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Unprecedented season ends for Deer Lakes with PIAA final OT loss to Fleetwood

All it took was one goal.

And it was going to be a matter of time between Deer Lakes and Fleetwood in the PIAA Boys Class 2A soccer final as both teams kept knocking on the door.

Finally, after playing through a scoreless regulation, 10 minutes into the first period of extra time, Aiden Negron of Fleetwood sealed the deal — finishing off a nice build up to redirect a ball past goalkeeper Jesse Greyshock to give the District 2 runner-up a 1-0 victory over Deer Lakes on Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.

“That’s how the game goes,” Deer Lakes coach Jordan Wiegand, Deer Lakes Head Coach, said. “It’s a fun game, and sometimes not, but that’s how it goes.”

It was by far the best season in the history of Deer Lakes boys program, as the Lancers came up one win short of lifting a State Championship trophy. Undefeated through the regular season, and only one loss against WPIAL opponents (a 1-0 defeat in the WPIAL semifinal to section rival Shady Side Academy) — then rebounded for an impressive run in the PIAA’s.

On Saturday, they couldn’t finish on numerous chances in and around the final third.

“It could have went either way,” Wiegand said. “They got the better of us, but at the end of the day, I’m still very proud of Deer Lakes. These boys really left it all on the line, and as a young group, that’s all you can ask for.”

The game winner came when a deflected ball came through to Negron in the box, whose shot eluded Deer Lakes senior goalkeeper Jesse Greyshock midway through the first 20-minute overtime period.

Make no mistake, Fleetwood did something that few opponent did versus Deer Lakes this season — control possession and make them chase the game.

Greyshock, one of just two senior starters for Deer Lakes was forced to make seven saves, including a few outstanding diving and quick reaction stops.

“Jesse’s an unbelievable keeper,” Wiegand said. “That kid has been a leader since last year, my first year back, and ever since then, he’s just been taking control of the team. (He’s) a good vocal leader, but just a great presence in the net.”

Despite being out-possessed, Deer Lakes has its chances too.

A dangerous team on set pieces all year — the Lancers had a few free kick and corner opportunities that came close.

“I really do think we did the best that we could,” Wiegand said. “Once again, it could have went in the back of the net for us a few times, could have went in the back of the net for them a few times early on.”

Deer Lakes finished the season with best record in school history (21-2-1), with a team that started only two seniors, and has a strong nucleus of players expected back for 2019.

Wiegand and a talented group of young players, which matured as the season and through the playoffs, will be more than capable of making another deep run next year — and will certainly want to capture an elusive WPIAL title too.

For now, they can cherish what was a pretty special season in 2018.

“At the end of the day, these guys showed they’re second in the state,” he said. “It’s hard now, but I’m sure looking back now that we finally get to reflect on our season, these boys will realize what an amazing feat they did.

“Now that these guys have been there, it’s hopefully an expectation and a benchmark that these guys, these great senior leaders, left this team with moving forward.”

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

PItt MF Michael Sullivan

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