Wesley Stuns Spartans; Wolverines Advance to Final

YORK, PA – In a stunning turn of events, the top-seeded York College men’s soccer team failed to advance to the Capital Athletic Conference championship match losing out on the opportunity to Wesley College, who move on courtesy of a 0-0 draw and a 3-0 result in the ensuing penalty kick shootout. The #2 Spartans, who were 5-0 victors over the Wolverines back on October 22, receive their first blemish of the season and drop to 18-0-1. Wesley moves to 11-6-3 for the season.
     The Spartans were on the attack throughout the entire match as their guests seemed content to play mainly a defensive game. York created several good chances in the first frame with perhaps the best coming in the 20th-minute after a Jon Ports (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) corner kick. The junior All-American swung in a service from the left side of the pitch, into the 18-yard box where junior defender Scott Becker (Hockessin, Del./Salesianum) was eventually able to snap a header that seemed destined for pay dirt. Unfortunately for the home squad, Wesley’s Nico Scarpato alertly cleared the ball off the goal line with a header of his own to keep the game scoreless.
     York would get several more chances during the opening period but were unable to capitalize. Both teams would post zeros on the scoreboard for the first half with the Spartans controlling play and leading 8-1 in shots.
     The second half belonged to Wesley goalkeeper Nick Talarico. Throughout the latter 45 minutes the Spartan offense was all over the Wolverine goal but was consistently turned away by the brilliant, acrobatic play of Talarico. The most telling play of the match came in the 74th-minute. The Spartans’ Justin Suchoski (Langhorne, Pa./Neshaminy) ripped an absolute rope of a shot from 30 yards outside Wesley’s goal. Talarico tracked Suchoski’s shot, which was headed for the upper right netting, leapt and punched the ball over the crossbar for a simply amazing save.
     Despite the constant pressure from the York side, which recorded 23 shots in the second half, the scoreboard still read 0-0 and play spilled into overtime.
     York continued their intense pressure throughout the 20 minutes of overtime but was never able to get a quality chance on Talarico.
     With all 110 minutes behind them, the squads went to a penalty-kick shootout. It was simply Talarico’s day as he turned away all three Spartan attempts while his teammates capitalized on all three of theirs to move on to the CAC final.
     For the match, the Spartan held an incredible 40-3 bulge in shots, including 17-1 on goal, and a 12-1 margin in corner kicks.
     Senior goalkeeper Kyle Marks (Yardley, Pa./Pennsbury) played well for the Spartans notching one save in his 110 minutes of work. Ryan Hock (Brookeville, Md./Sherwood) replaced Marks for the shootout, but Wesley did well to keep their attempts away from the sizable junior. Talarico’s marvelous play throughout the 110 minutes resulted in 16 saves including several brilliant stops.
     Wesley now moves on to the CAC championship game against Salisbury on Saturday. The Spartans will now have to wait for a possible at-large berth into the NCAA tournament. Once it becomes available, more information will be posted on www.ycpspartans.com.


Jon Ports photo courtesy of Scott Guise