October 18, 2019
By: Erica Rose
The Moravian Academy boys soccer team entered the Colonial League tournament as the #1 seed, but that didn’t mean they had an easy road to the championship. The 17-1 Lions first had to go through the 4-time defending league champs in Northwestern Lehigh in the semis. Then, they had to take on a very resilient Southern Lehigh team in the championship. The Spartans entered as the #2 seed, and lost to the Lions 3-2 in the regular season. So we all know they wanted revenge, and they nearly got it Thursday night.
The conditions weren’t the best as the wind gusts played a role in the first half, but in the end, it was the defense that was the difference. Goalkeeper Ethan Buck made a few diving saves to keep his Lions in this one. Southern Lehigh controlled the majority of the game, especially in the second half, but as they say, defense wins championships. The Spartans were the first to strike, however, five and a half minutes in to the contest on a header by John Kerr. Archie Debbage was able to tie things up just over 12 minutes later and that would be your score after 40 minutes.
Southern Lehigh would have more opportunities than Moravian in the second half, but it was the Lions who found themselves leading in the second. Austin Recinos hit a beauty for the Lions from the right side that started as a cross, but was helped out by the wind and bounced off the goal post and in. As time wound down, it appeared the Lions would win this one in regulation, however the Spartans had other plans. Kyle Hoff wasn't going to go away quietly and with three minutes remaining, the senior beat out everyone in front of him for an open goal to send this game into OT.
In overtime, it only took 7 minutes and 40 seconds for the Lions to win the championship. It started with Recinos' shot, which hit off the post and bounced right to the feet of Julius Ewungkem who squeezed one through. Moravian Academy was taking home the gold for the first time since 2014 in the Colonial Leageue. The win was hard to put into words for the guys. But what they do know is this was one of their goals coming in.
The Lions will now look to continue their winning ways into Districts. The team has won the District title every year since 2013-2014 in both AA and A. And, the last time the Lions won the Colonial League was the last time they won a state championship.