Eagles advance to semifinals

Eagle Zeb Cross heads a ball into the net for the second of his two goals scored in the 4-1 victory over Biglerville. PHOTO COURTESY NORTHEAST EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

Eagle Zeb Cross heads a ball into the net for the second of his two goals scored in the 4-1 victory over Biglerville. PHOTO COURTESY NORTHEAST EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

BY SHANE HENNIGAN
Times Shamrock Writer

Mountain View has always had a knack for scoring quickly, but even head coach Roger Thomas was in awe of what he saw.

Colby Thomas took a pass from Zeb Cross, crossed over his defender and blasted a shot into the back of the net for the game’s first goal – nine seconds into the match.

“I had to take a picture of the clock because I don’t know if anybody’s scored in nine seconds,” Roger Thomas laughed. “But yeah, from off the kickoff, that was the quickest score I think I’ve ever noticed.”

The goal gave the Eagles the momentum they were seeking, as they scored two more times in the next eight minutes and cruised to a 4-1 victory over District 3 champion Biglerville in the PIAA Class A soccer quarterfinals.

Colby Thomas battles against a Canner defender for control of the ball in the quarterfinal matchup with Biglerville. PHOTO COURTESY NORTHEAST EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

Colby Thomas battles against a Canner defender for control of the ball in the quarterfinal matchup with Biglerville. PHOTO COURTESY NORTHEAST EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

Mountain View (16-0) advances to Tuesday’s PIAA semifinal for the second consecutive season, where it will face District 1 champion New Hope-Solebury, which defeated District 4 champion Bloomsburg, 5-1, in a rematch of last year’s semifinal.

In that game, the Eagles rallied to win, 3-2, en route to winning the PIAA championship.

When the opening whistle blew, Cross took the ball and immediately saw Thomas sprinting down the far sideline. Cross found the gap in the defense and knocked the ball to Thomas, who took care of the rest to bring the Mountain View crowd to its feet quicker than expected.

“(Biglerville) was only playing three in the back and were playing really high,” Colby said. “Zeb and I both saw it, and he just dropped a perfect ball to me. It was all pretty incredible.”

Mountain View goalie Bobby Pfahl knocks away a shot fired from the top of the box- just one of his 13 saves in the game. PHOTO COURTESY NORTHEAST EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

Mountain View goalie Bobby Pfahl knocks away a shot fired from the top of the box- just one of his 13 saves in the game. PHOTO COURTESY NORTHEAST EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

It didn’t take Cross much longer to strike again, as he positioned himself in front of the net and headed in a perfectly placed corner kick from Ed Bognatz at the 4:31 mark to put the Eagles ahead, 2-0.

“Ed had a great ball in,” Cross said. “What goes through anybody’s head in that situation is just, ‘Can I get my head on the ball and put it in the direction of the net?’ There’s so many people going for the ball, and you have to be the won to win it. Luckily, I was.”

Four minutes later, Cross headed in a Chad Schmidt pass that gave Mountain View a lightning quick three-goal lead.

The Canners (19-5), however, would settle down for the rest of the first half, and got the break they were looking for 15 minutes into the second half. Koby Griest headed in a rebound from Armando Rojo off a free throw on the near sideline to cut the deficit to two.

Biglerville continued to attack and challenge goalkeeper Bobby Pfahl, forcing him to come up with big saves.

Perhaps the biggest came in the 69th minute. Griest fired a shot from the top of the box, but Pfahl, who had 13 saves, knocked it away.

“We’re really comfortable with Bobby in net,” Cross said. “He’s come up big for us before when we’ve needed him. He’s a great goalie so when we have him behind us, there’s not a whole lot of worrying to do.”

The Eagles would end any hopes the Canners had of completing a comeback in the 73rd minute.

Like he’s done so many times, Bognatz placed a corner kick in front of the net. Defenseman Matt Heller outjumped his opponents and headed the ball into the net for the goal – only his second of the season – to send Mountain View one step closer to defending its state title.

“I saw an opening in the middle so I came running in,” Heller said. “I knew he was going to place the ball where it had to be so I just went up and got it.

“This feels awesome.”