Credit goes to him.”
It capped a dominating second-half effort by the victors, who outshot New Hope-Solebury, 9-2, over the final 40 minutes.
“We didn’t have the most possession but we had the best shots, and that’s what won us the game,” said Dylan Thomas. “Early in the game we were on our heels and that really killed us right away. But then we stepped it up. At halftime, we told our guys we don’t want this to be the last game of the year.”
The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute when Riley Smith worked the ball on the left wing to Pat Brennan, who dribbled in and pushed a shot inside the short side.
Mountain View got even 4:54 after halftime when Dylan Thomas took a free kick just outside the 18-yard line and found a crack in the defense.
“I’ve been practicing free kicks and I’ve been getting pretty lucky with them,” Dylan Thomas said. “I had the pleasure of putting it home for our team. It was pretty exciting.
“They had four in the wall but they gave me a little bit of an angle and I snuck it past them. It was pretty sweet.”
New Hope-Solebury reclaimed the lead at 51:17 when Matt Barile hooked his corner kick into the net off a Mountain View defender.
“The problem was that we had two major mistakes,” Roger Thomas said. “I’m not going to say we spotted them two goals, but we sure gave them two goals that we would have liked to have had back.”
Less than two minutes later, it was tied again. Colin Davis played the ball long and Colby Thomas split three defenders to get to the ball first.
“I saw the ball come loose, picked my head up, saw Colby running and played the ball to the flag like we’re always supposed to do,” Davis said. “I let him take charge from there.”
From that point, Mountain View dominated, missing a pair of good scoring chances inside 18 yards that would have given the Eagles the lead. Then Ebeling stoned Mack from point-blank range. But the Eagles were unrelenting, finally taking the lead on Colby Thomas’ second score.
“Sooner or later you have to equalize and if you do it in time, it gives you time to possibly go ahead, and that was the real key,” Roger Thomas said. “The second half, we started hustling around and broke the ball free and were able to get a couple goals.
“Face it, we chased them from behind every goal, except for the third goal.”
And now the Eagles will be chasing something else: the school’s first state team title.
“We need to all take a deep breath,” Colby Thomas said. “We have one more.”