Oct. 25—While it took a while to get the offense going, Tulpehocken made its return to the district playoffs on Tuesday night and earned a victory.
The top-seeded and defending champion Trojans beat ninth-seeded New Covenant Christian 2-0 in a District 3 Class 1A boys soccer quarterfinal at New Schaefferstown.
“It was a real solid performance,” Tulpehocken coach Trevor Brown said. “We held the flow of play (and) dominated every facet of the game.”
The Trojans (19-2) took control early, but were unable to find the back of the net. With the first half winding down, Tulpehocken had three shots on goal and but remained tied with the Flames (12-5-2).
“It was frustrating at times,” sophomore Connor Hussman said. “We didn’t score early, so we just had to keep our heads and keep moving forward.”
The Trojans broke through with four minutes remaining in the half when senior Nico Paul-Chandia scored an unassisted goal off a rebound.
“It spoke volumes of our patience as a team because we did dominate possession,” Brown said. “They are very organized, play great defensive soccer and they kept it real close on us.”
Tulpehocken extended its lead to 2-0 early in the second half as Hussman scored from close range. Sophomore Graeson Reese had the assist.
“I just overlapped him and he just found me on a through ball,” Hussman said. “Easy finish.”
The goal was Hussman’s 22nd of the season, the most on the team and second in the Berks League behind Conrad Weiser’s Gavin Rapp, who has 28.
“He’s a special player,” Brown said about Hussman. “When it comes to big games, that’s when big players rise to that occasion and that’s exactly what he did tonight.”
The Trojans outshot New Covenant Christian 12-2. Goalkeeper Nick Becker made two saves to earn the clean sheet and guide Tulpehocken to its 12th shutout victory of the season.
“It’s playoff season, so every game is important,” Hussman said. “(It’s) a big win.”
The Trojans advance to the semifinals, where they will host No. 4 seed York Catholic on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Fighting Irish defeated fifth-seeded High Point 2-1 in a quarterfinal on Tuesday night.
“It was great experience for us going up against a very defensive-oriented team,” Brown said. “It was very, very good practice for us to get ready for the next opponent.”