By DAN SERNOFFSKY Staff Writer, Lebanon Daily News
They didn't accomplish all of the goals they set for themselves at the start of the season, but there was no denying that the Palmyra Cougar boys' soccer team enjoyed a truly stellar season.
The Cougars had to settle for a third-place finish in the District Three tournament after winning the district crown a year earlier and bowed out of the state tournament a game short of the championship round.
What the Cougars did before making their runs deep into the district and state playoffs, however, was well worth remembering.
Palmyra put together an incredible 22-game winning streak before finally losing in the district semifinals. Included in that streak was a perfect 14-0 run through Mid-Penn Conference's Keystone Division. That was followed by a pair of wins in the conference playoffs, giving the Cougars their first-ever Mid-Penn Conference championship.
Leading the way for the Cougars was senior Brett Jankouskas, who scored 23 goals and had 23 assists, and who was selected as the Pennsylvania player of the year after having been named player of the year in both the Keystone Division and the Mid-Penn Conference. Jankouskas was also named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America team.
Two Hat Tricks are a charm
The Palmyra Cougars defeated Harrisburg Cougars 11-0 for a 2-0 start to their season. Pacing the Cougars were Michael Choyce 3 goals 1 assist, Christian Rhine 3 goals, Brett Haldeman 2 Goals, Zack Krikorian 1 goal 1 assist, Mike Fuhrman 1 goal, Kameron Bush 1 goal. Matt Legrelius, Zach Klein, and Tim Hoffer assisted. Nate McClellan stopped 3 shots for his first Varsity shutout along with Garret Swope playing the last 15 minutes. Special thanks to the City Islanders for sponsoring the game! Palmyra next plays this weekend in the Antietam tourney.
Individual player photos can be found in a new album, courtesy of Mandy, THANKS!
Tournament details can be found on the calendar....
PHOTOS BELOW COURTESY OF KIP ALQUIST
Brett scores for Orange
Jankouskas Scores First College Goal In Season-Opening Loss To Siena
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Freshman Brett Jankouskas scored a goal in his first college game, but Siena (1-0) ultimately spoiled head coach Ian McIntyre’sSyracuse debut. The Saints erupted for five goals to hand the Orange (0-1) a 5-1 loss in the season opener for both teams Wednesday, Sept. 1 at the SU Soccer Stadium.
PALMYRA PREVIEW: Can Cougars finish what they start?
One advantage the Cougars will have this season is in special teams, where the solid relationship that was built between the football and soccer teams last season has resulted in a solid kicking game for the football team. This season, soccer player Jamel Manning, a 5-11, 155-pound senior, and Matt Smoluk, a 6-2, 185-pound junior, will handle the placekicking chores while Jake Lehman, a 6-1, 220-pound junior, will handle the punting. Taylor will be the long snapper.
"I'm looking forward to the kicker," said Pope. "That's going to help us."
Mid-Penn Keystone boys' soccer preview
MICHAEL BULLOCK, The Patriot-News, September 01, 2010 10:56 a.m.
PALMYRA COUGARS Coach: Craig Tyrrell. 2009 record: 25-2-0 (14-0-0 in Keystone). Finished third in District 3-AA playoffs and reached PIAA Class AA semifinals.
Restarts: Tough to lose much of your lineup, including All-American striker Brett Jankouskas, but the determined Tyrrell is in program-building mode. He’ll just move up a successful crop from the JV squad and let them go.
Top returnees: Dustin Stuck (sr D, 1g, 0a), Zack Krikorian (sr M, 7g, 3a), Jamel Manning (sr F, 5g, 6a).
Top newcomer: Michael Choyce (sr F).
Palmyra used first-half goal by Bret Haldeman to upend Middletown, 1-0.
Posted: 09/14/2010 10:25:54 PM EDT
The good times continue to keep rolling along for the Palmyra boys' soccer team.
Fresh off its weekend tournament championship in the Antietam Tournament, the Cougars ran their record to 5-0 with a narrow 1-0 victory under the lights at Middletown on Tuesday night. The win also improved Palmyra's record in the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference to 3-0.
The lone goal in the victory over the Blue Raiders came off the foot of the Cougars' Bret Haldeman, who scored with 23:52 left in the first half. Matthew Lagrelius assisted on the marker as Palmyra outshot Middletown 19-9 and also had a 6-1 edge in corner kicks. Nate McClellan kicked aside all nine shots he faced in goal to record the third shutout of the season for the Cougars.
BOYS' SOCCER: Palmyra routs Hershey
By ANDY MEASE
For The Daily News
Posted: 09/16/2010 11:11:36 PM EDT
PALMYRA - After graduating eight of 11 starters from a state semifinal team and having your back-yard rival, Hershey, coming to town, you could expect some issues. Especially considering the difficulties the aforementioned senior-laden Palmyra team had last year with the Trojans, posting two tight 1-0 victories.
But that certainly wasn't the case last night for the soccer-playing Cougars (6-0, 4-0) Thursday as they used free kicks, the "through ball" and timely mistakes to blast rival Hershey, 5-1, on a cold and rainy night at Buck Swank Stadium.
"The seniors and juniors have really stepped up this year," said third-year Palmyra head coach Craig Tyrrell, on the subject of replacing eight starters. "They're not comparing this year with last year. Everybody has stepped up. We're just taking it one game at a time and having fun."
It was a tough beginning for Palmyra as Hershey employed a tight 4-5-1 defensive formation. The Trojans kept clogging the middle of the field and forcing Palmyra to use the wings. The Cougars weren't able to sustain much pressure or even ball control the first five-plus minutes due to the defensive pressure.
After about ten minutes the Cougars finally started to push through. It all began when a Bret Haldeman shot was deflected out for a corner. Palmyra was unable to connect on the corner, but it set the stage for the first goal of the contest.
Haldeman, a junior, was maintaining possession in the attacking third when he sent a ball through the middle of the Hershey defense to Dan Rusling. Rusling corralled the ball and chipped it over Hershey goalkeeper Ben Masters for the 1-0 lead just under 12 minutes into the contest.
"It was 'the moment'," said coach Tyrrell of Hershey's stingy midfield defensive play to start the game. "It's a great rivalry and they kept fighting. We kept our composure and we were able to punch through."
Palmyra continued to hold play and received a free kick from about 20 yards out when Michael Choyce was taken down just outside the box. Junior Forward Zachary Klein blasted a shot into the upper-left corner for the goal and a 2-0 lead with 18:37 remaining in the first half. Palmyra then made it 3-0 just over 10 minutes later when Klein took a free-kick again from about 20 yards out.
This time he played the ball low into the center of the box. Michael Fuhrman ran onto the ball and finished of the play by chipping it over a charging Masters for the 3-0 lead with 7:31 remaining in the half.
The second half started off quickly as Hershey was able to get on the board just 1:50 in. Midfielder Ricardo Leader scored the goal off of a heat-seeking free-kick blast. Leader took the free kick from about 30 yards out and just ripped it past diving Palmyra junior keeper Nate McClellan, beating him to his left.
Palmyra again had difficulties beating Hershey's midfield pressure. Fortunately for the Cougars they were able to overcome it and spread out the Trojans by controlling possession, using the wings and playing the through ball. Palmyra made it 4-1 at the 58:05 mark off of a Hershey mistake.
On the goal, a Hershey defender attempted to make a clear, but it struck off of the back of a teammate. Cougar forward Christian Rhine was in the right place, as he gathered the ball and raced in toward the Trojan goal. He was able to beat the new Trojan keeper, Andy Haines, to the left side on a pass-like shot.
Palmyra's Haldeman was able to close out the scoring with 5:56 to play when he took a missed clear attempt by Haines and calmly tapped it into the back of the net.
The conditions at Buck Swank were certainly not ideal for soccer. Players for both sides were continually slipping and sliding their way around the field. Palmyra outshot Hershey 13-7 for the game, and had five corners to Hershey's two.
"It's a good feeling," said coach Tyrrell of the start to the Cougars season. "It's just another game and we're going to continue to take it one game at a time. We're just trying to have some fun."
Down 2-0, Palmyra rallies for victory over West York behind Bret Haldeman's two goals.
Posted: 09/29/2010 11:37:52 PM EDT
The Palmyra boys' soccer team rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit to knock off West York 3-2 in overtime in non-league boys' soccer action at Buck Swank Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Cougars rallied to force extra time on Bret Haldeman's unassisted goal with 4:17 left in regulation, then won it when Haldeman struck again less than two minutes into OT off an assist from Christian Rhine.
Now 8-3 on the season, Palmyra notched its first goal of the night 7:15 into the second half when Dan Rusling found the back of the net.
Nate McClellan picked up the win goal, stopping six shots between the pipes.
GO COUGARS !!!!!
BOYS' SOCCER: Palmyra hands 'Cats first loss
Cougars knock off short-handed Mechanicsburg 4-3, ending their 16-game winning streak
By JERRY REIGEL For the Daily News
Posted: 10/16/2010 10:06:41 PM EDT
PALMYRA - Palmyra won't get a chance to defend its Mid-Penn Conference soccer championship from a year ago. So head coach Craig Tyrrell's Cougars did the next best thing. Palmyra knocked off previously undefeated Mechanicsburg 4-3 on Saturday night in an entertaining Mid-Penn Keystone Division regular-season finale at Buck Swank Stadium. Palmyra (13-4-1 overall, 9-2-1 Keystone Division) took a 2-0 first-half lead on goals by senior captain Zach Krikorian and junior midfielder Dan Rusling and opened a 4-2 lead with second-half goals by Michael Fuhrman and Bret Haldeman that came within a minute of each other.
A year ago, Zach Lee was a big part of a Palmyra Area High School soccer team that won the Mid-Penn Conference championship and was 22-0, before losing in the District 3 Class AA semifinals to Tulpehocken and the PIAA Class AA semifinals to Hampton on its way to a 25-2 season.
Lee's second-half goal against Hampton kept the Cougars' season alive at 1-1 with 24:43 left to play before Hampton's Zach Carter scored his second goal of the game to end Palmyra's season.
As a freshman at Elizabethtown College, he is contributing to an MAC Commonwealth Conference club that stood at 8-1-2 after downing Lebanon Valley College 1-0 last week at E-town's Ira Herr Field.
That translates into a record of 33-3-2 for his teams over the past two years.
The fact that Lee is finding playing time as a freshman on coach Skip Roderick's 34-man roster speaks volumes about his ability.
"Zach Lee's doing well," said Roderick, in his 28th year as Blue Jays coach. "He'll be a player for us. The only thing holding him back right now is there are two seniors ahead of him."
The difference between freshmen and seniors on the NCAA Division III level is the difference between 22 and 18 year-olds, or 16 and 12 year-olds.
"The biggest difference I've found between college and high school," Lee said, "is it's a lot more physical in college."
E-town proved that point in its hard-fought win at home over LVC.Despite not scoring, the Blue Jays dominated the Dutchmen in the first half, forcing LVC coach Charlie Grimes, an E-town grad, to move his best forward, Lower Dauphin alum Justin Hutchinson, to right back in the second half.
Ironically, it was Javeim Blanchette's goal in the second half that handed E-town the win. Blanchette is from St. Kitts and Nevis in the Carribbean, same as Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell, who played with his father.
"I came to E-town because of Skip (Roderick)," Lee said. "I like the way he coaches."
Tyrrell also has aligned his program with Roderick's, sending his players to E-town for camp.
Against LVC, Lee also opposed his former Palmyra teammate, goalkeeper Josh Lineaweaver, although Lineaweaver failed to see action.
Lee said he's enjoying his first semester at E-town, where he's studying business. He also likes its close proximity to Palmyra, where his girlfriend, Taylor Trusky, plays soccer for the Cougars. His family and some friends were in the stands for the LVC game.
Among the highlights, he said, of his high school career, which included state (2007), district (2008) and Mid-Penn championships (2009) was his role in the '08 district title.
"The highlight was probably scoring and tying the game to put us in overtime vs. Fleetwood in the district championship in my junior year," he said.
That and the relationships he built with the 10 other seniors on that team, many of whom grew up playing the game together.
"I haven't played against any of them yet," Lee said. "Josh was the closest. Kyle (Schneider) is at Shippensburg. Reed (Kreider) is at Millersville. Brett's (Jankouskas) at Syracuse. Tommy Miller's at Penn State Harrisburg. Some others aren't playing college soccer."
Lee is and there's little doubt he'll score more memorable goals before he's finished.
ABOUT ZACH LEE
What is your favorite sport? Soccer
Your favorite team? Liverpool
Your favorite food? Steak
Your favorite vacation destination? Ocean Ciity, Md.
Your favorite athlete? Michael Jordan
Your favorite musical artist" Lil' Wayne
Who would you like to invite to dinner? Taylor Trusky
Cougars get goals from Choyce and Krikorian to advance to Saturday district quarterfinals.
By JERRY REIGEL For the Daily News
Posted: 10/27/2010 11:45:25 PM EDT
In the first round of the District Three Class AA playoffs Wednesday night at Buck Swank, the Cougars finally put some separation between their Mid-Penn Keystone Division rivals.
Two goals in the final six minutes of the first half by seniors Michael Choyce and Zach Krikorian held up as Palmyra handed the Raiders a season-ending 2-0 loss.
With the win, the No. 4 seeded Cougars moved to 14-4-1 and into Saturday's district quarterfinals against York Suburban at a site and time to be determined. Fifth-seeded Suburban sent Bishop McDevitt home with a 3-2 loss Wednesday night.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Krikorian leads team as Co-Captain, Player
By LLOYD REIGEL
The pressure was on Zack Krikorian from the start of the Palmyra High boys' soccer season. In the movie "The Palmyra Soccer Experience," which highlighted last year's 25-2 season, each player was introduced and portrayed. When it came to Krikorian, coach Craig Tyrrell said, "Next year, this will be Zack's team." As one of two returning senior starters along with Dustin Stuck, Krikorian knew what was expected of him. "When coach said that," he said, "it didn't bother me. I was excited. I was good friends with all the seniors on last year's team and I knew what to expect." Krikorian and Stuck were named captains of this year's team, which finished second in the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division before opening post-season play.
In the opening round of the District 3 Class AA playoffs against Middletown, Krikorian helped set up the first goal by Michael Choyce, then added the clincher 30 seconds before halftime in a 2-0 win at Palmyra's Buck Swank Stadium. The Cougars followed with a 2-0 win over York Surburban in the quarterfinals, setting up Wednesday's clash with Lancaster Mennonite to see who qualifies for the state playoffs. Krikorian didn't score against York Suburban, but his steady play at midfield led to goals by Jamel Manning and Dan Rusling, as well as plugging up the passing lanes for the speedy Trojans.
After his goal against Middletown, Tyrrell was happy to talk about Krikorian. "Zack's doing a good job for us," he said. "He's worked hard on his leadership and his finishing. Both came through for us. His goal was an excellent finish." Krikorian and Stuck have done well setting examples for the numerous underclassmen for Palmyra. "Dustin's a good leader, but we have different styles when it comes to leading," Krikorian said. "Dustin is a fiery type. I'm more a quiet type, who'll take a guy to the side and talk to him quietly."
Past success for Palmyra includes a state championship in 2007, a District 3 title in '08 and a Mid-Penn gold medal last year to go along with the 25-2 record. Krikorian played a few varsity games late in his freshman year, after moving here from New York, added some playing time as a sophomore and started last year in midfield along side Kyle Schneider. He sees no reason why Palmyra's success shouldn't continue. "I believe we will continue to be successful this year because we have a lot of seniors and juniors who have waited a long time to get their chance to play," he said. "Now that they have it, no one wants it to end."
Krikorian is hoping to attend college in the fall to play soccer and study pre-law/political science.
He's visited St. Joseph's and LaSalle in Philadelphia, as well as Gettysburg.
ABOUT ZACK KRIKORIAN
> What is your favorite sport? Soccer
> Your favorite team? Arsenal
> Your favorite food? Bacon Cheeseburgur Your favorite vacation
> destination? Outer Banks, NC Your favorite athlete? Kobe Bryant, and
> Cesc Fabregas Your favorite musical artist? Brand New Whom would you
> like to invite to dinner? Mckenzie Stuart
Palmyra registers 2-1 victory over Trinity in district third-place game to extend season.
By JERRY REIGEL For the Daily News
Posted: 11/06/2010 09:18:18 PM EDT
HERSHEY - Warm up the bus. The Palmyra boys' soccer season isn't over yet. The Cougars are hitting the road. Coach Craig Tyrrell's club qualified for the PIAA Class AA state playoffs Saturday afternoon by defeating Trinity 2-1 in the District Three third-place game at Hersheypark Stadium. Juniors Dan Rusling and Christian Rhine scored second-half goals for the Cougars, who went up 2-0 then had plenty left after Trinity pulled one back in the final 13 minutes. Utilizing its patented short-passing game, Palmyra closed the deal with ease. The Cougars held a 21-8 edge in shots and a 6-1 advantage in corners.
Palmyra (16-5-1) advances into the first round of the state tournament against Bedford on Tuesday, at a site and time to be determined.
"We're still playing," Tyrrell said. "We have a game Tuesday. Everybody got together and said they didn't want this to be our last game."
Senior co-captain Krikorian said pretty much the same as Stuck. "We have a lot of juniors and seniors who waited a long time to play," he said. "Nobody wants to see the season end."
The Cougars have the talent to win in the state tournament. Krikorian and Stuck have the seasoning as seniors, and if Scott Koman and Michael Choyce can return from injury, and Jamel Manning continues to make his presence known, you never know.
"It's a new season," Tyrrell said. "The only thing that matters is our next game. We're playing pretty well."
Click on the poster photo to the right to view a feature from Palmyra Network News.
LLOYD REIGEL, For The Patriot-News, January 15, 2010 12:04 p.m.
Anticipation ran high as the lights were lowered last Saturday at the AllenTheatre in Annville. No one quite knew what they were about to see with the premiere of the Palmyra Soccer Experience.
Would it be a home movie, a highlight film version of the Cougars' exciting 25-2 season that included 22 straight wins?
The film opened with a splashy ESPN promo that led to veteran sports center host Bob Ley seated behind his desk on the ESPN set. Ley opened and closed the film by extolling the virtues of the Palmyra soccer team and its season.
Palmyra's Chris Oscilowski, the creative force behind the project who served as writer, director, producer and cinematographer, said Ben Houser, a former Palmyra soccer player, works for ESPN and assisted with the footage of Ley.
Closing remarks in the film were made by recently retired D.C. United star Ben Olsen, who played against Houser while Olsen was at Middletown.
"I could get shot in parts of Middletown for saying this," said Olsen, "but congratulations to the Palmyra soccer team for its outstanding season. It's always great to see good soccer coming from central Pa."
In his remarks, Olsen, widely considered the best player to come from this area based on his appearances in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2006 World Cup in Germany, urged the players to embrace the memory of their time together and to enjoy it.
Between the flashy opening and closing were miles of footage shot by Oscilowski, with segments on each player and comments made by coaches Craig Tyrrell and Vince Major, as well as athletic director Brian Weidler.
But the real stars of the show were former coaches Dave Lineaweaver, Pat Wagner and Jerry Hoffsmith, who told the story of this team from its infancy.
Lineaweaver's son, Josh, anchored this year's team in goal and was the primary source of information, dating back to his days as youth coach of the Campbelltown Wildcats.
"These kids started out very young as the Wildcats," Dave Lineaweaver said. "Josh and Tommy Miller were probably the first two. Slowly, we built this team by adding a player here and there.
"But the core of the team remained together. I saw we had something, and by the time they were 7 and 8, they were already playing kids 9 and 10. Slowly the team came together, but the important thing is, they stayed together all the way through high school.
"They were the Wildcats, and will always be the Wildcats. There were times I felt bad. I remember one day... there was a 9-on-1 break, and they scored the goal on Josh that won the game. I yelled at Josh and he cried. But Josh was always a good goalkeeper. He always knew his angles and always was in good position. I'm just thankful he kept listening and didn't turn into one of those kids who quit, or worse yet, didn't listen at all."
Wagner coached the team through middle school and delivered a quality team to Hoffsmith, who coached Palmyra through the magical state championship season of 2007.
The star of the team the past three years turned out to be forward Brett Jankouskas, who scored 85 career goals.
Hoffsmith said he knew good things were ahead for his 2007 team, but it wouldn't happen without hard work.
"I told the guys they had to work for it," he said. "I told them iron sharpens iron. The only way we were going to get better, and do what we wanted to do, was if they showed up at practice every day and worked hard. They had to challenge each other every day in practice and practice as if it were a game."
Hoffsmith also had to rein in the talents of his hyperactive sophomore star, Jankouskas.
"I remember one day, I had had it with Brett and told him to sit on the bench," said Hoffsmith. "I told him when he was ready to play soccer like I wanted him to play to let me know.
"Well, it took him five or 10 minutes before he came over to me and said he was ready to play like I wanted him to play. Then in the final game of the season, when he danced around the Mars goalie to score in the state championship game, I knew my job was pretty much complete."
Hoffsmith was instrumental in turning the program over to Tyrrell, who has followed up the state championship with a District 3 title in 2008 and a Mid-Penn Conference championship this year.
"In the last three years," said Bob Jankouskas, who served as executive producer on the film, "this team has won every piece of major hardware it could win."
Brett Jankouskas has moved on to the IMGAcademy in Bradenton, Fla., where he plans to expand his game in hopes of finding the right place to continue his education and career. The leading candidates at the moment are Syracuse, Villanova and Hartwick.
But while this film included tons of footage of goals and skilled first touches by the likes of Jankouskas, Kyle Schneider, Zach Lee, Chris Parks, Michael Thompson and others, it always highlighted the team concept -- right down to the last player on the bench.
"It was a great film, in that it told the whole story of this team from the beginning," said Jankouskas. "And it showed what can be accomplished if a group of kids gets together and stay together through high school, especially when a community like Palmyra pulls together to support it."
The only discouraging word heard came from former Palmyra player Molly Cooper, at Kutztown.
"That was a great movie, but it was too long," said Cooper, of the two-hour saga. But Cooper wasn't complaining when her favorite Cougar, Reed Kreider, was running across the silver screen.
LLOYD REIGEL: email@example.com
Click on the CBS21 logo below for a news feature.
College Recruiting - Jamel going to Presbyterian
Article information courtesy of Mike Bullock of the Patriot-News.
"Identified by the Presbyterian (PC) coaching staff at a premier striker camp last summer in Georgia, Manning issued a verbal commitment to the tiny South Carolina school on March 31 - his 18th birthday."
Jamel plans to play his senior season at Palmyra and graduate from the 21st Century Charter School in late December. Then he'll enroll at PC in January and be eligible for PC's spring season.
Projected major: Pre-Law
"I think he'll do well," Palmyra coach Craig Tyrell said, "He's a kid who really works hard to be good at the game. I think he'll fit in well."
Brian Johnson: Palmyra's Representative for John Travers Award
Brian (BJ) Johnson is honored as he has been selected as Palmyra's male representative for the 2010 John Travers Award.
The award, now in its 29th year, honors senior students in high schools in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties plus Northern and Red Land high schools in York county and Palmyra in Lebanon County. The late John Travers was the executive sports editor of The Patriot-News when he died in 1981 following a bout with cancer. The venture was started by the Harrisburg Lions Club and The Patriot-News to honor Travers and the student-athletes whom he championed. M&T Bank became the title sponsor in 2006. Winning a Travers Award doesn't mean the winner is a great athlete, or a great student, or a leader in the community. It means that person is all three.
All senior athletes at those schools are eligible for the awards. Each school determines its boy and girl nominee, who fill out a detailed application that is screened by the 12-person Travers Awards committee. Those nominees are whittled down to the 10 finalists.
The Travers Awards, the king of student-athlete honors in the mid-state, is back for its 29th year with its no-fail promise: an all-star cast of seniors who represent the best of mid-state scholastic life.
Katie O'Rourke is Palmyra's representative for the female John Travers Award. Katie was one of the team's statisticians as well as a star basketball and softball player for the Cougars.
Ending a season on a loss is always disappointing, especially when that loss is in a post-season game.
So the Palmyra boys soccer team can hardly be blamed for being upset after falling to Hampton 2-1 in the PIAA Class AA semifinals on Tuesday night. But hopefully, the Cougars have the chance to realize what they accomplished.
This season Palmyra went 25-2 this season, going 14-0 in the Mid-Penn Keystone Division and taking the Mid-Penn championship. Along the way, the Cougars got the attention of the teams they played, even the ones that defeated them.
“We haven’t seen a quality team like that all year,” Hampton head coach Chuck Kelley said after Tuesday’s semifinals.
To give a frame of reference, Kelley’s Talbots had played Mars, the District 7 champion and the team Palmyra beat 2-1 in the state quarterfinals.
Although the Cougars did not win a district or state title this year, the seniors on the roster have both of those to their credit. Palmyra won the District 3 title last year over Fleetwood 3-2 in overtime, and the Cougars won the state championship two seasons ago with a 2-0 win over Mars. Starting with that state title season, Palmyra has won 64 of its last 79 games.
“The last couple of years [the seniors] set quite a few records and set quite a few standards,” Palmyra head coach Craig Tyrrell said. “The classes coming up have a lot to follow up on.”
Palmyra had 10 seniors who started throughout this season, and three more on the roster. Prominent among the upper classmen was forward Brett Jankouskas, who scored 23 goals and had 23 assists, including one assist in Tuesday’s semifinal.
Also standing out was goalie Josh Lineaweaver, who anchored a defense that allowed just 0.56 goals per game and recorded 15 shutouts this season. Seven of those shutouts were in a row.
But other upperclassmen made an impact on this season, often when the Cougars needed it most.
Palmyra was in danger of being knocked out of the District 3 quarterfinals by Northern when senior Zach Lee scored with 6:47 left to go in regulation. Jankouskas combined with fellow seniors Reed Kreider and Tommy Miller to score in penalty kicks for a 1-1 (3-1) win that allowed Palmyra to reach the final four of the state, instead of sitting outside of the district’s final four.
Several 2009 Cougar team members have received post season awards. Congratulations to all!!
NSCAA/Adidas All-American - Brett Jankouskas
NSCAA/Adidas All Region II (East) - Brett Jankouskas
Pennsylvania Player of the Year - Brett Jankouskas
PIAA All State - Brett Jankouskas
The Patriot-News Big 11 - Brett Jankouskas, Reed Kreider
Mid-Penn Conference Player of the Year - Brett Jankouskas
Keystone Division Player of the Year - Brett Jankouskas
Keystone Division 1st Team All Stars - Brett Jankouskas, Reed Kreider, Josh Lineaweaver, Kyle Schneider
Keystone Division 2nd Team All Stars - Brian (BJ) Johnson
All Lebanon County First Team - Brett Jankouskas, Reed Kreider, Josh Lineaweaver, Kyle Schneider
All Lebanon County Second Team - Brian (BJ) Johnson
Mid-Penn Conference Coach of the Year - Craig Tyrrell
Keystone Division Coach of the Year - Craig Tyrrell
Pictured below is the 2009 Patriot News Big 11 Team. Photo credit: John C. Whitehead, The Patriot-News
From left: East Pennsboro's Nate Conrad, Hershey's Thomas Palmer, Palmyra's Reed Kreider, Carlisle's Brice Merwine, Mechanicsburg's Matt Steele, Central Dauphin's Harry Snyder, Central Dauphin's Eric McGinnis, Red Land's Blake Succa, Palmyra's Brett Jankouskas, Northern Lebanon's Ryan Comiskey and Cumberland Valley's Kevin Pink.
Palmyra Stopped in State Semis
By PAT HUGGINS
Staff Writer Lebanon Daily News
Posted: HOLLIDAYSBURG- By any measure, it was a remarkable season.
Just not as remarkable as the Palmyra boys' soccer team would have liked it to be.
Despite tasting defeat only twice in 27 games, the Cougars' final memory of the thrill ride that was the 2009 season will be an unpleasant one, thanks to Tuesday's gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Hampton in the semifinal round of the PIAA Class AA state playoffs at Hollidaysburg Junior High School.
After 22 straight wins to open the season during which it se cured both the Mid-Penn Key stone Division crown and the overall Mid-Penn Conference championship, Palmyra was ultimately denied the District Three and PIAA titles it seemed des tined to hold, first by a fairly surprising 1-0 defeat to Tulpehocken in the district semis two weeks ago, then by Tuesday night's semi-stunning loss to District Seven runner-up Hampton.
Despite having endured three defeats to Palmyra's quarterfinal victim Mars, Hampton proved to be a most formidable opponent, jumping on the Cougars early with the first of Zach Carter's two goals 10:03 into the game, then surviving a spirited Palmyra comeback bid on the strength of Carter's tiebreaking game-winner with a mere 4:48 to play.
"One of us had to win, and unfortunately it was us that lost," said Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell. "They (the Cougars) know that they were this close, so it's kind of a tough thing. But we had a good season. You just gotta take what you can out of it."
"They're an excellent team," said Hampton coach Chuck Kelley, heaping praise on the fallen Cougars. "We haven't seen a quality team like that this year."
Though it took Carter's second goal- a score that came after a flurry in front of the Palmyra cage that included a brilliant diving save by keeper Josh Lineaweaver and a near-save off the goal line by a scrambling Palmyra defender-to put the Cougars away, it was the senior mid fielder's first tally that may have been the most important.
With Palmyra struggling to possess the ball and making some uncharacteristically sloppy passes, Carter got Hampton (19-4) on the board at 29:57 when he took a feed from Chris Hunkele that bounced past a Palmyra de fender and ripped it into the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
"We didn't settle in quick enough," said Tyrrell. "It took us a while to get into the game. The last 10 minutes of the first half we settled down and picked it up. The second half we pretty much out played them, but they got the deciding goal."
Had it not been for the extremely aggressive and strong play of Hampton keeper John Lichina, who repeatedly came off his line in the first half to cut off the Palmyra attack, the Cougars may well have answered with a goal prior to intermission.
But as it was, Palmyra went into the break staring at a 1-0 deficit after not putting a shot on goal in the first half thanks to Lichina's aforementioned aggressiveness.
"He played well off the line," said Tyrrell, of Lichina. "He got off the line quickly. He kinda made the difference with chances. He kinda set the tempo, we knew that we couldn't play through because he was gonna come off quick ly."
To its credit, Palmyra came out with renewed energy and enthusiasm after the break, and it paid off in full with 24:43 to play when Zach Lee notched the equalizing goal off a nifty set-up from Brett Jankouskas. But, despite several more quality scoring chances, that was as good as it would get for Palmyra.
The contest finally slipped away for good after the normally automatic Jankouskas misfired on a free kick from just outside the box with 7:15 left. That led to a Hampton counter attack that Carter finished off successfully with just under five minutes to play.
There was a bit of controversy surrounding the goal- some Cougars appeared to argue that the ball had not crossed the line prior to being cleared away- but Tyrrell did not dispute the call.
"Obviously, it crossed the line," said Tyrrell. "The ref called that it crossed the line, so I gotta go with what he said. I think Josh might have seen it, and I think he agreed that it was across the line."
The Cougars got one last solid try at tying things up, but that slipped away when Jankouskas' perfect cross to the left side was booted over the cage by Michael Thompson with 2:45 left.
It was perhaps appropriate that Jankouskas and Thompson, two of 13 Palmyra seniors, teamed up for the last scoring chance of the season.
After all, it was this group of seniors who were the catalysts for lifting the Palmyra program to heights never seen before they arrived. In the last three years, Palmyra captured, among other things, a state title (2007), a district title (2008) and a Mid-Penn championship this season.
Not a bad run, no matter how it ended.
"They've set a good standard for the program," said Tyrrell. "The guys coming behind, they have a lot to follow. But we expect nothing less."
firstname.lastname@example.org; 272-5611, ext. 141
AT RIGHT: Palmyra goalie Josh Lineaweaver makes a leaping catch during Tuesday s PIAA boys soccer semifinals in Hollidaysburg. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS GORDON OLIVER )
THE WGAL VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS ARE BELOW:
Frantic Goal Late in Game Knocks Out Palmyra
A frantic goal is the difference between Hampton and Palmyra in the state soccer semifinals.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
BY DAVID BOHR email@example.com
HOLLIDAYSBURG - Zachary Carter's second goal of the game with 4:48 remaining gave Hampton a 2-1 win over Palmyra in the PIAA Class AA boys' soccer semifinals Tuesday night at HollidaysburgHigh School.
The Talbots (19-4), the District 7 runner-up, will play District 1 champion Octorara in the championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. Octorara won the other state semifinal 2-1 in double overtime against Fleetwood.
The deciding goal came on a chaotic play.
Cougars goalie Josh Lineaweaver made the save of the initial shot but did not immediately get control of the ball. Lineaweaver collided with Hampton's Keith Weinheimer as the ball rolled near the goal mouth.
Carter got a foot on it and directed it goalward when forward Michael Thompson attempted to sweep the ball away right at the goal line.
After Krikorian knocked the ball away, play continued for several seconds and Hampton even took another shot that went just high of the net. But the referee blew his whistle at that point and indicated that Carter's shot was in fact a goal.
"The ref said that it crossed the line, and I have to go with what he says," Palmyra head coach Craig Tyrrell said.
Carter put the Talbots up 1-0 just 10:03 into the contest. He took a pass from Chris Hunkele by getting behind the defensive backs, who weren't quite able to deflect the ball as it went by. Carter scored from the right side of the box.
"Here we are playing against a team we don't know, and that picked us up," Hampton coach Chuck Kelley said.
Hampton controlled play for most of the first half, with most of Palmyra's passes to get up the field going awry. The Talbots had a 6-0 shot advantage in the first half.
"We didn't settle in quickly enough," Tyrrell said. "We gave them too much space."
Although the Cougars (25-2) did not officially get a shot on goal in the first 40 minutes, they had several opportunities in the last 10 minutes. Brett Jankouskas and Tommy Miller had two opportunities to chase down the ball in the box for a scoring chance, but all four times Hampton goalie John Lichina came out of the net to either scoop up the ball with a dive or kick it out of danger.
"He's been an unsung hero," Kelley said. "He's been the backbone of this team in the playoffs."
Palmyra continued to pressure the net early in the second half, finally breaking through when Jankouskas came down the middle of the field and passed it to Zach Lee on his right. Lee fired it in from 16 yards out to tie the game at 1 with 24:43 remaining.
But the Cougars missed a couple of other second-half opportunities. Twice in the second half Jankouskas had a direct kick from about 20 yards, but both went high and out of bounds.
Lineaweaver made two leaping saves in the second half to keep Palmyra in the game. With 26 minutes to go, he snared a header by Carter during a corner play. Then with nine minutes to play, Jonathan Mercier appeared to have a shot destined for the top left corner when Lineaweaver made another jumping stop.
Lichina made three saves for the win, while Lineaweaver stopped 10 shots. The Talbots had a 12-4 advantage in shots and a 7-2 advantage in corners.
Hampton's only other appearance in the state finals was in 1990, when the Talbots were co-champions with GreatValley after a 0-0 championship game.
AT RIGHT: LEBANON DAILY NEWS GORDON OLIVER
Palmyra s Reed Kreider (20) passes the ball between the legs of Hampton s Zachary Carter.
CHAMBERSBURG - When in pursuit of a state championship, it never hurts to have a little luck riding shotgun.
Then again, the harder a team works, the luckier it seems to get.
Remarkable good fortune and plain old guts and tenacity came together to create a perfect storm for the Palmyra boys' soccer team Saturday afternoon in a hotly-contested PIAA Class AA state quarterfinal matchup with District Seven champion Mars at ChambersburgHigh School.
Locked in a tense 1-1 struggle late in the second half and fighting a sometimes uphill battle for their playoff life, the Cougars ultimately prevailed 2-1 in dramatic fashion thanks to a Mars own goal with 6:57 left and moved to within two wins of their second state championship in the last three years.
Ironically enough, Palmyra defeated Mars in the 2007 AA title game for its first state crown.
The decisive score came off a beautifully struck Jamel Manning corner kick that was directed toward Chris Parks, but instead found the head of a Mars defender, who in his haste to clear the ball out of harm's way ended up knocking it into the back of his own net.
Hey, whatever works. The now 25-1 Cougars, who a week ago Saturday had to fight their way into the state tournament via the District Three third-place game, now suddenly look like a team destined to bring home the ultimate prize.
First, however, there's the little matter of Tuesday's state semifinal matchup with District 7 runner-up Hampton, a 1-0 overtime winner over West Allegheny. Site and time for the contest will be announced today.
"He serves the ball really well," said Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell of Manning's corner-kick abilities. "It's a dangerous spot where anything can happen, and with Chris and (Zach) Lee and a couple of those guys there, it did happen."
"I just look for an open area on the field and mostly look for Chris Parks," Manning said of his corner-kick strategy.
Though he didn't exactly hit his target dead-center, Manning got the ball close enough to the lanky Parks to force the costly mistake and ultimately put away a Mars club that enjoyed the better of the play from early in the first half to the middle of the second half.
After a beauty of a feed from Parks that set up goal-scoring machine Brett Jankouskas for the game's first tally seven minutes in, Palmyra was forced back on its heels by a Mars squad that more than lived up to its Fightin' Planets nickname.
Ryan McKenzie drew Mars even with 24:28 to go before the half when he knocked home the rebound of his own header that was initially saved by Cougar keeper Josh Lineaweaver. The score gave the Planets a surge of momentum they would not surrender until past the midway point of the second half.
But thanks to the stubborn work of a Palmyra defense anchored by Lineaweaver's five saves and boosted by spirited play from Dustin Stuck, Reed Kreider, David Lear, Luke Brandt and B.J. Johnson, Mars' persistent attacking went for naught.
"Those four or five guys back there, they almost look forward to the challenge," said Tyrrell. "They want somebody good to come at them. They played well, they played well together. And (Lineaweaver) controlled the box. That paid off."
It did, but it took a while for Palmyra to turn the tide.
But over the final 15 minutes or so, the Cougars regained the control they had lost, producing a couple near-miss scoring chances, including a beautiful Lee cross to the left post that Michael Thompson arrived at just a split-second too late to touch into the goal.
A Manning blast from the top of the circle was denied by Mars keeper Robbie Sigurdsson with just over 10 minutes to go, and Sigurdsson also turned away a Zack Krikorian shot a little over a minute later.
"We should have had two more goals," said Manning, with a smile, of the missed chances.
But with overtime beginning to beckon, Lady Luck made a welcome appearance with a big assist from Parks, who may not have actually scored the goal, but certainly did his best to make it happen.
"I just ran in on the ball, saw where it was going and tried to get in front of it," said Parks. "And it got just in front of me. I looked up and the ball's in the back of the net. I was trying to get in front of him and get my head on it, but I didn't get there fast enough. But it worked out."
And because it did, the Cougars bettered last year's state tourney appearance and continued their recovery from the district semifinal loss to Tulpehocken that ended their 22-game win streak to start the season.
"It's a tremendous thing to accomplish," said Tyrrell. "Even getting this far, because this is one step beyond where we were last year, so I think this means a lot to them. They know that we've moved beyond that and can actually keep going."
And there's only one place the Cougars are interested in stopping. Take a guess.
"I'm really proud of our team, in general," said Parks. "We couldn't get a district trophy, but we still have our next goal and we're gonna keep going."
At right: Jamel Manning takes on a Mars defender. Photo courtesy of Mandy Haldeman
Unheralded players give Palmyra a lift
Lee, Haldeman fill needed roles for Cougars.
Friday, November 13, 2009
BY LLOYD REIGEL firstname.lastname@example.org
Much of the focus during Palmyra's run to the PIAA soccer tournament has gone to its core of senior leaders, including high-scoring forward Brett Jankouskas, midfielder Kyle Schneider, center backs Reed Kreider and B.J. Johnson, and goalie Josh Lineaweaver.
Coach Craig Tyrrell's club wouldn't be alive at 23-1, however, without the recent contributions of players such as senior midfielder Zach Lee and sophomore forward Bret Haldeman.
Lee's goal with 6:37 left to play against Northern in the District 3-AA quarterfinals enabled the Cougars to prevail on penalty kicks 3-1.
Lee's seventh goal of the year came after a long Kreider free kick into the box. Chris Parks played the ball in front of the goal, where Lee's heads-up positioning allowed him to beat outstanding goalie Ramon Lobo to the ball.
In the District 3 third-place game -- coming after the Cougars suffered their only loss of the season in a 1-0 semifinal loss to Tulpehocken -- Haldeman was called on to replace injured Michael Thompson.
Haldeman also found himself in the right place at the right time. Jankouskas played a ball to left wing, putting Haldeman through with only Susquehannock goalie Tim Boyer to beat.
A Susquehannock defender tackled Haldeman from behind, resulting in a penalty kick.
When Jankouskas drilled it home for his 24th goal of the season, Haldeman's mark on the season was made.
"Brett [Jankouskas] made the play," said Haldeman, who scored two goals during the season. "He played the ball over their defense and I just ran onto it. When I got inside the penalty area, their goalie came out and the defender behind me took my legs out."
Tyrrell said he had complete confidence in Haldeman, even though the sophomore forward had played mostly on the JV team this year.
"Haldeman played well for the JVs, who were undefeated," Tyrrell said. "He's a good player. He played in a few Mid-Penn games. We needed him to open up the field. He's a good server of the ball with some quickness. When Thompson went down, we needed him to open the field for us."
Haldeman also took a few Palmyra corner kicks, one of which that nearly resulted in a goal. His in-swinger with 29:50 left to play was headed on goal by Dustin Stuck. The header beat Boyer just inside the far post before being headed away by defender Colton Ayres.
Unfortunately for Ayres, Haldeman's break down the left wing went behind him, accounting for the breakaway.
A rookie head coach with the defending AA state champions, Susquehannock's Willy Whitty said he had no problem with the call.
"We put ourselves in that position by not finishing our own chances," he said. "Palmyra's a good team, probably one of the top two or three quickest teams we faced all year.
"But we had our chances and didn't put them away. If we finish, we're not in that situation of letting the refs make a game-deciding call."
Cougars Beat Westmont Hilltop 5-0 in State Round of 16 Playoff Game
By JERRY REIGEL For The Daily News
Posted: 11/11/2009 12:40:27 AM EST
HOLLIDAYSBURG - All it took was a three-hour bus ride and a date with District Six champ Westmont-Hilltop for the Palmyra soccer team to rediscover its shooting touch.
Having been held to two goals total in its last three District Three contests, Palmyra broke loose with four first-half goals on its way to a 5-0 victory at Hollidaysburg High in the Central Mountain region south of Altoona.
Michael Thompson got the Cougar scoring machine started with two goals in the first 20 minutes, followed by two Brett Jankouskas goals before half. Jeremy Benner finished the job with a goal in the final minute.
With the win, Palmyra moves to 24-1 and into the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals Saturday against Mars, the team Palmyra beat for the 2007 state championship at a site and time to be determined. Mars, the District Seven champ, beat Harbor Creek 2-1 Tuesday night.
Despite having scouted Palmyra in its 1-0 win over defending state champ Susquehannock Saturday in the District Three third-place game, Westmont found itself in a deep hole early, then was forced to chase the ball for 80 minutes.
Palmyra's skill on the ball and quickness up and down the field were too much for the Hilltoppers to overcome.
"If Palmyra isn't a state championship-caliber team, then I can't imagine who is," said Westmont coach Steve Meehan, whose team finished at 20-2. "They're the best team we've faced all year by far.
"They're well-coached, they're well-disciplined. They move the ball all over the field and their skill level is amazing. My goalie (Aaron Stonecypher, 12 saves) played a great game, and we still lost 5-0. But I'm happy for my kids. We made the final 16 in the state and earned an opportunity to play an outstanding team like Palmyra. I wish them all the best."
Palmyra totally dominated in shot with 30 to Westmont's 4.
"It's nice to finish again," said Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell, in reference to the 1-0 loss to Tulpehocken in the district semifinals, sandwiched between a penalty-kick win over Northern and a 1-0 win over Susquehannock.
"They tried pressuring us up high early for the first 10 minutes, but we were able to handle it pretty well. After we got the first goal, it opened up nicely for us."
Thompson's first goal came at the 31:44 mark. Midfielder Chris Parks took a throw-in from the right corner and played it across to Thompson, who beat his man and Stonecypher with a right-footed shot inside the near post.
The same scenario followed with 21:11 left in the half, except Thompson found the ball on his left foot. This time, he shot it left-footed across the goal inside the far post.
Westmont's best chance came with 17:18 left in the half when Tyler Kleinmeyer broke free down right wing and found Kyle Kunkle in the box. Kunkle fired on goal, beating goalie Josh Lineaweaver but not the right post.
With Westmont's frustration growing by the minute, Jankouskas wove his way through the Hilltoppers' defense and scored unassisted at the 4:56 mark.
Two minutes later, the Cougars earned an indirect kick on the left side from 20 yards. Reed Kreider touched the ball for Jankouskas, who buried a low, hard roller inside the near post.
Tyrrell emptied his bench in the second half, with Benner capitalizing off a Brett Haldeman feed to end the game.
"I thought we played well defensively," said Tyrell. "Reed and B.J. (Johnson) handled everything in the middle. David Lear is playing well on the right and Dustin Stuck is doing a good job on the left. Stuck's a real competitor."
HOLLIDAYSBURG —Steve Meehan knew Palmyra had a good boys soccer team.
The Westmont Hilltop coach just didn’t realize how good the Cougars were until he saw them beat his Hilltoppers 5-0 on Tuesday in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs.
“That’s the best team I’ve ever seen. Ever.” Meehan said. “If they aren’t state champs, I’d be really surprised. They were a phenomenal team.”
The District 6 champion Hilltoppers (20-2) couldn’t keep up with the Cougars (24-1), who outshot Westmont 28-6. Michael Thompson and Brett Jankouskas each scored twice in the first half to give Palmyra a 4-0 lead. Westmont kept the District 3 third-place team off the board in the second half until Jeremy Benner scored with 15 seconds remaining.
“I thought we played well,” Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell said. “Our task is to keep the ball as much as we can, and possess the ball. If we have it, they can’t score. They hustled at first and tried to push the tempo, but we were able to compose ourselves.”
Palmyra was ranked No. 1 in the state before being upset in the district playoffs by Tulpehocken.
“I think this is a new start for us,” Tyrrell said.
“We figured ‘Well that game is gone by, so now it’s a fresh league, pretty much.’ We’ll just take it one game at a time and see if we can get to the finals.”
Westmont only had a few scoring opportunities, with the best coming in the 18th minute.
Tyler Kleinmeyer sent a nice cross to Michael Burnheimer in the box, but Burnheimer’s shot hit the post and bounced out.
The second didn’t come until there were a little more than two minutes remaining, as Kleinmeyer had a breakaway, but his shot was stopped by Palmyra backup goalkeeper Nate McClellan.
The sophomore relieved starter Josh Lineaweaver, who didn’t need to stop a shot in the shutout.
Westmont keeper Aaron Stonecypher wasn’t so fortunate. The senior made six saves, including a spectacular diving stop in the 31st minute on a Kyle Schneider blast from 25 yards.
“He had some pretty good saves early,” Tyrrell said.
“Even when we started scoring a couple of goals, he still kept the game where if they scored one it would have been a different game.”
Despite the loss, Meehan was happy his team got a chance to play Palmyra.
“It’s going to be a real character builder, especially for our younger kids,” he said. “I’m so proud of our team, being top 16 in the state and getting to play a team like Palmyra and seeing what soccer is all about. I thought it was a great experience for everyone. I’m happy with our season. I’m proud of the kids. They’re great. One of the best seasons I’ve ever been a part of.”
Palmyra will now face Mars, the #1 seed from District 7 and is 22-1 overall, on Saturday at a time and place to be determined.
Pack your bags, Palmyra soccer team, you're headed for a long trip Tuesday. And there may be more where that came from.
The Cougars found out Sunday that they will open their Class AA PIAA state playoffs against Westmont Hilltop, a game that will be played at HollidaysburgHigh School on Tuesday, beginning at 6 p.m.
Palmyra is one of only two third-place teams in the 16-team Class AA state bracket, and because of its low seeding it is forced to play its way through the western half of the bracket in order to reach the state final. It also means if the Cougars continue to win, they would have to play three games west of the Susquehanna River before eventually meeting a team from the eastern half of the state in the PIAA finals.
The good news? The state championship game will be played in Palmyra's backyard at Hersheypark Stadium on Nov. 21.
So, why is Palmyra relegated to the western half of the state tournament?
Because District Three is one of the largest districts in the PIAA, it qualifies three teams for the state soccer playoffs. District Seven also puts its top three teams into states, but smaller Districts Six and Nine send just one each, making for an uneven amount of teams to fill out the western half of the bracket.
The answer is to put the District Three's last qualifier - the third-place team - into the western half of the bracket. That team this year is Palmyra.
Recent history, however, is on the Cougars' side. Last year, the third-place team from District Three that had to go through the western half of the state was Susquehannock, a team the Cougars eliminated from play Saturday with a 1-0 victory in the District Three third-place game.
Last year, Susquehannock ended up winning all three of its games against western teams - two games that were played at HollidaysburgHigh School - en route to beating Pottsgrove for the state championship. This gives Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell and his team plenty of optimism.
"We look at it as it's a new life and a new tournament," Tyrrell said. "Hopefully two weeks from now we'll be in the same position they (Susquehannock) were in."
And with a game in Hershey for the state title as their reward, the Cougars have plenty to play for.
"It's kind of encouraging," Tyrrell said. "If we win three games, we get to play here in front of our fans."
Westmont Hilltop, the District Six champs from the Johnstown area, enters the game with a sparkling 20-1 record, with its only loss coming against Class A Richland. The Hilltoppers have won their last 13 games.
Meanwhile, Palmyra is 23-1, having been victorious in its first 22 games before losing to Tulpehocken in the district semifinals last week.
Neither team has a short trip to Altoona-areaHollidaysburgHigh School for their first-round state playoff game Tuesday. Westmont is about an hour's drive from Hollidaysburg, while Palmyra will be on the road for roughly two and half hours for the 150-mile trek.
But no matter, the Cougars are willing to face anyone, anywhere this time of year.
"The attitude for us has been we're just happy we're in it," Tyrrell said. "It doesn't matter where we go, we're just happy to be in it."
Palmyra Soccer Team Keeps Season Alive
By JERRY REIGEL For the Daily News
Posted: 11/07/2009 11:33:37 PM EST
MANCHESTER - Palmyra's hopes for its second PIAA soccer championship in the last three years were kept alive Saturday night with a gritty 1-0 victory over Susquehannock in the District Three Class AA third-place game at NortheasternHigh School.
The No. 1 seeded Cougars (23-1) were undefeated before losing to Tulpehocken in the district semifinals Wednesday, while the York County champs were seeded No. 6 at 17-4-1 and lost to Fleetwood in the same round of districts.
Neither team was willing to see its season end, resulting in hard-fought, end-to-end action, hard tackles all over the field and near misses at both ends. The Cougars were finally able to break through in the 67th minute behind the play of seldom-used sophomore forward Bret Haldeman.
A JV player most of the season, Haldeman ran on to a Brett Jankouskas pass in the Susquehannock penalty area and was taken down, resulting in a penalty kick. Jankouskas coolly converted the spot kick with 27:36 left in the game for his 25th goal of the season.
The Cougar defense did the rest, keeping Susquehannock off the board with goalie Josh Lineaweaver making seven saves.
As for the state tournament, the bad news is Palmyra will now have to travel as the third-place team from District Three to the western half of the state. The Cougars will take on Westmont Hilltop, the District Six champ, Tuesday at a site and time to be announced.
But that's no matter to the Cougars, who refused to give up their dream of another state title.
"It's a relief," Jankouskas said of the pending playoff matchup on the road. "We didn't want our season to end. We got the one bad game out of the way. Now we're ready to start a new winning streak."
Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell shuffled his lineup masterfully, eking out every minute he could from midfield leader Kyle Schneider, who suffered a right hamstring injury in the loss to Tulpehocken.
When Michael Thompson, a reliable player on the flank with speed, complained of a leg injury, Tyrrell turned to Haldeman.
"Kyle showed a lot of courage tonight," said Tyrrell. "He wasn't 100 percent, but he's a tough kid. He wasn't about to sit and watch his teammates play this game without him.
"And Haldeman's been playing well for the JVs. He played in a few Mid-Penn games. We needed him to open up the field. He's a good server of the ball with some quickness. When Thompson went down, we needed him to open the field for us."
Haldeman also took a few Palmyra corner kicks, one of which nearly resulted in a goal. His in-swinger with 29:50 left to play was headed on goal by Dustin Stuck. The header beat Susquehannock goalie Tim Boyer just inside the far post before being headed away by defender Colton Ayres.
But unfortunately for Ayres, Haldeman's break down the left wing went behind him, resulting in Haldeman being fouled in the box.
"Brett (Jankouskas) made the play," said Haldeman, who scored two goals during the season. "He played the ball over their defense, and I just ran onto it. When I got inside the penalty area, their goalie came out and the defender behind me took my legs out."
Susquehannock coach Willy Whitty said he had no problem with the call.
"Unfortunately, we put ourselves in that position by not finishing our own chances," he said. "Palmyra's a good team, probably one of the top two or three quickest teams we faced all year.
"But we had our chances and didn't put them away. If we finish, we're not in that situation of letting the refs make a game-deciding call."
Susquehannock's best chance came with 24 minutes left in the half when leading scorer James Spearman (17 goals) found himself alone in front of the Palmyra goal.
Lineaweaver was off his line and out of position when Spearman was bothered just enough to lift his shot over the unprotected goal.
Thompson also had two near-misses, one that bounced off the post, while Jankouskas had one of his patented 30-yard free kicks saved by Boyer at the last instant.
Schneider got through alone in the final 15 minutes thanks to another Jankouskas pass, but his shot sailed just wide of the far post on the right.
"It was a good win," said Tyrrell. "Both teams played hard. We didn't know really what to expect from them. We don't scout who we play. We just concentrate on fine-tuning what we do, and if we play our game, we're confident we will win."
Susquehannock was awarded a free kick from 25 yards in the final minutes, but B.J. Johnson deflected Spearman's hard shot out of bounds with his head. On the ensuing corner kick, Jankouskas eventually headed the ball away as time expired.
At right: Bret Haldeman moves on the Warriors defender.
LANDISVILLE - It was inevitable that it would end at some point.
But the way the Palmyra boys' soccer team had stubbornly turned back challenger after challenger throughout this remarkable season, it never seemed like it would.
It did, though. And at a most inopportune time.
The previously unbeaten Cougars' 22-game win streak came screeching to a halt Wednesday night in the semifinal round of the District Three Class AA playoffs via a fairly stunning 1-0 loss to Tulpehocken.
On the strength of Cody Hess' goal off a beautiful setup from Francisco Aparicio with 7:21 to play, Tulpehocken became the first team to put a dent in Palmyra's seemingly impenetrable armor, ending the defending champs' hopes of a repeat on the pitch at HempfieldHigh School.
The Cougars' first setback since last November in the state playoffs drops them into Saturday's third-place game opposite Susquehannock, which fell 2-0 to Fleetwood in Wednesday's other semifinal, and suddenly puts their once-spotless season in jeopardy of concluding well before anyone expected.
Since only three Class AA teams move on to the state playoffs, Palmyra will be literally fighting to keep its season alive Saturday against the reigning Class AA state champion Warriors. The matchup is set for 5 p.m. at NortheasternHigh School.
In a word: Wow.
"It is disappointing, but that's (only) one part of the goals we had set for us," Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell said of the loss. "Unfortunately, we missed this one, but we still have a chance to go on and do a few more things. Once they get on the bus and relax and start listening to the music they'll realize they have another game to play."
But not the game they had hoped to be playing in Saturday. Tulpehocken, now 20-2 and definitely no fluke, saw to that with aggressive, pressure defense that disrupted Palmyra's normally precise possession style of play.
The Cougars had some chances, including a couple of early shots from Zach Lee, and a rocket off the right foot of star striker Brett Jankouskas that Tulpy keeper Andrew Fisher collected in the breadbasket with 22 minutes to go. But Palmyra never could find its best form against the feisty BerksCounty reps.
"They had a game plan, and they did it well," Tyrrell said of Tulpehocken. "They pressured the ball. They have some good players and they did some good things. They wanted the game more, obviously. Maybe they didn't want it more, but they wanted to beat us, and to their credit they did."
"We knew they were gonna knock it around, they knock it around real well," said Tulpehocken coach Tim Frantz. "We just wanted to pressure them and force them to go back as much as we could. And offensively, look to put pressure on their backs."
The Trojans actually didn't put a whole lot of pressure on Palmyra's defense throughout the contest. That is, until Aparicio shook loose on the left side in 73rd minute, raced into the box and sent a perfect cross to a streaking Hess, who buried it into the back of the net for his 38th and biggest goal of the season.
"He got around the corner, made a couple moves and found Cody," Frantz said of the score. "It was a sweet goal."
Palmyra did its best to counterattack following Hess's goal, but despite putting a fair amount of pressure on over the final seven minutes, could not draw even.
The Cougars' efforts to do so were certainly not helped by the hamstring injury that sidelined senior midfielder and field general Kyle Schneider for the entire second half.
Schneider's status for Saturday's game appears to be very much up in the air, and his absence last night had an undeniable impact on the Cougars' play.
"He plays a huge role. He pretty much controls a lot of the game," Tyrrell said of Schneider. "But when one guy's out, the other guys have to step up. We just didn't possess the ball."
Palmyra was coming off an emotional quarterfinal victory over Northern on Saturday that was decided in high-tension fashion by penalty kicks, but Tyrrell dismissed the notion of any emotional hangover.
"No, I don't think so," said Tyrrell. "We took our time and prepared well. We just didn't execute as well as we would have hoped."
Both the Palmyra boys soccer and field hockey teams are putting themselves in the mix to be the best in District 3 and the state. If that seems familiar, there is a reason.
Both Cougar squads were in the state finals in 2007, when the soccer team defeated Mars 2-0 in the PIAA Class AA championship game, and the field hockey team lost to Mifflinburg 2-1 in overtime.
Not only that, but Palmyra has a chance to be the only school in Pennsylvania, regardless of classification, to put both its boys soccer team and field hockey team in the state tournament for each of the last three years.
All that would take is for the boys soccer team to finish in the top three of District 3, by reaching the finals or winning the third place game.
Palmyra’s soccer team is unbeaten in 22 games this year, heading into Wednesday night’s semifinal against Tulpehocken. Brett Jankouskas has 19 goals for the Cougars, who also have five other players with at least five goals: Kyle Schneider with eight, Jeremy Benner with seven, and Zach Krikorian, Jamel Manning and Tommy Miller with five.
For the orange and white field hockey team, which had already clinched a state spot before a 2-1 loss to Donegal in Tuesday’s District 3 semifinals, Katlyn Soucy has 19 goals this season. Stefani Day has 11 goals and Devyn Davis has 10.
But in addition to having post-season success and explosive offensive players, the two teams have another similarity. Both programs have had coaching changes in the middle of this three-year stretch of winning, and it does not appear to have affected them.
When Palmyra won the soccer state title two years ago, it was the last game for Jerry Hoffsmith. But Craig Tyrrell stepped in and has posted a 36-6-2 record with the Cougars, including winning the District 3-AA title last season.
Wendy Reichenbach coached the field hockey team from 2000 to 2008, guiding the Cougars to a state title in 2005 and the finals appearance in 2007.
Kristi Harshman, who played for Reichenbach, took over as head coach this season. She has Palmyra at 19-3-1 entering Saturday’s third-place game against Lancaster Mennonite.
Harshman said that the key for the field hockey team’s success through recent years ties into both consistent play in the offseason and excelling on defense.
“It’s definitely in the teamwork on the field,” Harshman said. “So many of our players play together year round. Also, our defensive unit. [Goalie] Kara [Bombgardner] hardly faces any shots because of her teammates.”
The state tournaments for both boys soccer and field hockey begin on Tuesday, Nov. 10th.
Unbeaten Palmyra Soccer Team Survives on Penalty Kicks
HERSHEY - For the Palmyra boys' soccer team, the beat goes on, but not without a major scare.
Palmyra and Northern York played 80 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of sudden-death overtime in the District Three Class AA quarterfinals Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium to a 1-1 draw, forcing the game to penalty kicks.
This after the unbeaten and top-seeded Cougars outshot Northern 23-3 with six corner kicks to Northern's none. The only player saving Northern all night was senior goalkeeper Ramon Lobo, who recorded 10 saves, at least three of which were acrobatic in nature.
When it came to PKs, however, Palmyra goalkeeper Josh Lineaweaver stole the show.
Northern's first shooter, Drew Frey, pushed his shot wide right, giving Palmyra its first big break of the game. Then Brett Jankoukas nailed his PK in the lower left corner to give Palmyra a 1-0 edge.
After Northern's Kyle Hejmanowski hit his PK to tie the score, Reed Kreider and Tommy Miller followed with consecutive tallies for the Cougars, setting the stage for Lineaweaver's heroics.
On Northern's third kick, Lineaweaver dove far to his left to save the shot of Nate Reinhart. Then, with Northern facing elimination, Lineaweaver caught the shot of Isaac Kawate to end the marathon.
With the win, Palmyra moved to 22-0 and faces Tulpehocken in Wednesday's semifinals at HempfieldHigh School, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tulpehocken (19-2) defeated East Pennsboro 2-0 after ending Elco's season Wednesday with a 5-0 win.
Northern finished the season at 15-4-1.
Palmyra Coach Craig Tyrrell was obviously happy with the way his team responded against Northern.
"We showed the heart of a champion," he said. "They scored the early goal, then sat back and withstood our pressure. Their goalie was outstanding.
"But our guys never quit. They really wanted it. They were confident we could win. In the huddle, I didn't have to say a word. They said everything."
Northern got a first-half goal from Danny DiPrima to go up 1-0 at half. Content to sit back against the wind and withstand the second-half pressure of Palmyra, Lobo almost made the goal stand up. Until Palmyra's Zach Lee tied the score at 1-1 with 6:47 left in regulation.
Kreider started the play with a long free kick from the left flank. Lobo came off his line but came up empty. Chris Parks crossed it back into the middle, where Lee was able to slot it home.
Tyrrell said Jankoukas and Lineaweaver were both bothered with flu-like symptoms and Luke Brandt, another regular, missed the second half after taking a hard foul in the first half.
Senior midfielder Kyle Schneider kept rallying the Cougars and nearly pulled off a miracle finish in the second overtime with a 30-yard shot that kissed off the crossbar in the final minute.
Kreider and B.J. Johnson were solid in the back for Palmyra, while Jamell Manning came off the bench in the second half to help put the pressure on the Northern defense - and ultimately Lobo.
At Right: Josh Linaweaver with one of his two PK stops.
Poise gives Palmyra edge
BY JOHN TUSCANO email@example.com
Palmyra's pristine, unblemished record accurately reflects the minimal amount of adversity it has faced this season.
In fact, the Mid-Penn champion Cougars haven't faced a deficit in well over a month.
That all changed Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium to the point where scrappy Northern was just under seven minutes away from pulling off the biggest shocker of the District 3 boys' soccer playoffs.
But against a team as skilled, talented and poised as Palmyra, a span of 6:47 is an awfully long time.
The Cougars were just a little better late in regulation and overtime and much more poised in penalty kicks as they survived a 1-1, 3-1 scare Saturday in the District 3-AA quarterfinals.
The heart-thumping win sends the Cougars (22-0) into Wednesday's 3-AA semifinals against Tulpehocken, a 2-0 winner over East Pennsboro. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. at HempfieldHigh School.
"I didn't have to say anything to them in the huddle [in overtime and before penalty kicks]," Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell said.
"They knew what they had to do to get the job done."
Tyrrell's club blazed through PKs on goals from Brett Jankouskas, Reed Kreider and Tommy Miller, while keeper Josh Lineaweaver made two saves -- one on Nate Reinhardt when he dove to his left and another on Isaac Kawate. Drew Frey's leadoff attempt sailed wide of the goal.
"We were pretty confident with the guys we had taking the shots and the guys had a lot of confidence in me in goal," said Lineaweaver, who made one save for the Cougars in regulation and OT.
"It's a combination of a lot of things when you're in goal. I try to look at where the guys are setting up for their shots and sometimes I have to guess right."
Lineaweaver nearly didn't get the chance to show his PK prowess as Northern packed in their defenders throughout the last 20 minutes of regulation in hopes of protecting its precious 1-0 lead.
Palmyra's pressure finally resulted in the equalizer when Zach Lee volleyed home a loose ball in the box to make it 1-1 with only 6:47 to play.
The goal was set up by Reed Kreider's long restart from the left side of the field.
It capped a Palmyra second-half flurry that saw the Cougars own a whopping 14-0 advantage in shots -- 23-3 for the game.
"Once we were down in the game, we knew we had to keep fighting," said Lineaweaver, who surrendered his first goal since Oct. 3 against Northern Lebanon.
"I thought we responded well and we knew had to work that much harder."
The Polar Bears (15-4-1), seeded eighth in this 3-AA tournament, stunned the sparse crowd when Danny DiPrima snapped a header past Lineaweaver with 5:56 left in the first half.
David Steele's cross from the right wing set up the score.
It was the first time since a Sept. 19 game against Elco that Palmyra had trailed.
Northern keeper Ramon Lobo played a terrific game between the posts and made seven saves to keep the upset bid in play.
Blackjack! Palmyra Soccer Team 21-0 After District Win
HERSHEY - A dynamic, prolific offense. Rock solid, almost impenetrable defense. Superb on-field leadership and a calm, steady, but firm hand from the head coach.
If the Palmyra boys' soccer team has any weaknesses or vulnerabilities at this point, they're not visible to the naked eye.
The Cougar juggernaut continued to steamroll everything in its path Wednesday evening, improving to 21-0 with a thorough 5-1 defeat of game but overmatched Trinity in a District Three Class AA first-round matchup under the lights at HersheyHigh School.
Led by two goals apiece from reserve junior midfielder Zack Krikorian and senior go-to guy Brett Jankouskas and a typically smothering defensive effort spearheaded by keeper Josh Lineaweaver's four saves, defending Class AA champ Palmyra took firm control of the contest midway through the first half and didn't let it go until it had secured a spot in Saturday's quarterfinal round opposite the winner of tonight's Northern-West York first-rounder. That matchup was postponed Wednesday due to wet field conditions.
Opening-round upsets, of course, can happen, but only to the vulnerable.
"It was just, 'Come out and play and don't take anything lightly,'" said Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell, whose veteran squad was in action for the first time since Saturday's double OT win over Central Dauphin in the Mid-Penn championship game. "I'm pretty much satisfied. I thought they handled themselves well. They've pretty much seen all of it before.
It's just, take our time and do what we do best."
Palmyra controlled the action throughout but misfired on a few early chances, leaving the contest scoreless for the first 20 minutes. But all that changed with 19:01 left in the half, when a net-crashing Krikorian knocked in the rebound of a Zach Lee shot that was initially denied by Shamrocks keeper Jon Malpezzi.
Michael Thompson had sent in the initial cross from the right side to Lee, who was stoned by Malpezzi, setting the stage for Krikorian to clean up the scraps and give Palmyra the lead for good.
"It's good for him," said Tyrrell, with a smile, of Krikorian's first goal. "Follow the shot, follow the shot. We work on that stuff in practice. The goalkeeper made a hell of a save, and he (Krikorian) just fell on the ball."
Krikorian then upped the Cougar lead to 2-0 with 6:17 left in the half, when he deflected a clearing attempt by Trinity in the box to himself and ripped it past Malpezzi for the score.
From there, the outcome was inevitable, but the Cougars kept the heat on, going up 3-0 with 13:08 gone in the second half when Lee set up Jankouskas for his first goal. Jankouskas then did all the work on Palmyra's fourth goal, bending in a free kick from about 20 yards out for a 4-0 lead with 13:57 to play.
Palmyra then closed out its scoring column with 10:30 to go when Tommy Miller got into the act by finishing off a dead-on feed from Jankouskas.
The Cougars narrowly missed adding close to a half dozen more goals to the easy win, overshadowing yet another stellar effort from the defensive unit of keeper Lineaweaver and backs Reed Kreider, Dustin Stuck, Brian "B.J." Johnson and Luke Brandt.
"The understanding's there. They understand each other well," Tyrrell said of the defense, "especially with (Lineaweaver) in the back. He talks it up. He kinda marshals everything. Even the guys off the bench, they understand each other."
Despite another shut-down effort, the Cougars unhappily yielded their first goal in nearly a month when Trinity midfielder Austin Gullo headed in a corner kick with 5:35 left. Prior to that score, the last goal allowed came from Northern Lebanon star Ryan Comiskey in a 3-1 Palmyra win on Oct. 3, a span of seven games and nearly 1,000 minutes of game action.
"They were disappointed that they gave that up," said Tyrrell. "I think they counted 994 minutes without a goal. They were trying to hit the thousand mark, but that's the game sometimes."
But, Tyrrell noted, the Cougars will leave everything that happened Wednesday night - good and bad - in the past.
"The games that happened last week don't even exist for us," said Tyrrell. "It's just tonight and that's it. Now it's Saturday, whoever it is. We don't really care, we just prepare for it."
Top Right: Palmyra s Zack Krikorian celebrates one of his two goals that helped the Cougars knock off Trinity. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS JIM ZENGERLE)
Palmyra backed up its No. 1 seeding in the District 3-AA boys soccer tournament with a 5-1 win over Trinity in the round of 16 Wednesday night at Hershey High School.
The Cougars will play in Saturday’s quarterfinals against the winner of the Northern-West York contest, which was postponed to Thursday. Sites and times for the quarterfinals are to be announced.
Zack Krikorian scored two goals for Palmyra (21-0) in the first half, both off of richocets in the box.
“Follow the ball, follow the shot,” Palmyra head coach Craig Tyrrell said. “It’s what we do in practice.”
First, Krikorian scored off of a rebound with 19:01 remaining in the first period. The initial shot was by Zach Lee after a crossing pass from Mike Thompson.
Then at the 6:22 mark, Krikorian got in the way of a clearing attempt by one of Trinity’s defenders. He the ball rolled toward the Shamrock’s goal, and Krikorian got to it first and put it in the lower left corner of the goal.
Meanwhile, Trinity (12-7-1) did not generate a shot in the first 35 minutes.
“They’re just so quick and fast, they just put on a clinic,” Trinity head coach Alan Blackledge said. “We can’t match that speed all over the field.”
In the second half, Brett Jankouskas scored twice to put the Cougars up 4-0.
Lee made a pass through the box from left to right, where Jankouskas took it and put it in with 26:52 remaining in the game.
Later, the Cougars were awarded a direct kick from 22 yards out. Jankouskas curved it into the top left corner of the goal cage with 13:57 to play.
Jankouskas provided the assist on Palmyra’s last goal, a shot from the left side by Tommy Miller.
Although the Cougars had five goals and 18 shots, Tyrrell said he did not have to focus them on offensive production.
“I know that they’re hungry enough that they want to score,” Tyrrell said.
Trinity’s lone goal was a by Austin Gullo with 5:35 left in the contest. Derek Pawlush assisted.
Josh Lineaweaver made four saves for Palmyra.
Jon Malpezzi stopped five shots for Trinity. Ian Kopcho came in late in the game and made one save.
Two Trinity defenders made saves on Jankouskas’ shots behind Malpezzi. John Panas got in the way of a 20-yard free kick in the first half, and Ryan Sweeney deflected a shot in the box in the second half.
Each team had two corners.
Jankouskas tagged Mid-Penn Conference Player of the Year
Senior striker Brett Jankouskas, whose prolific play up front has sparked Palmyra to 21 consecutive victories, was named the Mid-Penn Conference's player of the year at Tuesday night's meeting of the sprawling circuit's boys' soccer coaches.
Jankouskas, listed on all 27 ballots cast, also landed one of the Mid-Penn's four all-state nods. The others went to Red Land midfielder Blake Succa, hard-working striker Tom Palmer of Hershey and Central Dauphin forward/midfielder Eric McGinnis.
Second-year skipper Craig Tyrrell, who piloted Palmyra (21-0-0) to its second Keystone Division championship in three seasons, was named the Mid-Penn's coach of the year. Tyrrell's club -- the reigning District 3-AA champions -- opened the District 3-AA playoffs Wednesday night by trouncing Trinity 5-1 at Hershey High School. Jankouskas, who has posted 53 points (23 goals, 7 assists), scored two second-half goals for the Cougars.
Also named to the first team were Cougar defender Reed Kreider, goal keeper Josh Lineaweaver and midfielder Kyle Schneider. Defender Brian (BJ) Johnson was named to the second team.
Jankouskas, Palmyra take Mid-Penn Soccer Title
By PAT HUGGINS Staff Writer Lebanon Daily News
HARRISBURG - Palmyra likes its Mid-Penn Conference championships 1-0 in double overtime, thank you very much.
Ah, those crazy kids. All about the drama.
The Palmyra boys' soccer team continued a remarkable season and capped an equally remarkable week for Cougar athletics Saturday night, capturing its first Mid-Penn crown with a thrilling 1-0 double OT triumph over Central Dauphin on the Rams' home turf of Landis Field.
Still unbeaten at 20-0 in this charmed 2009 season, the Cougars forced Palmyra Area High School to clear some extra space in its trophy area with the triumph, following up the Mid-Penn crown the field hockey team snared earlier in the week with its own well-earned title, which came courtesy of money man Brett Jankouskas' game-winning goal in the 105th minute.
The symmetry of the twin achievements was not lost on Jankouskas, who cashed in the final scoring chance with the help of Zach Lee's hustling defensive play/assist. Kinda like Devyn Davis did Wednesday night when she capitalized on a great defensive play and pass by Anna Scipioni to give the field hockey team a 1-0 double OT victory over Lower Dauphin and its first Mid-Penn crown.
Don't worry, Palmyra, your teams aren't trying to outdo each other. But they do seem to be pushing each other to new heights.
"It's not really a rivalry. We're working together almost," said Jankouskas. "We go to see each other's games. It's good stuff."
"It means a lot," he added, of the win. "CD's definitely the best team we've played so far. They're very good, solid everywhere. It means a lot to finally get the Mid-Penn championship because Palmyra's never gotten it before except for field hockey (this week). It just feels good because the last time we were in it (two years ago) we got blown out."
There was plenty of good stuff that took place on the Landis Field pitch Saturday, and it came in abundance from both teams.
CD (15-5) enjoyed the better of the play in the first half, outshooting the Cougars 6-2 and putting a ton of pressure on late in the first half that strong play in goal from Josh Lineaweaver (8 saves) helped Palmyra survive.
In turn, Palmyra tipped the scales in its favor early in the second half, with Jankouskas narrowly misfiring on a pair of early chances, including an acrobatic bicycle kick try that skirted wide right.
And on and on it went, back and forth through 80 minutes of hotly contested regulation play, the first 15-minute extra session and 9:18 of the second OT before Lee blocked a Rams clearing attempt to an anticipating Jankouskas, who dribbled toward the goal and uncorked a shot that whistled past CD keeper Jon Lutz and into the lower left corner of the cage for the win.
"I kinda had a feeling Zach was gonna block the clearance," said Jankouskas, "so I ran on it and he did just what I thought he was gonna do. If Zach didn't block that, it's no goal."
And when he did get the block and the ball caromed to Jankouskas, Lee knew exactly what would come next. And Palmyra coach Craig Tyrell wasn't exactly shocked, either.
"I just got a toe on it and it went perfectly to Brett," said Lee, of a ball that was initially played in by Michael Thompson before the CD defender's ill-fated clearing attempt.
And when Jankouskas gets the ball in space?
"It's always over," said Lee, grinning.
"That's his job," Tyrell said, with a chuckle, of Jankouskas. "He's a striker, so that's his job. The ball movement to get it there was beautiful, and he does what he does best, which is finish."
Because he did, the Cougars are now halfway to a scholastic soccer Grand Slam of sorts. Or more accurately, two-fourths of the way there.
Mid-Penn Keystone Division title? Check. Overall conference title? Got it.
That leaves the District Three Class AA title the Cougars will begin defending Wednesday and, if all goes well there, another run at a state title to go with the PIAA championship Palmyra brought home in 2007.
That's a lot to assume, but if the Cougars are able to add those two crowns by mid-November, they will have Central Dauphin to thank for it.
"We're two for four right now in our team goals," said Jankouskas. "They're a great team. I'm really glad we played a team like that, even if we would have lost just because we got that experience. It's humbling when a team can play with you the whole game, and at points dominate you. I think it's a very good test."
"They were a great team, they hustled," said Lee, "but we just came out on top. Both teams played their hearts out."
CBS21 Video Highlights are below
Cougars' Jankouskas decides OT thriller
Sunday, October 25, 2009
BY MICHAEL BULLOCK firstname.lastname@example.org
Some hunch, huh?
Sensing one of his teammates was going to get in the way of a clearance just outside Central Dauphin's penalty area, Brett Jankouskas tried to read all of the possible angles so he could locate some space and be ready to receive the ball.
And once that deflected ball skidded his way, the rest was predictable.
Burying a blast from a step inside the box with 5:42 to go in overtime, Jankouskas' finish rocketed Palmyra to a 1-0 victory over CD in the finals of the Mid-Penn's fourth boys' soccer tournament Saturday night at breezy Landis Field.
Josh Lineaweaver registered five saves in goal for Palmyra (20-0-0), which pitched its sixth consecutive shutout and ninth in 10 games. The Cougars, the top seed in the District 3-AA playoffs, are the first Keystone Division champ to claim a Mid-Penn crown.
"Just feels good, because the last time we got blown out when we were in the championship [game]," said Jankouskas, referring to Palmyra's 6-0 loss to Red Land at Landis in the 2007 final.
Jon Lutz booked three stops for CD (15-5-0).
"I was proud of our effort," said Rams coach Gregg Davis, whose Commonwealth Division champs will open District 3-AAA play as the No. 3 seed. "I thought we did very well. That's the best we played in a long time. We played as a team, we fought for each other, we played good soccer at times.
"We didn't finish a couple of chances that we had and then we gave a great goal scorer a chance to score ... and he scored."
Scoreless well into overtime, Saturday's epic finally drew to a dramatic close when the Rams attempted to pry the ball out of their defensive third. Zach Lee had other thoughts, planting himself in front of the ball and deflecting it to his right, where the opportunistic Jankouskas readied.
Poised and with plenty of room to lock and load up his lethal right leg -- the senior striker spent most of the night trying to fend off CD's pesky Josh Kingston -- Jankouskas let loose. One, maybe two heartbeats later, the ball whistled past a flailing Lutz for the game-winner.
As the ecstatic Cougars celebrated, CD's disappointed Rams lay prone on the turf.
"I kind of had a feeling Zach Lee was going to block the clearance, so I ran on," Jankouskas said of the game-winning sequence. "He did just what I thought he was going to do, so I picked it up, took like a touch or something and just shot it. ... If Zach didn't block that, it's no goal."
"They play well together," said Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell, whose club has conceded just one goal in its last 889-plus minutes. "They understand each other well."
Well, that understanding capped a terrific scrap that featured plenty of effort, end-to-end action for much of the fray's 104-plus minutes and some intriguing one-on-one encounters. Hard-earned tackles? Oh, yeah. Clutch saves? Lutz and Lineaweaver certainly added dandies to their highlight reels.
In addition to the Jankouskas-Kingston duel -- the Rams' Mike Jones pitched in whenever his diminutive teammate needed help -- the one at the other end between CD's frenetic Eric McGinnis and Reed Kreider was just as compelling. No wonder everyone was spent afterwards.
This game, the best of the four finals played thus far, was that good.
"They might be the best team we play this whole season," Jankouskas said of the reigning 3-AA champs' final test before districts. "I'm really glad we played a team like that, even if we would have lost, just because we would have gotten that experience.
"It's humbling when a team can play with you the whole game and, at points, dominate you. It was a very good test."
HERSHEY - For the first 40 minutes, it was competitive.
Then in the space of six minutes early in the second half, it was suddenly over.
Zach Lee scored in the 44th minute to give the Palmyra Cougars a 2-0 lead over the East Pennsboro Panthers. Six minutes later, Tommy Miller scored, and from that point on, it was all over but the shouting.
When the shouting began, the Cougars had rolled to a 4-0 victory over the Panthers in their Mid-Penn Conference semifinal showdown at Milton Hershey's Henry Hershey Field Thursday night.
With the win, the Cougars, now 19-0, advance to the conference championship game against Central Dauphin Saturday. The Rams earned their spot in the title game when Lucas Gross scored 53 minutes into the second overtime, giving them a 1-0 victory over Camp Hill in the other semifinal game.
Saturday's game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Central Dauphin's Landis Field.
"They came out pressuring us hard and fast," said Palmyra coach Craig Tyrell, "but that made it easier for us to play the ball."
The East Pennsboro pressure, however, threatened only Palmyra's ball control game. The Panthers essentially packed the back in an effort to deny the Cougars time and space in the offensive zone, and while the strategy was effective to a degree, it forced them to rely on playing long balls in an effort to generate offense. The offense was never generated.
"We've seen that before," Tyrell said, "teams packing in six or seven guys."
What may have hurt the Cougars in the first half more than the East Pennsboro defensive mindset was their tendancy to get too "cute" with the ball. Palmyra effectively maintained its shape throughout the half, and was comfortably able to switch fields, but often held the ball too long, or made one-too-many touches.
"To their credit, they came out fast," Tyrell said, "but that (getting 'cute') was hurting us."
That also resulted in the one major change Tyrell made in the first half, shifting Brett Jankouskas from the middle to the wing. That move not only took some of the pressure off the middle, it freed Jankouskas, and with 16 minutes left in the half, he capitalized.
Taking a feed from Luke Brandt, Jankouskas wheeled to get position on Justin Duttry, then launched his shot, a 17-yard blast from the left side that beat East Pennsboro keeper Cody Kramer to the far post.
Jankouskas then set up Lee for the game's second goal, and from that point on, the Panthers were vainly playing catch-up.
"That second goal, it was well put together," said Tyrell, "and I think that changed the game."
The goal was set up in part by Tyrell's halftime reminder to his team to simply focus on playing well.
"We just reminded them of what they were good at," Tyrell said. "Our habit is to attack, and if they're gonna beat us, they're gonna have to beat us that way."
The Cougars completely put the game out of reach when Miller scored on a 30-yard blast from right sideline that carried over Kramer and into the net. With just under 14 minutes left, Tyrell began making wholesale substitutions, including replacing starting keeper Josh Lineaweaver with Nate McClellan. Bret Haldeman closed out the scoring with five and a half minutes left with a wide-open shot from the left side off a cross from Dan Rusling.
Lineaweaver had four saves, McClellan none in the shutout. The first three shots Lineaweaver faced, all in the first half, were easily handled long-range blasts by the Panthers. His lone second half save came at the corner of the post..
GO COUGARS!! At right, BJ Johnson is marking an East Pennsboro player while Chris Parks looks on
A CBS21 video highlight is below.
Keepers shine in Palmyra 1-0 win over Hershey
Friday, October 02, 2009
BY MICHAEL BULLOCK email@example.com
Stumbling across his goal crease early in the second half -- while trying to extinguish a potentially explosive Hershey play -- Josh Lineaweaver somehow managed to get to the right spot.
At least a part of him did.
Effectively using his super-sized wingspan mere moments into the second half, Lineaweaver's timely smother stood large until Brett Jankouskas buried a 30-yard restart with 2:43 remaining that zipped Palmyra past host Hershey 1-0 in a Mid-Penn Keystone Division soccer match.
Thursday's scrap also featured a terrific outing by Trojans goalkeeper Ben Masters, whose five-save total included a couple of professional-quality stops.
Yet it was Lineaweaver's beauty early in the second half, a diving effort to his right that denied Vito Amato's potential go-ahead score, that kept this game spinning in a scoreless tie.
"I started sliding across [the crease], I lost my footing and somehow I pushed off," said Lineaweaver, who finished with six saves. "I knocked it down with my hand, and when their striker came in [for the rebound], I just reached with my foot and knocked it past the post."
Lineaweaver cleanly handled several more pops by the Trojans (9-2-1, 6-2-1) to keep up his end, but Masters uncorked a dandy with 10:25 remaining. That's when the Hershey junior sprawled to his left to punch away a Jankouskas restart that was ticketed for the inside of the right post.
Masters also came up with another beauty, caressing Zach Lee's redirected header with 4:44 to go as the scoreless drama continued to play on ... and play on. Then, with overtime looking like a certainty, a foul put Jankouskas over the ball some 30 yards from goal.
One quick strike later, Palmyra (12-0, 9-0) led.
Cougars Handle Trojans
Posted: 09/10/2009 11:40:24 PM EDT
The goals are going to come.
So far, however, the Palmyra Cougars really haven't needed all that many, thanks in no small part to a rock-ribbed defense.
That much was obvious Thursday night as the Cougars ran their record to 2-0 with a 1-0 victory over the Hershey Trojans in a Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division soccer game at Buck Swank Stadium.
Kyle Schneider scored in the 78th minute to give the Cougars their margin of victory, although only a yeoman effort on the part of Hershey keeper Ben Masters.
"Their goalkeeper really kept them in the game," said Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell. "Other than that, I think we dominated."
So much so that the Trojans struggled to really put any kind of pressure on Palmyra keep Josh Lineaweaver, who had to make just one save in posting the shutout. Hershey had just three shots in the game.
But while Lineaweaver got credit for the shutout, he had a lot of help, especially from defenders Reed Kreider and Brian Johnson, who effectively shut down the Hershey attack.
"They made life easy for Lineaweaver," Tyrrell said with a smile as he talked about the performance of Kreider and Johnson.
Schneider also turned in a strong performance, dominating the midfield before finally giving the Cougars the goal they needed. That goal came when Brett Jankouskas played the ball into the area to Schneider, who carried the ball in deep before slotting home a left-footer.
"They're playing with a lot of passion," said Tyrrell about his team. "They have everything in sight. They know what they want."
A VIDEO HIGHLIGHT FROM WGAL IS BELOW
Cougars Beat Hershey 1-0
Kyle Schneider's goal with two minutes to go -- off a slick dish from Brett Jankouskas -- lifted Palmyra to a 1-0 victory over Hershey in Keystone Division action at Buck Swank Stadium. Ben Masters made eight saves for the visiting Trojans, who were outshot 20-3 by Craig Tyrrell's Palmyra side. Josh Lineaweaver picked up the shutout without making a save.
The JV Cougars also won 1-0.
Tonight was also the Palmyra Soccer Caring Cougars Food and Fund Drive to benefit The Caring Cupboard. The amount raised at the game is $3100.00. THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR THEIR SUPPORT especially Costco Wholesale, Giant Foods, Metro Bank, Palmyra School District Key Club and xpedx!! GO COUGARS!!!
Cougars Finish Regular Season Unbeaten
The Cougars beat Lower Dauphin 4-0 to finish the regular season undefeated at 18-0 and 14-0 in the league.
Balanced scoring was once again the Cougars trademark with goals scored by Kyle Schneider, Brett Jankouskas, Tommy Miller and Jeremy Benner. Assists were dished out by Michael Thompson and Dan Rusling.
Josh Lineaweaver made 5 saves and teamed up with Nate McClellan for the Cougars 11th shutout of the year.
"It's a wonderful thing for the program," said Craig Tyrrell. "We really didn't expect anything at the start of the season but we thought we had the talent to do it. We just had to do the hard work."
The JV Cougars finshed their season unbeaten at 16-0 with a 3-1 victory. Congratulations and great job to the team!
The Middle School Cougars also finished their season undefeated at 15-0............congratulations!
At right: Reed Kreider lines up a kick against LD.
Cougars Defeat Mechanicsburg 6-0
The Cougars, lead by Kyle Schneider's 2 goals and an assist along with Zack Krikorian's goal and 3 assists ran their record to 17-0, 13-0 with a 6-0 victory over Mechanicsburg on Monday.
Other goals were scored by Zach Lee, Brett Jankouskas, Michael Thompson and assists dished out by Luke Brandt and Jamel Manning.
Josh Lineaweaver made 7 saves and teamed up with the defense for the 10th shutout of the year for Palmyra.
The JV Cougars went to 15-0 on the season with a 2-1 win over the Wildcats. GO COUGARS!!
SPEAKING OF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Michael Bullock, Patriot News, Soccer Notebook
Riding second-half finishes by Zach Krikorian and Brett Jankouskas -- along with seven saves from goalkeeper Josh Lineaweaver -- Palmyra's 2-0 triumph over Middletown Tuesday night returned the Keystone title to Lebanon County for the second time in three seasons.
"It's good to know we can actually take another one," said second-year coach Craig Tyrrell, an assistant in 2007 when the Cougars claimed Keystone crown No. 1. "That way it makes it seem like the first one wasn't a fluke, that we've shown some consistency. It feels good."
Yet, as much as CD unloaded following its title-clinching victory, the reigning District 3-AA champions were more businesslike.
"They know this was just another game and the first stage of what we want to accomplish," said Tyrrell, whose Cougars (16-0-0, 12-0-0) will oppose East Pennsboro next week. "While they were cooling down and stretching, it was like, 'Let's move on and get the next one.'
"Which is what we've been trying to instill from the start."
AT RIGHT: Palmyra left back Luke Brandt is one of those Keystone-winning Cougars who will now set their sights on the Mid-Penn Tournament Championship.
Second-half goals from Zach Krikorian and Brett Jankouskas -- along with seven saves from goalkeeper Josh Lineaweaver -- carried Palmyra to a 2-0 victory over Middletown in Mid-Penn Keystone Division boys' soccer action Tuesday night at Buck Swank Stadium.
With the victory, Palmyra's 16th in as many tries, Craig Tyrrell's Cougars claimed their second Keystone Division crown in three seasons. Palmyra also locked up a berth in next week's Mid-Penn tournament of champions at Milton Hershey's Henry Hershey Field.
Cougars Win Mid-Penn Keystone Division!!
Posted: 10/13/2009 11:10:50 PM EDT
Scratch one goal off the "to-do" list.
The Palmyra soccer team rang up a 2-0 victory over Middletown Tuesday, and in the process clinched the Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division title.
"This was our first goal, our first mountain," said coach Craig Tyrell. "We completed that first stage."
The win left the Cougars with a 12-0 record in division play - 16-0 overall - and a three-game lead over second place Mechanicsburg with two games remaining.
"We still have games left," said Tyrell, "so we hope to keep going. It's a great thing for us to win the league but it's just one step in the puzzle."
That "puzzle" includes putting together a successful defense of the District Three title the Cougars won last season, and making another run at the state championship they won two seasons ago.
Still, winning wasn't easy.
"Middletown played a good game," said Tyrell. "The came out strong and put pressure on us."
Keeper Josh Lineaweaver was equal to the task, coming up with seven saves in posting the shutout. Meanwhile, Zack Krikorian and Brett Jankouskas scored in the second half to give the Cougars their margin of victory.
The JV squad beat the Raiders 4-1 to run their record to 14-0 on the season.
Cougars Turn Lights Out on Gettysburg
For the second game in a row, six different Cougars scored as Palmyra defeated Gettysburg 6-0 in a game shortened when the some of the lights at the Warriors field went out with 7 minutes to play.
With the win, Palmyra moves to 15-0 overall and 11-0 in the division.
Palmyra, who lead 4-0 at half, struck quickly in the second half to finish the scoring. Jeremy Benner, Jamel Manning and Kyle Schneider all collected 1 goal and 1 assist for the Cougars.
The JV Cougars remained unbeaten with a 2-1 victory to go to 13-0 on the season.
HERSHEY- In these uncertain economic times it's comforting to know there are still some safe places to put your money.
Such as on the ever-increasing likelihood that Brett Jankouskas will come through like a champ when the pressure is on.
Don't scoff. It's become as much of a sure thing as any sound investment opportunity your financial advisor could suggest.
Pamyra's senior soccer star, Jankouskas added to his already considerable scholastic sports legacy Thursday afternoon, whistling home a pressure-soaked free kick from 30 yards out with 2:43 left that propelled the Cougars to a dramatic 1-0 victory over archrival Hershey in a heated Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division battle at HersheyHigh School's new turf field.
In danger of seeing its unbeaten record blemished by a feisty Trojan squad that was on the attack for much of the second half and ended up outshooting their visitors 10-8, Palmyra instead triumphed once again, improving to 12-0 overall and 9-0 in the Keystone after the big moment-loving Jankouskas drilled home his 14th goal of the season just seconds after teammate Zach Lee was fouled just outside the box at the end of a rush up the field.
It was a moment that would cause lesser competitors to falter or shy away altogether. But when the game is on the line, there is absolutely nothing shy about the generally soft-spoken Jankouskas.
"I like it a lot, actually," said Jankouskas of the pressure that comes with big moments in
games. "It just seems very kinda calm. It's just fun. It's kinda how I am, I guess. I just like those situations."
And Palmyra coach Craig Tyrell definitely likes seeing Jankouskas in those situations.
"Every time we get a free kick anywhere near the 18, I always think he's gonna hit it," said Tyrell with a smile. "He's either gonna finish it or he's gonna make the goalkeeper save it. He's great at it.
"He looks forward to it," Tyrell added. "He loves the nature of the game, and the intensity. He relishes the pressure in times like that."
But make no mistake, despite Jankouskas' brilliance the Cougars are not a one-man team. And they proved it in both subtle and spectacular ways Thursday.
The subtlety came in the form of hard-earned composure Palmyra displayed throughout a matchup that grew increasingly physical and chippy as it went on. The Cougars, who also received spirited performances from Kyle Schneider, Luke Brandt and Michael Thompson to name just a few, had their moments of chippiness as well, but ultimately did a far better job controlling their emotions than the host Trojans did. A prime example was seen in the borderline cheap shot Jankouskas was the recipient of by a frustrated Hershey defender roughly a minute after his game-winning goal.
"We expected it to be that way," said Tyrell of the physical nature of the contest. "We had to keep our composure, and they did well with that. That's the way we are. We know it's not gonna be easy, and we just take whatever comes to us."
"We played a good mental game, I'd say," said Jankouskas. "We didn't let it get into our heads much, and when we did we kinda settled down and just got back to how we play. I think that's why we won the game.
"It's intense, it gets quite nasty on the field. I'm just glad we won."
The spectacular aspect of the Palmyra victory came courtesy of Cougar keeper Josh Lineaweaver, who finished with seven key saves, one of which could well have been a game-saver with a little under 30 minutes left in the game.
Coming off his mark in an attempt to corral a ball that was trickling toward the box, Lineaweaver instead came up empty and was forced to scramble back to the cage and to his right as Hershey's Tom Palmer was controlling the ball near the right post and sending a cross to the left post where teammate Vito Amato awaiting.
A Hershey goal seemed imminent, but Lineaweaver somehow got back in position just in time to deny Amato's point-blank blast.
The sigh of relief from the Palmyra side was almost audible.
"I was like, 'Crap,'" said Jankouskas of his reaction as the play began to unfold. "I was like, 'Oh my God, there's no way this kid's gonna miss.' And he didn't miss. Josh just saved it. It was a great save by Josh, a great heads-up play."
"That was key," said Tyrell. "It was a big momentum swing at the time. I think he enjoyed making that save, he was even smiling for a while."
And everybody was smiling for numerous reasons after Jankouskas worked his magic on the free kick, not the least of which was the fact that it kept the Cougars unbeaten.
Yes, there are bigger goals Palmyra, the defending Class AA District Three champion, is after, but it's clear that Jankouskas and his teammates have taken great pride in all the challengers they've beaten back to date.
"It feels nice," Jankouskas. "Personally, I planned for it, and I know my teammates planned for this, too. But it's a lot different than just dreaming it. We work hard in practice, and it's just paying off."
Notes: Hershey keeper Ben Masters nearly matched Lineaweaver's performance in goal, stopping six Palmyra shots and coming up with several acrobatic saves. ... Palmyra enjoyed the advantage in corner kicks by a 9-6 margin. ... With the loss, the Trojans fell to 9-2-1 overall and 6-2-1 in the Keystone.
The JV Cougars also remaied unbeaten at 10-0 with a 3-1 victory.
Cougars Take Out Susquehanna Township
Six different Cougars scored and Josh Lineaweaver along with Nate McClellan teamed up for the 7th shut out on the year as Palmyra beat outmanned Susquehanna Township 10-0 Tuesday afternoon. The win moved the Cougars to 14-0 overall and 10-0 in the Keystone Division.
The Junior Varsity Cougars also remained unbeaten at 12-0 with a 6-0 shut out victory over the Indians.
Palmyra Remains Unbeaten at Northern Lebanon's Expense
Palmyra scored two goals in the last four minutes of the first half on the way to a 3-1 win over Northern Lebanon in non-league boys' soccer action Saturday afternoon at Frederick L. Gahres Stadium.
Zack Krikorian scored with 3:45 left in the first half, and he was followed by Tommy Miller scoring with 1:07 remaining in the period.
Krikorian took a crossing pass from Brett Jankouskas from the right side of the box, then kicked it back along the ground into the right corner of the net.
Up until that goal, Palmyra (13-0) had held possession of the ball for much of the first period without finding the back of the net. But their scoring chances early began to wear down the Northern Lebanon defense.
"In the first half, we possessed the ball more than we usually do," Palmyra head coach Craig Tyrell said.
Eventually, that led to even better scoring chances for the Cougars.
"We were playing evenly with them, but we were playing on our heels," Northern Lebanon head coach Stephan Wentling said. "They were getting balls through on the wings. We were getting back but it was wearing us down."
Palmyra extended its lead to 3-0 when Jamel Manning came down the left side of the field and fired a shot that hit the right post and bounced back into the goal, with 34:25 left in the contest.
Northern Lebanon (7-5) broke through 37 seconds later when Ryan Comiskey scored off of a pass from Cody Miele.
It was Comiskey's 25th goal of the season, but Palmyra's defense kept him on the ground and limited his scoring chances and touches.
"I thought we did well defending him, Tyrell said. "We figured he would be at his best in the air."
Overall, the Vikings had just two shots on goal and one corner.
Palmyra had 12 shots and five corners.
Cougar goalie Josh Lineaweaver made one save, while Tyler Brooks stopped eight shots for the Vikings.
Palmyra's JV team went to 11-0 on the season with a 6-1 victory.
Cougars Shut Out Bishop McDevitt
The Cougars shut out Bishop McDevitt 3-0 at "The Buck" in a Keystone Division game to run their record to 11-0 overall and 8-0 in the division.
Zach Lee lead Palmyra with two goals and Michael Thompson also added a goal. Assists were dished out by Jamel Manning, Brian Mundy and Brett Jankouskas.
A stifling defense held the Crusaders at bay and Josh Lineaweaver made 1 save for the 5th shut out of the year.
The JV Cougars also remained unbeaten with a 3-0 win.
Cougars Outlast Lower Dauphin
Brett Jankouskas scored at the 4:07 mark in the second overtime as the Cougars moved to 10-0, 7-0 on the season with a 1-0 victory over Lower Dauphin. Josh Lineaweaver had 4 saves in the shutout win.
The star senior forward's 13th goal of the season came off a direct kick and completed a contest that the Cougars dominated statistically, outshooting the Falcons 16-5
The Palmyra Junior Varsity moved to 8-0 on the season with a 2-0 shutout victory.
Cougars Remain Unbeaten
Posted: 09/22/2009 11:32:44 PM EDT GametimePa.com
Double your pleasure, double your fun.
Brett Jankouskas seems determined to do just that.
Jankouskas scored his second hat trick in as many game Tuesday night, leading the Palmyra Cougars to a 3-2 victory over Mechanicsburg in a Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division soccer showdown at Buck Swank Stadium.
The back-to-back hat tricks boosted Jankouskas' season total to 12 goals, but that was almost of secondary importance. Most important was the fact that the victory boosted the Cougars to 6-0 in league play and gave them a two-game lead over the second-place Wildcats, who fell to 4-2. A Mechanicsburg win would have enabled the Wildcats to pull into a tie for first place in the division.
Jankouskas staked Palmyra to a 2-0 first-half lead before the Wildcats got on the board 12 minutes into the second half. Jankouskas completed his hat trick two minutes later to make it a 3-1 game and to give the Cougars enough of a cushion to hold off a late Mechanicsburg charge that saw the Wildcats pull to within one with 15 minutes remaining.
Palmyra is now 9-0 on the season.
The JV Cougars ran their record to 7-0 with a 3-0 shutout win.
Jankouskas hat trick beats Elco in OT
By JERRY REIGEL For the Lebanon Daily News
Updated: 09/19/2009 10:54:59 PM EDT
MYERSTOWN - The boys' soccer power in LebanonCounty has resided for many years in the east end at ElcoHigh School, but a shift has moved decidedly to the west.
Palmyra, by virtue of its 3-2 overtime victory over the Raiders on Saturday night in Myerstown, has stamped itself as the team to beat in this region, and probably others.
The reigning District Three champion Cougars are now 8-0 on the year. The main reason for their high level of play is a veteran team with seven seniors from the 2007 state championship team, including high-scoring forward Brett Jankouskas, who scored his second three-goal hat trick against Elco in two years. Elco held a 2-1 halftime lead on goals by Chad Harris and Aaron Kline before Jankouskas and Co. went to work in the second half.
Jankouskas tied the score at 2 on a short-distance blast off a Zach Lee pass at the 37:35 mark of the second half, then nearly put Palmyra in front five minutes later when his 20-yard direct kick deflected off the crossbar thanks to a save by Elco junior goalie Austin Lawrence.
The rebound went to junior defender Dustin Stuck, whose bicycle-kick shot attempt also went off the crossbar.
Elco managed to take Palmyra into overtime, but at the 5:04 mark, Palmyra struck for the winning goal. The play started on the right with a cross from Jamel Manning that went across the field to overlapping Luke Brandt on the left wing. Brandt's cross into the goal area found the head of midfielder Chris Parks, who headed the ball back and across to Jankouskas on the far post, who leaped and headed it into the corner of the net.
Elco coach Mike Seigfried had to tip his cap to the play of Palmyra and Jankouskas.
"Jankouskas got all three against us again," said Seigfried, in reference to Palmyra's 4-3 win last year at Palmyra. "He's a special player. Palmyra's got a great team, a definite state contender.
"But I saw improvement in us tonight, too. We're only 3-3, but if we can stay with teams like Palmyra until the end, we'll be OK."
Jankouskas has been nearly unstoppable, collecting his eighth goal of the season and 66th of his career.
Palmyra's playmaking midfielder, Kyle Schneider, played a pivotal role for much of the night before being forced from the game in the late stages with an injured shin. While running onto a through pass from Jankouskas, he got sandwiched between Harris and Lawrence.
Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell was pleased with the effort.
"Elco gave us a good match," he said. "They were as good as anybody we've faced all year."
This season, Palmyra has displayed solid team play, using crisp one-touch passes. But against Elco, the Cougars went more to a long-ball attack, similar to the one employed by the Raiders.
"We're playing good soccer," said Tyrrell. "I'm very happy. We kind of fell into the same style of play as Elco tonight, but they played very well. We're happy to come out of here with a win".
The JV Cougars remained undefeated with a 6-1 win.
Cougars Win Antietam Tournament
The Cougars came home on a rainy Saturday with the championship trophy from the Antietam Tournament to run their record to 4-0.
In the championship game, the Cougars jumped on St. Pius X 3-0 and were not threatened. The final score was 3-1. Goals were scored by Brett Jankouskas and Jeremy Benner.
In the opener, Palmyra beat Muhlenburg 3-0. Goals by Kyle Schneider, Brett Jankouskas and Bret Haldeman were enough to beat the Mules. A stiffling defense along with Josh Lineaweaver's goalkeeping pitched the shutout.
Congratulations to the team!!
Too Soon to Judge District III's New Playoff System
By Jerry Reimenschneider
Its boys soccer tournament has taken a wild ride since 2004, when District 3 first intervened to tweak the oft-criticized system it previously used to select its championship field.
Five years ago, responsive to those who said pre-slotted spots based upon league finishes were unfair, the well-meaning district went to a cockeyed power rating.
Two years later, responsive to those (this reporter included) who ripped the flawed power ratings, the district opened the tournament to any teams finishing the regular season with .500 records.
This fall, responsive to those who complained that the field now included too many teams whose rankings were based on too few factors, the district is again making adjustments.
Go ahead and question the relative merit of its past actions. But give the district credit for being willing to move in an open-minded fashion to work toward full fairness.
Beginning this October, there will be a 24-team limit in each of the three classifications, with the top eight teams in AAA, AA and A getting byes while Nos. 9-24 (if a full 24 participate/qualify) play preliminary matches to whittle the field to 16 for the "real" first-round games.
Field hockey will be doing the same.
Some will criticize the change as too modest, arguing that it neither eliminates enough teams nor alters the power rating.
As for the latter point, it will be addressed soon, according to district soccer chair Fred Isopi.
"There will be a proposal presented to the district committee to have a power rating system similar to what football uses," Isopi said via e-mail. "We are hoping that we will be able to pilot such a system this spring."
As for the 24-team limit, its impact is minimal at first glance. Only three times since the .500-record rule came into play in 2006 have more than 24 teams filled a field: 26 in AA in '06, 25 in AA in '07 and 27 in AAA in '08.
So had the 24-team rule been in effect over those years, only six teams would have been excluded.
But while the new maximum allows for eight more teams than in the "old days," it still builds a firm ceiling and mollifies those who argue either for completely open tournaments or for the inclusion of all interested .500 teams.
It is, in other words, a compromise.
In that spirit, we'll reserve judgment until after next fall, which should see the first boys tournament featuring the new limit and the pending power rating system.
Palmyra Defeats Middletown
Jeremy Benner and Tommy Miller scored 2nd half goals as the Cougars beat Middletown 2-1 in Mid-Penn Keystone action Thursday afternoon. Josh Lineaweaver faced 7 shots, making 6 saves. The win moves Palmyra to 7-0 on the season and 5-0 in conference play.
The Junior Varsity Cougars remained undefeated (5-0) on the year by shutting out the Raiders 4-0.
Cougars Continue to Cruise
Updated: 09/15/2009 11:12:12 PM EDT
The Palmyra Cougars are hitting their stride.
Brett Jankouskas and Reed Kreider each had a goal and an assist Tuesday night as the Cougars rolled to a 5-1 victory over Gettysburg at Buck Swank Stadium in a Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division soccer game.
The win boosted the Cougars to 6-0 on the season and to 4-0 in division play.
"In the first half, their keeper had some good saves," said Palmyra coach Craig Tyrrell, "but we overpowered them in the second half."
Indeed, all the scoring came in the second half. Although the Cougars dominated the first half, they couldn't solve Gettysburg's Evander Bake. That changed when Chris Parks, set up by Zach Lee, beat Bake just under seven minutes into the second half.
Shortly after that, the Cougars quickly put the game out of reach when Jankouskas, Kreider and Jeremy Benner all scored within a span of just over three and a half minutes.
"We're playing very well right now," said Tyrrell. "Tonight we were being patient, and in the second half, we stepped up."
Tom Miller also scored for the Cougars.
The JV Cougars ran their record to 4-0 with a 4-1 victory.
Palmyra pays a visit to Middletown on Thursday with the Varsity squad taking the field at 3:45 PM and JV at 5:15 PM.
Cougars Beat Indians
The Cougars beat Susquehanna Township 5-0 to run their record to 5-0.
Five players scored for the balanced Palmyra attack: Jeremy Benner, Brett Jankouskas, Jamel Manning, Tommy Miller and Kyle Schneider. Josh Lineaweaver and Nate McClellan teamed up in goal to post the Cougars third shutout of the year.
The JV Cougars also remained undefeated running their record to 3-0 by beating the Indians 8-1.
Palmyra hosts Gettysburg on Tuesday night. It is CPYSC Night with future Cougars taking the field at halftime of the Varsity game.
Jankouskas buries two restarts as Palmyra picks up 2-1 soccer victory over McDevitt
Brett Jankouskas canned a pair of restarts -- the second with 7:43 gone in overtime -- as Palmyra squeezed past Bishop McDevitt 2-1 in an entertaining Mid-Penn Keystone Division boys' soccer scrap Tuesday night at Skyline Sports Complex.
Devin Bolton -- off a slick restart from Jimmy Fisher -- posted the lone goal for McDevitt (1-1-0, 0-1-0). Bolton's finish, which came with 16:11 remaining in regulation, pulled the Crusaders even and eventually forced the overtime session.
Jankouskas ended OT, sticking a 28-yard direct just inside the right post while McDevitt keeper Sam Willis (6 saves) was favoring the other upright. Jankouskas' first finish came with 8:41 gone in the second half when he jarred a 27-yard strike.
Josh Lineaweaver added a five-save effort for Craig Tyrrell's Cougars (1-0-0, 1-0-0), who were making the 2009 debut.
The Cougar JV squad also beat the Crusaders 7-0.
Cougars in the News
Sign of the Times
Fueled by last year's playoff disappointment, the Palmyra boy's soccer team targets another PIAA championship as this season's ultimate goal.
Kyle Schneider and Brian Mundy would like to forget one mid-November day they spent at Hersheypark Stadium, but they sure enjoy reliving the other.
Like 11 weeks from now.
Part of the terrific Palmyra sidethat captured the PIAA's Class AA championship in 2007 and celebrated accordingly at Hersheypark Stadium, Schneider and Mundy were sitting in the stands last fall when Susquehannock defeated Pottsgrove 1-0.
Both were suddenly enveloped by emotion.
"oh my gosh, we were just so frustrated," Schneider recalled. "We beat them 2-0 in the [District 3-AA] semis... and when they won states, we were like, 'We beat them 2-0, how did they win states?' We were just kind of confused and frustrated how they came out on top. Very confused."
"It was kind of a big disappointment," Mundy said. "This year, we've kind of erased everything from last year. Obviously, we want to do what we did two years ago ... but everything's new. We're trying not to carry anything over, because we want to start over. "Emotionally? OK.
Physically? Since 10 starters return from a 15-7-2 club that last season rebounded from an up-and-down Mid-Penn Keystone run to claim its first District 3-AA title and reach the state quarters -- the Cougars lost 2-1 to Midd-West -- last year will be difficult to ignore.
Yet, regardless of the starting point, every one of Craig Tyrrell's Cougars hopes to be standing on the Hersheypark Stadium floor ... when a particular Saturday in November arrives.
"That's the plan," said Tyrrell, the second-year skipper who was an assistant coach when Palmyra won in '07. "We definitely plan on being back there."
"We want to go out with a bang," added Schneider, one of the Cougars' 14 seniors. "That's what we're looking for, we're looking for good stuff this year."
And with this club, good stuff could come from everywhere.
From a defense that returns goalkeeper Josh Lineaweaver (5 shutouts), as well as backs Reed Kreider (4 goals, 3 assists), Brian Johnson (1g, 0a), Luke Brandt (0g, 4a) and Dustin Stuck (1g, 1a).
From a midfield that will have Schneider (6g, 4a), Mundy (2g, 0a), Zack Krikorian (4g, 0a), Jamel Manning (4g, 2a) and Chris Parks (2g, 1a), among others, fueling a possession-based attack.
From a group up front that includes Tommy Miller (2g, 6a), Michael Thompson (5g, 1a), Zach Lee (3g, 2a) and Brett Jankouskas (32g, 7a), the Division I college prospect who will drag multiple defenders with him.
Yet, despite Palmyra's senior-heavy roster, Tyrrell's determined Cougars did not waltz into preseason practice believing they were a lock for the state final.
Oh, they might have some lofty objectives, but the Cougars know those targets on their backs have grown exponentially. They're also driven by nasty memories. As a result, each session has produced plenty of perspiration.
"[Our experience] is going to help us out a lot, but it's not a given," Mundy said. "We have to work hard. At practice, we're working harder than ever. Trying to stay focused on one goal at a time."
And if any of Tyrrell's Cougars needs a reminder about just what those objectives happen to be, a peek at the sign hanging on the shed near their practice field spells everything out quite clearly ... in Palmyra orange-and-black.
KEYSTONE DIVISION CHAMPIONS
DISTRICT 3 CHAMPIONS
"We have really high expectations," Schneider said. "So, we're pretty confident in ourselves."
"We've seen it for the past couple months now," Tyrrell said. "When we get together and scrimmage, the hunger that they have now is just tremendous. They're just ready to go.
"They want the whistle to blow right now."
Returning talent means net gain for Palmyra soccer
LLOYD REIGEL, The Patriot-News, September 08, 2009 11:53 a.m.
Kyle Schneider, above, returns to power the Palmyra midfield - (JOHN C. WHITEHEAD/The Patriot-News, 2007)
When you have seven seniors returning -- including a career 58-goal scorer -- from a team that won a state championship two seasons ago and a district title a year ago, you'd have to feel pretty good about your chances in the upcoming soccer season.
That's precisely the situation at Palmyra Area High School, where coach Craig Tyrrell has stockpiled an impressive arsenal of talent. He has 17 returning letter winners from last year.
Leading the list is high-scoring Brett Jankouskas, an NCAA Division 1 prospect who is being heavily recruited by a handful of schools.
"I'm actually getting a little bored by the recruiting process," said Jankouskas, who has yet to narrow the list of schools that includes Pitt, New Hampshire, Hartwick and Villanova.
All Jankouskas wants to do is score goals -- and on Friday nights, kick PATs and field goals for the Cougar football team. This will be his first year kicking a football.
Kicking a soccer ball has become second nature for him, as has heading the ball, dribbling the ball and settling the ball. Among his 58 career goals was a fairly amazing three-goal performance last year in a 4-3 non-league win over Elco at Palmyra.
When asked when the last time an opponent scored three goals against one of his teams, Elco coach Mike Seigfried said, "I don't know. That's a good question. I'm not sure anybody ever did."
Jankouskas said his goal this year is to reach the century mark - as in 100 career goals, which would mean he needs 42. Lofty expectations for anybody. He'll obviously be heavily marked, which might result in a fair share of penalty kicks and direct free kicks.
"I like set plays," he said, "but pretty much anyway the ball goes in the net is OK with me."
As for the other six returning seniors and returning letter winners, Tyrrell doesn't mince words.
"I expect us to be much improved over last year," he said. "We have 14 seniors all together and 10 juniors, and many of them played two years ago when we won the state."
Palmyra's season ended last year in the state quarterfinals.
A good place to start after Jankouskas is on defense, where central defenders Reed Kreider and Brian "B.J." Johnson will be hard to beat down the middle. Both played on the state title team.
Likewise in midfield, where Kyle Schneider and Zach Lee return in good form. Senior Josh Lineaweaver is also a veteran in goal.
Other senior letter winners are Jeremy Benner, Luke Brandt, Dagen Davis, Tommy Miller, Brian Mundy and Chris Parks at midfield, David Lear on defense and Michael Thompson at forward.
PALMYRA WINS DISTRICT III “AA” TITLE
#1 Jankouskas’ OT winner beats Fleetwood, 3-2
By JEFFREY FALK
Daily News Sportswriter
HERSHEY — Teams produce championships.
Programs produce multiple championships.
Last night, Palmyra officially established itself as one of the top boys’ soccer programs in the state by winning the District Three Class AA title. At Hersheypark Stadium, Brett Jankouskas’ goal 4:49 into overtime gave the Cougars a 3-2 victory over Fleetwood and their first District Three title.
Palmyra’s Zach Lee had forced overtime when he netted the tying goal with 11:31 remaining in regulation. With the opportunistic Jankouskas leading the way, the Cougars made efficient use of their eight shots.
Palmyra graduated a dozen seniors from a 2007 club that captured the PIAA championship but did not win the District Three crown. The Cougars were beaten 3-2 by Hershey in last year’s district final.
But the Cougars will get a chance to defend their state title as 2008 District Three champs when the PIAA Class AA tournament opens this week. Palmyra, now 14-6-2, will take on DistrictTworunner-upValley View on Tuesday back at Hersheypark Stadium at a time yet to be announced.
“After last year, we wanted to start a program,” said Palmyra first-year head coach Craig Tyrrell. “Now Palmyra will be recognized as a soccer program, not just a one-year fluke. This is not just about what happened last year. We have something that’s going to be here for a while.
“From the start, we’ve been working since last season ended,” Tyrrell added. “Everybody said we lost 12 seniors. But it wasn’t about what we lost. It’s about what we had.”
“Now we have both,” Jankouskas said of the district championship. “It’s not as good as a state final. But it feels pretty nice.”
With space and time, Jankouskas simply doesn’t make mistakes with the ball at his feet.
With 10:11 left in the initial overtime, Joel Smith found Jankouskas in the middle of the pitch, and the Fleetwood defense missed a chance to clear the ball. Jankouskas collected the ball and whistled a blast along the ground that beat Tiger keeper Bryson Berish to the far post.
“Joel gets the ball ,and (Fleetwood defender) Jeff Turner blocked the shot,” explained Jankouskas. “And the deflection came right to me. There was no one on me, I took a touch and put it far post.
“I felt kind of relieved no one was there,” Jankouskas added. “I knew once I trapped it I was going to score.”
“That’s why his teammates admire him so much,” Tyrrell said of Jankouskas. “He might not get a chance all game. But if he gets one, he’s going to score 99 percent of the time.
“You can’t give him that much space,” Tyrrell continued. “He’s a perfectionist. You’ve got to make him hit the target.”
Down 2-1 with the clock running down, Palmyra tied it off a 50-yard restart taken by Reed Kreider. Teammate Dustin Stuck headed Kreider’s service to the far post, and Lee was there to take it out of the air and volley it home.
“They were playing really good,” Jankouskas said of the Tigers. “But I thought we wanted it more. That was the difference to me.
“We were working really hard,” Jankouskas continued. “But we weren’t getting any chances. His (Lee’s) scoring was big for us.”
Jankouskas gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead from a 19-yard free kick 7:23 in. The junior forward curled the re-start around Fleetwood’s five-man wall and into the top corner of the net.
“You curve it,” said Jankouskas. “But you put top-spin on it while you curl it so it will drop. I actually went over the wall.”
But the Tigers, now 20-4, knotted the score at 1 with 7:14 left before halftime, then took the lead 5:29 after it.
#2 Palmyra wins first 3-AA crown
CLASS AA: PALMYRA 3, FLEETWOOD 2 (OT)
Jankouskas' goals avenge '07 silver
Sunday, November 02, 2008
BY MICHAEL BULLOCK
For The Patriot-News
Brett Jankouskas knew.
Finally given a little breathing room when a Joel Smith rip whistled into the penalty area, Palmyra's sparkling junior striker watched the ball carom off a Fleetwood defender and skip his way.
And, as soon as the ball landed on his gifted right foot, Jankouskas knew what to do next.
Shoot ... and score.
Jankouskas' finish with 4:49 gone in overtime sent Palmyra's Cougars flying into a celebratory frenzy, all thanks to a 3-2 victory over top-seeded Fleetwood in the finals of the District 3-AA boys' soccer tournament Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.
Jankouskas authored an earlier finish -- on a tasty restart -- and Zach Lee roofed a shot as the Cougars (14-6-2) celebrated their first 3-AA title.
Palmyra finished second a year ago, falling 3-2 to Mid-Penn Keystone Division playmate Hershey.
Up next for Palmyra, the defending PIAA-AA champ, is a date with District 2 runner-up Valley View on Tuesday, probably at Hersheypark Stadium.
Derek Lopez and Adam Berish netted goals for Fleetwood (20-4), which was seeking its first title since 1992. And since the Tigers were on the high end of a 2-1 score for a healthy chunk of the second half, Palmyra's comeback burned even more.
Lee lit the match, pulling the Cougars even with 11:31 to go after Dustin Stuck nodded a Reed Kreider restart toward the right post and two waiting black shirts.
"I just wanted one of them to get it in," first-year coach Craig Tyrrell said. "It didn't matter much to me. Either one."
"I just felt so happy, because we were working really hard but they were kind of keeping possession," said Jankouskas, whose dipping 19-yard direct with 7:23 gone put Palmyra up 1-0. "And, we weren't getting too many breaks. [Lee] scoring that, finishing that, was definitely big for us."
Big, too, was a defensive effort that sent Jeff Turner, Carter Stein and a host of others after Jankouskas, the Cougars' prolific (31 goals) finisher. Little space was available, as the physical Tigers were determined not to let Jankouskas beat them.
However, funny things happen in OT.
And when Joel Smith's blast from the top right edge of the 18 smacked Turner and the ball hopped Jankouskas' way, he actually had time -- and room -- to respond.
"I felt kind of relieved that no one was on me at that point," said Jankouskas, who plays on a club team with Turner. "And I knew, once I trapped it, that I was going to score."
"That's why his teammates admire him so much, because they know the whole game he might not get a chance," Tyrrell said. "But if you give him one chance to finish, 99 percent [of the time] he'll finish it."
Even under the championship spotlight.
"It's not as good as the state finals," said Jankouskas, who netted both goals in last year's PIAA final. "But it's still pretty nice."
#3 Palmyra frustrates Fleetwood in OT
By Brian Rippey
HERSHEY - Fifteen minutes away from Fleetwood's first District 3 soccer title in 16 years, the missed opportunities didn't seem to matter much.
The Tigers held a one-goal lead over defending PIAA Class AA champion Palmyra and appeared on their way to victory.
But the Cougars struck for the tying goal with 11:31 left in regulation and went on to a 3-2 overtime victory in the District 3-AA championship game Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium.
"We just couldn't put it away, we couldn't finish the game," Fleetwood senior Derek Lopez said. "It's really disappointing to see how well we played and then just to go down like that."
Brett Jankouskas scored his second goal of the game with 10:11 left in overtime to help Palmyra (14-6-2) defeat the Tigers (20-4) and atone for last year's loss in the 3-AA final to Hershey.
Jankouskas found the back of the net with a ball that Fleetwood failed to clear from the front of its goal.
"It was kind of like in slow motion," Jankouskas said.. "The ball was just there and I kicked it in."
The loss sends Fleetwood on the road for the first round of the PIAA Tournament Tuesday against District 2-AA champion AbingtonHeights, site and time to be determined.
Jankouskas started the scoring for Palmyra when he bent a 19-yard free kick around a Fleetwood wall and over Tigers keeper Bryson Berish with 32:37 left in the first half.
Fleetwood began to take control and scored the equalizer when Lopez scored off an assist from Matt Geidner with 7:14 left in the half.
The Tigers had a chance to take the lead before halftime when they got a 2-on-1 break. But Nick Desiderio's shot hit the post with 2:30 left in the half to keep the game tied.
"We've just got to learn to take control of our chances," Lopez said. "We need to capitalize when we have those chances and take control of the game."
Still, the Tigers grabbed a 2-1 lead just 5½ minutes into the second half. Cory Rogol made a run down the right sideline and sent a cross to Adam Berish, who found the back of the net for his sixth goal in seven playoff games.
Fleetwood looked to score an insurance goal six minutes later when Andrew Dietrich broke free but was taken down from behind inside the box. After no call was made, Fleetwood coach Keith Schlegel received a yellow card for dissent.
"We had plenty of chances," Schlegel said. "We could have won this game easily."
Instead, the Cougars tied it with 11:31 left when Zach Lee scored on a free kick.
"Every foul that got called against us was dangerous because they were very good on their set plays," Schlegel said. "They're a good team. In overtime they had a nice counter attack and we put it back in the middle for them."
Fleetwood, which was denied its 10th District 3 title, finished with a 7-5 edge in shots. That only made the loss more difficult to swallow.
"We were playing great possession soccer," Lopez said. "We were moving them around the field, getting them tired. We were controlling play I thought."
PALMYRA BEATS SUSQUEHANNOCK IN DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS 2-0!!
Palmyra soccer team headed to district title game
By JEFFREY FALK Daily News Sportswriter Lebanon Daily News
LANDISVILLE — Same school. Same agenda. Same pleasantly surprising tale.
Last night at HempfieldHigh School, the 2008 edition of the Palmyra boys’ soccer team continued to draw striking parallels to the Cougar club that won last year’s state championship. The new Cougars qualified for this year’s PIAA tournament and made their own return to the District Three Class AA championship game with a 2-0 semifinal victory over Susquehannock.
Dangerous junior Brett Jankouskas, one of the few holdovers from last season, notched a pair of second-half goals for Palmyra. Jankouskas scored in a nine-minute span late in the second stanza as the Cougars dominated the final 40 minutes of play.
The win pushed Palmyra to 13-6-2 overall and into Saturday’s 5:30 p.m. District Three Class AA title tilt at Hersheypark Arena. There, the 11th-seeded Cougars will face top seed Fleetwood, which knocked off BrandywineHeights 1-0 in the other semi.
Susquehannock fell to 19-3-1 on the year.
“It’s a totally different team,” said Cougar rookie head coach Craig Terrell, who was an assistant during last year’s state title run. “Last year we had 12 seniors. With these youngsters, it’s a different atmosphere. Now it’s all about them. And they want to carry the mantle.”
“It’s Palmyra,” said Jankouskas, “but it’s a different team. We’re a young team. Last year was mostly seniors.
“People didn’t expect it out of us last year,” he added. “Maybe this year they expected it out of us because of last year. But if they knew we lost 12 seniors, they may not have expected it out of us.”
Following 63 minutes of scoreless soccer, the second-half pressure that Jankouskas and Kyle Schneider had been applying to the Warrior net finally paid dividends for Palmyra.
A precise through-ball from Schneider sent Jankouskas in alone on Susquehannock netminder Micah Collins. Collins managed to thwart Jankouskas’ short, quick burst, but Jankouskas stayed with the rebound, stepped over the fallen goalie and literally ran the ball into the net.
“Kyle Schneider just worked his butt off and got me the ball,” said Jankouskas. “I just got the ball before the goalie. Kyle did everything.”
“My memory of that would be Kyle going at the defense and drawing three defenders to himself,” said Terrell. “Brett ran to space. And the finisher he is, we expected him to finish that.”
With 9:49 left, Jankouskas was the recipient of another creative set-up, this time from Chris Parks.
Parks sent Jankouskas ahead, and his service created a half step of space for Jankouskas, who ripped a 20-yard right-footer through Collins. For Jankouskas, the most prolific scorer in Cougar history, it was his 29th goal of the campaign.
“Chris Parks gave me a beautiful ball and put me on a breakaway,” said Jankouskas. “I just put it on goal.”
“The second goal was sheer natural skill,” said Terrell. “Brett definitely has ability. He’s a poacher, and he got open for it. Once we got one goal, he only had two defenders on him, not three.”
After failing to launch a shot with the wind in the first half, the Cougars unleashed nine of them against it during the second half. The shutout went to Josh Lineaweaver, who was called upon for two saves.
“I think it’s kind of because the game’s on the line,” Jankouskas said of Palmyra’s inspired play. “If we lose, we go home. It’s making us play harder.”
#2 Susquehannock drops District 3-AA boys' soccer semifinal
By JEFFREY A. JOHNSON The York Dispatch
LANDISVILLE -- At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at HempfieldHigh School, the weather conditions suggested that a links golf tournament was about to get underway -- not a high school soccer match.
Thirteen mph winds combined with temperatures in the high 30s to make for a chilly evening. And several stray soccer balls were strewn about at midfield by the howling wind during pre-game warm-ups.
Unfortunately for Susquehannock, the wind wouldn't be the only thing that went swirling out of control.
Facing a rematch with the same team that banished the Warriors to the District 3 Class AA third-place game last year, second-seeded Susquehannock looked lost at times and was downed, 2-0, by 11th-seeded Palmyra in a district semifinal for the second straight year. The Cougars (13-6-2) got two second-half scores from Brett Jankouskas -- his 28th and 29th scores on the year -- and won the battle of possession for long stretches in the second half.
The unfortunate part for Susquehannock (19-3-1) was the realization that this was not the same Palmyra team that captured the PIAA Class AA crown a year ago. That squad was senior-laden while this year's Cougars feature only two seniors.
Simply put, this time around it came down to a one truth -- the Warriors were outworked.
"We came out flat and went through the motions and assumed the results would come," said Susquehannock head coach Ben Kettlewell, whose Warriors will need a victory over Brandywine Heights, a 1-0 loser to Fleetwood Wednesday, in the district third-place game Saturday for a state berth. That match will be held at Northeastern at 5:30 p.m.
"Hats off to them, they were able to figure out the game, but I thought last year's team was a more skilled team. This team we played tonight worked a whole lot harder than we did."
The Warriors, a state semifinalist a year ago, had their best scoring opportunity in the game's 22nd minute when Jim Spearman lobbed a serve to a streaking Joe Ferraracci. But Ferraracci's ensuing attempt was deflected by a Palmyra defender -- a theme Susquehannock would grow accustomed to throughout the night.
Warrior goalkeeper Micah Collins saved his team several times in the second half, making a sliding save on a Joel Smith attempt and then punching a Kyle Schneider try out of bounds. But Collins, who made seven saves, was beat by Jankouskas at the 17:42 mark in the second half after he went out to challenge the talented junior, who muscled an attempt past Collins' dive. Jankouskas' other score came about eight minutes later.
"He has that natural striker instinct and the kid definitely has the ability to do it," first-year Palmyra head coach Craig Tyrrell said of Jankouskas. "He's like a poacher. You put it out there and he will take it from you."
The loss also forced Susquehannock to come to terms with another harsh reality -- unlike last year, the Warriors need a win in the district third-place game for a trip to states. Last fall, four Class AA teams from District 3 made the state tournament.
That means the Warriors will have to come out with more energy and a better focus against Brandywine.
"We'll see what they have in themselves and if they can get back up for this game," Kettlewell said. "We'll see what kind of drive these guys have in them."
Junior striker Brett Jankouskas struck for a pair of goals late in the second half to give Palmyra a 2-0 win over Susquehannock in Wednesday night's District 3-AA boys' soccer semifinal at Hempfield High School.
The win sends the Cougars (13-6-2) into the District 3-AA championship game for the second year in a row. Palmyra will meet Fleetwood Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, Palmyra was able to attack from the wings and sustain pressure against the second-seeded Warriors (19-3-1). Susquehannock keeper Micah Collins kept the game scoreless with a pair of point-blank saves midway through the second half.
Jankouskas finally broke the stalemate when he took a feed up the middle from Kyle Schneider and beat Collins on a breakaway to make it 1-0 with 17:42 to play. Jankouskas, who now has 29 goals on the season, iced the game with 9:49 to play after converting a nifty feed from reserve Chris Parks.
Josh Lineaweaver made three saves to notch the shutout. Collins made seven stops for the Warriors.
COUGARS BEAT MENNONITE IN DISTRICT III QUARTER-FINALS!!
#1 Palmyra upsets LM
From Staff Reports Lebanon Daily News
As the saying goes, “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”
And as another saying goes, “You make your own breaks.”
Either or both of the above apply to the Palmyra boys’ soccer team right now.
The Cougars continued to conjure up whatever magic is left over from last season’s state title run last night, using an own goal in the 74th minute as the catalyst for a 2-1 upset of No. 3 seed Lancaster Mennonite in a District Three Class AA quarterfinal showdown at Landis Field.
Now 12-6-2 on the season, No. 11 Palmyra began last night’s affair in much the same way as it opened its first-round encounter with Shippensburg on Wednesday, allowing an early goal before eventually rallying for the win when Ryan Knight’s cross toward the box was inadvertently headed into the goal by a Mennonite defender with less than six minutes to play.
“It was crazy,” Palmyra coach Craig Tyrell said of winning on an own goal. “It was not the way we thought we would win. Both teams played really well. We went down one goal, but we showed maturity and kept our composure. All credit to the youngsters for that.”
The triumph sends Palmyra into Wednesday’s semifinal round opposite Susquehannock, which ousted Elco 3-2 yesterday. Site and time for the contest has not yet been determined. The win also assures Palmyra of at least two more games this season and the opportunity to qualify for a return trip to the PIAA state playoffs. The top three finishers in Class AA earn state playoff berths.
Palmyra and Susquehannock also met in last year’s semifinals, with the Cougars emerging with a 2-1 win.
“We started putting our game together the last two regular-season games,” Tyrell said of his squad, which is now 6-1-1 in its last eight games. “Now we’re at the point where we need to be. We’re playing well at the time we need to play well.”
Palmyra fell behind six minutes in when Matt Burkhart found the back of the net for Mennonite (17-4) and nursed that 1-0 deficit until the 35th minute, when Joel Smith produced the equalizer with the help of a feed from Knight.
The contest remained tied at 1 until the fateful 74th minute thanks in part to seven saves in goal from Josh Lineaweaver.
“We seem to be making a bad habit of that,” said Tyrell, of falling behind early. “But credit to them, they’ve been able to rebound from that. It’s almost like they know they can come from behind. But we don’t want to keep making a habit of that.”
Ryan Knight's long serve into the box turned into pure gold for Palmyra Saturday night at Landis Field.
The long ball, which deflected off a Lancaster Mennonite defender, found its way into the net with 6:05 to play to give the Cougars a 2-1 win over the Blazers in a District 3-AA quarterfinal. The win sends Palmyra (12-6-2) into Wednesday's 3-AA semifinals opposite Susquehannock, which edged Elco 3-2.
Palmyra trailed 1-0 just six minutes in, but last year's 3-AA runner-up and defending PIAA Class AA champs got a late first-half goal from Joel Smith to tie the game 1-1 at the half.
The Blazers (17-4) out-shot Palmyra 10-5 and had seven corner kicks to just one for the Cougars. Josh Lineaweaver had a strong effort between the posts with four saves.
COUGARS OPEN UP DISTRICT III TOURNAMENT WITH A WIN!!!
#1 Easy start doesn't yield playoff win for Hounds
SHIPPENSBURG -- It would have been hard to script a better beginning for Shippensburg.
Unfortunately for the Greyhounds, the happy ending belonged to Palmyra on Wednesday night at ShippensburgUniversity's David See Field.
The Hounds scored just 2:23 into the game, but the Cougars' Brett Jankouskas knocked in a pair of goals, the second with just 6:22 remaining in the game to lift the defending state champions to a 2-1 victory in a District 3 Class AA first-round playoff soccer game.
Ship finished the season 13-5-1, while the Cougars (11-6-2) move into Saturday's quarterfinals against Lancaster Mennonite.
"It was almost too easy to start out that way," Shippensburg coach Warren Jones said.
He was right.
Hound midfielder Kelly Hess brought the ball upfield drifting to his right. Getting near the box, he cut back to his left and zipped a pass inside to David Gerlach, who, surprisingly, had time to trap the ball, set up a shot, look at goalkeeper Josh Lineaweaver and send a roller into the net.
Palmyra coach Craig Tyrell said, "We came out a little flat. The guys were cold; some of them said they couldn't feel their toes."
Once the Cougars got warmed up, however, they showed their pedigree. Their defense proved to be sure tacklers and they blanketed Ship's probes down the wings. A good possession game and the dangerous Jankouskas were a handful at the other end.
Jones said, "Their possession game got better as the game went on and we got into a little bit of a panic mode."
Late in the first half, Palmyra brought the ball upfield on a quick transition and Ship was forced to foul not far outside the penalty area.
Jankouskas took the direct kick from about 25 yards out and buried it into the upper right corner. Keeper Alex Moats, who stoned Jankouskas earlier with a save, had no chance.
"He's probably scored about 12 (of his 27) goals on direct kicks," Tyrell said.
"We just backpedaled too much on that play," Jones said. "I don't think our defense played as well as it has most games."
It was the task of Tucker Wrights to mark Jankouskas and he held him to a handful of shots.
Jones said, "Tucker did a good job on him. He headed a few balls away and kept up with him."
But there was nothing Wrights could do about the direct kick and their wasn't much he could do about the second goal, either.
Palmyra was awarded a corner kick and the ball came out to Ryan Kreider outside the right side of the box. He took a shot that deflected off Jankouskas and into the net.
Tyrell said, "I thought we played well and recovered well from that bad start. It showed they wanted it."
"We've played much better games than what we showed tonight," Jones said. "I feel sorry for the seniors because they worked so hard for this."
Notes: Palmyra had one more shot than Ship, 8-7, and two more corners, 5-3 ... Moats and Lineaweaver each made 3 saves.
By PAT HUGGINS Daily News Sportswriter Lebanon Daily News
SHIPPENSBURG — It’s been a different season, complete with some different players and certainly a different level of pressure.
But as the Palmyra boys’ soccer team showed last night, there’s still a little magic left over from last season’s state-championship run.
And most of it, apparently, is contained in the feet of Brett Jankouskas.
On the strength of Jankouskas’ 26th and 27th goals of the season, including the game-winner with 6:22 left, the Cougars turned the page on a somewhat up-and-down regular season and began what they hope will be another lengthy postseason run with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Shippensburg in a District Three Class AA first-round battle at Shippensburg University.
The triumph propels No. 11 seed Palmyra into Saturday’s quarterfinal round at CentralDauphinMiddle School’s Landis Field against Lancaster Mennonite, a 3-1 winner over Lancaster Catholic. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. Sixth-seeded Shippensburg, meanwhile, ends its season with a record of 13-5-1.
Now 11-6-2 on the season that followed the season, Palmyra fell in a 1-0 hole just 2:23 into the game but was able to climb out behind the stellar play of Jankouskas, a junior forward who was one of the keys to last season’s glory for the Cougars.
And he was at it again last night, notching the game-tying score on a free kick with 8:14 left in the first half before tallying the eventual game-winner when, in a bit of a fluke,
he re-directed a shot from teammate Reed Kreider that completed a wild scramble in the box following a Cougar corner kick.
“I don’t even know,” said Jankouskas, when asked to describe what happened on the winning score. “I just saw Reed kick it and stuck my leg out and put it in. It was crazy.”
“He has no idea (what happened),” smiling Palmyra’s rookie head coach Craig Tyrell said of Jankouskas. “Sometimes you just gotta take what you get, you know?”
“It means a lot to them,” Tyrell added, referring to the significance of the win to his young squad. “Since the season started we’ve been preaching trying to take it one step at a time and mature as we go. And do it together. Because if we don’t do it together, it won’t get done.”
The way the contest began, with Ship’s David Gerlach slipping unmarked behind the Palmyra defense to notch a way-too-easy score less than three minutes in, there was reason to believe the Cougars wouldn’t get it done.
But the quick deficit only served to awaken Palmyra, which enjoyed the better of the play from that point and finally was rewarded when Jankouskas buried a straight-on free kick from about 20 yards out after Kreider had been tripped at the end of a rush up the field.
“It was definitely a refresher,” Jankouskas said of the quick early score by Gerlach, “because we did not expect that. But after that we started dominating.”
The second half, though, was a tense, physical affair for the first 33-plus minutes, with both teams producing quality scoring chances that ultimately went for naught.
Palmyra’s best opportunity came with 15:50 left on a Joel Smith shot that Ship keeper Alex Moats denied with a diving save.
Palmyra keeper Josh Lineaweaver also came up big, coming off his line to thwart Kelly Hess’ shot attempt midway through the half.
But the hero of the night, not for the first time and not for the last, was the dynamic Jan-kouskas, even if he didn’t quite know how he came up with Palmyra’s biggest goal of 2008. So far.
“He’s a special kid,” Tyrell said of Jankouskas. “He has a big heart. He’s a guy that comes to practice and motivates everybody else. He’s a very unselfish kid. It’s good to have that around.”
Especially last night.
Palmyra's defense of soccer title ends
#1 Midd-West ends Palmyra's reign
Sunday, November 09, 2008
BY JOHN TUSCANO
For The Patriot-News
As the defending PIAA Class AA champions, Craig Tyrrell and his Palmyra boys' soccer team, particularly dangerous striker Brett Jankouskas, knew they would encounter a physical, aggressive effort from the other side.
Tyrrell's Cougars received all the physicality they could expect Saturday night from scrappy Midd-West.
Perhaps even a little more.
Alex Callender provided just enough offense to help his Midd-West side to a 2-1 win over Palmyra in a state quarterfinal at Susquehanna Twp.'s Roscoe Warner Field.
Midd-West (19-1-2) advanced to Tuesday's Class AA semifinals opposite Pottsgrove, a 2-0 winner over Fleetwood.
The Cougars (15-7-2) and the Mustangs undoubtedly will be sporting plenty of bumps and bruises this morning after a contest that featured 33 fouls and two yellow cards.
"The game was physical and it might have been their game plan, but I don't think it really bothered us," said Tyrrell, whose team suffered its first postseason loss since last season's District 3-AA final.
"Mentally, I thought we stuck with it, kept our poise and continued to play our game."
Jankouskas, who entered Saturday's game with 31 goals and seven assists, drew plenty of attention and spent stretches of the game picking himself up off the turf.
Senior defender Shawn Smith began the game marking Jankouskas until an ankle injury took him out of the game for a bit with 16 minutes left in the first half. Classmate Steve Cherry moved back to mark Jankouskas and was just as physical.
"When you get to this level, the intensity is so much higher," Midd-West coach Chris Sauer said. "Our physicality is one of our strengths. We've got some guys that are strong and tough and good tacklers. We're going to be physical, as long as we don't let it go over the line."
Sauer's club was outshot 8-2 by the District 3-AA champs, but the Mustangs made their two chances count.
Callender caught Cougars keeper Josh Lineaweaver in between after a turnover and chipped a shot over his head at the 8:32 mark for a 1-0 lead. Callender's shot rolled the final 10 yards and had just enough steam to get into the net.
Palmyra threatened a couple of times in the second half, but Callender struck again for Midd-West after volleying home a shot with 25:50 left for a 2-0 lead. The scoring play started with a strong throw-in from Jeremy Payne that skimmed off the head of Ty Knepp and found Call-ender's right foot.
Jankouskas, of course, could only be held in check for so long and notched his 32nd goal with 12:40 to play to cut the deficit to 2-1. The junior sniper headed home a 35-yard free kick from Kyle Schneider.
Jankouskas nearly got the equalizer with 7:22 left after taking a long serve into the box from Dustin Stuck. Jankouskas then ripped a volley that whistled just wide of the left post.
#2Palmyra falls to Midd-West in PIAA quarterfinal, ending its year 15-7-2
By JEFFREY FALK
Daily News Sportswriter
HARRISBURG — Ultimately two things caught up with the Palmyra boys’ soccer team: inexperience and destiny.
Last night at SusquehannaTownshipHigh School, the Cougars’ second consecutive postseason run was ended by a physical and senior-laded Midd-West club. The Mustangs scored on both of their shots, effectively marked Palmyra star Brett Jankouskas and outmuscled the Cougars 2-1 in a quarterfinal match of the PIAA Class AA playoffs.
Midd-West notched goals early in each half to open up a 2-0 advantage. Palmyra, which outshot the Mustangs 8-2 and owned a 7-0 advantage in corners, mustered a Jankouskas tally with 12:14 to go, but nothing more.
The loss ended Palmyra’s season at 15-7-2 and its reign as PIAA Class AA champions. Midd-West, which ironically boasted as many seniors as the Cougars did during last year’s playoff drive — 12 — moved to 19-1-2 and into Tuesday’s state semifinals.
“It was a physical game,” said Palmyra head coach Craig Tyrrell. “But when you’re the defending champ, teams are going to come out and try to disrupt what you do. I think it might have been their game plan, but it didn’t bother us. We still played our game.
“Their defenders didn’t hold the ball at all,” Tyrrell added. “But the fact that we didn’t hit the target was the difference.”
The Mustangs registered the eventual game-winner 14:10 into the second half. With Midd-West already ahead 1-0, a throw into the box was flicked on goal by Ty Knepp, and teammate Alex Callender was there to volley it home.
The Cougars, who enjoyed the better of the play all evening, cut their deficit in half 13 minutes later when Jankouskas used his head to redirect Kyle Schneider’s 35-yard restart. It would prove to be Jankouskas’ 32nd and final goal of the season.
“The two opportunities they had they scored on,” Tyrrell said of the Mustangs. “But we had the majority of the opportunities. Defensively, we played the way we wanted to.
“Any good striker’s (Jankouskas) got to expect that people are going to come at him,” Tyrrell continued. “And he’s experienced enough to know what to expect.”
Midd-West’s first goal, which occurred 8:32 into the match, was innocent enough in origin.
A long ball was played into the Cougar zone, and Palmyra netminder Josh Lineaweaver and Callendar converged upon it at the same time. Callendar managed to get his head on it, and the ball squirted by Lineweaver and into the net.
“I thought it was a little miscommunication between the defender and the goalkeeper,” said Tyrrell. “He (Lineweaver) made the decision he thought was right at the time.
“I thought we did well offensively, real well,” continued Tyrrell. “We created opportunities. But they were two inches wide here, two inches wide there.”
Palmyra will graduate just two seniors from this year’s team — forward Joel Smith and defender Ryan Knight.
“I told them they had no reason to hang their heads,” Tyrrell said of his troops. “We had a great year. We’ve got a lot to be proud of.
“I thought we played a quality game,” Tyrrell continued. “We gave ourselves enough quality chances. We just didn’t finish them.”
We are all proud and congratulations to the team on a great year!!
By JEFFREY FALK Daily News Sportswriter Lebanon Daily News
HERSHEY — With the summit in sight, the Palmyra boys’ soccer team has picked a great time to “peak.”
Last night at Hersheypark Stadium, the Cougars continued to play their best soccer of the season as they overwhelmed Valley View 4-0 in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA tournament. With six different players figuring in the scoring, Palmyra rolled to a 4-0 halftime advantage.
Chris Parks, Reed Kreider, Tommy Miller and Jeremy Benner all notched Cougar goals, while star forward Brett Jankouskas contributed three assists. Palmyra outshot Valley View, the now 14-5-1 District Two runner-up, 19-1.
For the District Three champion Cougars, who improved to 15-6-2, it was their ninth straight postseason victory overall and their fifth this year. Up next for Palmyra is a quarterfinal date Saturday with Midd-West (18-1-2), a 2-0 victor over Southern Lehigh, at a site and time yet to be announced.
“We played well at the opening of the game, to kind of take charge of it,” said Palmyra head coach Craig Tyrrell. “They (his players) knew it was their first state game as defending champs, and they wanted to come out and get things done.
“My thought is the world is our training ground,” Tyrrell continued. “We work hard in practice. So when we get to the game there’s no reason not to enjoy it and watch. They’re mature enough to play on their own.”
The Cougars dominated the flow of play throughout and struck early to set the tone.
Seven minutes in, off a short corner kick, Miller served a ball into the crease that Jankouskas and Valley View keeper Josh Robert converged upon at the same time. Jankouskas used his head to keep the ball alive, and it squirted to an unmarked Parks, who played the bouncing ball off his head and into the goal.
At the midway point of the first half, Kreider and Miller recorded goals 1:21 apart to up Palmyra’s advantage to 3-0.
“Defensively, we’ve been pretty strong, and we’ve been getting better,” said Tyrrell. “The attack comes from three, four, five, six guys. We’re pretty well-rounded. Any guy can come out and give us a good game. We have so many guys who can turn it up, so that frees up Brett.
“I didn’t read anything about what they (Valley View) did,” Tyrrell continued. “I didn’t want to know what they did last game. We wanted to play our game.”
Jankouskas set up both Kreider’s and Miller’s tallies. Kreider was sent in alone and blasted a 10-yarder short-side, while Miller followed up a Jankouskas rush that was denied and buried the rebound top-shelf.
“I felt comfortable in the second half,” said Tyrrell. “In the first half we scored four goals, and we knew they could, too. But in the second half, I knew they wouldn’t be coming back.”
The Cougars all but settled the outcome when Benner scored 1:02 before halftime. Palmyra’s Joel Smith settled the ball with his chest in the middle of the box and hooked up Benner for a right-footer along the turf.
“I think we are playing our best soccer,” said Tyrrell. “We started playing it two games into the regular season. We’re starting to feel more comfortable with each other, and we’ve been consistently improving throughout. We’ve been refining things.
“I think we’ve improved as a unit,” continued Tyrrell. “Going forward as a unit. We’ve gotten a lot better overall. Attacking together, defending together, staying cohesive.”
#2 CLASS AA: PALMYRA 4, VALLEY VIEW 0
Cougars' great start
Defending champ Palmyra crushes Valley View
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
BY MICHAEL BULLOCK
For The Patriot-News
Craig Tyrrell may have guided Palmyra's Cougars into state tournament play for the first time as a head coach, but he wasn't about to obsess over his club's opening-round opponent.
All Tyrrell was concerned about was having his team ready to play its game.
Getting goals from Chris Parks, Reed Kreider, Tommy Miller and Jeremy Benner -- all before the break -- Palmyra opened defense of its PIAA Class AA boys' soccer crown by easing past Valley View 4-0 Tuesday night at misty Hersheypark Stadium.
Brett Jankouskas added three assists for the Cougars (15-6-2), who will meet District 4-AA champ Midd-West (18-1-2) in Saturday's quarterfinals at a site and time to be determined.
Midd-West blanked Southern Lehigh 2-0.
And, based on what he said while standing amidst scattered raindrops, don't be surprised if Tyrrell chooses not to do a lot of research on Midd-West. He really didn't know Valley View (14-5-1) opted to sit back and defend in its last two outings.
Make that three.
"It's funny, because I didn't read anything about that," said Tyrrell, an assistant coach last season. "Actually, I didn't want to hear anything about how they played their last game, to tell you the truth. Our plan was to come out and play our game, in spite of what they did in their last game.
"We didn't really care about that."
What Palmyra cared about was working the ball quickly and trying to break down the compact Cougars, all of whom were plugged into a 15-yard rectangle. Once Parks polished off a Miller restart that skimmed off Jankouskas' gourd with a header of his own with 7:03 gone, Palmyra was rolling.
Kreider's rip from the right edge of the six and Miller's finish -- both near the midway point of the opening half -- made it 3-0. And when Benner cashed in with 1:02 to go, this game was over.
"We talked about that in practice and playing how we can play," Kreider said. "Doesn't matter how they play, we've just got to stick to the way we play and pass the ball around."
Plus, when other Cougars finish, that makes Jankouskas even more dangerous when the ball skips his way. And, moving forward, future foes may be reluctant to send everybody but the bus driver after the potent junior striker (31 goals, 7 assists).
"It shows other teams that we're more than just a one-player team and we have other people who can do the dirty work," Kreider said. "Get us goals when we need to."
"That's the good thing," Tyrrell added. "We have so many guys who can turn it on. That kind of frees [Jankouskas] up, because with all the attention, they have to worry about someone else."
Especially when the Cougars play their game.
MICHAEL BULLOCK: 255-8124 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PALMYRA RETURNS TO STATES
Cougars defending state soccer crown
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
BY MICHAEL BULLOCK
For The Patriot-News
Craig Tyrrell never wavered.
Standing on Hersheypark Stadium's vast floor Saturday night, not long after his Palmyra program needed overtime to edge Fleetwood 3-2 and lock up its first District 3-AA boys' soccer crown, the Cougars skipper was asked when he first thought everything might come together.
After all, a dozen seniors -- many of whom played considerable roles a season earlier when the Cougars collared the PIAA's Class AA title -- had moved on.
"From the start," said Tyrrell, an assistant a year ago. "We've been working since the season got over last year. Despite everybody saying, 'We lost a lot, we lost a lot,' we knew that our secret was what we had. Not what we lost, but what we had.
"And that was a new team, a good team, and they just had to put their stamp on it," Tyrrell added. "I knew they had the talent to do it."
At 5:30 p.m. today at Hersheypark Stadium, nearly 72 hours since putting an orange-and-black stamp on the 3-AA history books, Tyrrell's scrappy Cougars (14-6-2) will begin defense of their 2007 state championship against District 2-AA runner-up Valley View.
Don't be surprised if the District 2 Cougars keep plenty of numbers back defensively in an effort to stretch their season into Saturday's quarterfinals.
Bob Berg's club employed that tactic in the 2-AA final, but lost 1-0 to AbingtonHeights. Valley View also was outshot 38-0.
So patience will be critical.
It certainly was Saturday, when Tyrrell's club shrugged off a 2-1 deficit and felled top-seeded Fleetwood. Zack Lee's marker with 11:31 left in the second half pulled the Cougars even, increasing the drama that ultimately ended on a Brett Jankouskas finish 4:49 into OT.
A district championship. A return to states. Maybe additional state-wide glory awaits for a rebuilt Cougars side that goes about its business quietly, yet confidently.
"I expected to, and I'm pretty sure most of us expected to get back," Jankouskas said. "Actually, getting back is sort of a relief."
Champion Cougars Visit State Capitol
April 7, 2008
Rep. Mauree Gingrich honors PalmyraHigh School's 2007 Varsity boy's championship soccer team with a citation on the House floor. The team finished the season with a 24-4 record and captured the PIAA AA State Soccer Championship.