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Heroic effort by BEA boys falls just short as they fall to Hilltoppers in D6 Championship

By Kenny Varner

ALTOONA – After knocking off number one seed Cambria Heights and number four seeded Cambria both in overtime, the underdog Bald Eagle boys soccer team had to battle the three seeded Westmont Hilltop for the District 6 Class AA championship.

The Eagles showed that they belonged in the title game as they frustrated the Hilltoppers in the first half.

However, two pinpoint blasts by Conner Oechslin proved to spoil the Eagles run, dropping the contest 2-0.

“Westmont came out and attacked really really hard. We were able to hold fast for the first 40 minutes but they just overpowered us,” said Bald Eagle coach Jason Bair. “Our guys were playing with everything they had as much heart and hustle. All and all our goal was not to stop and push as hard as we could.”

Bald Eagle goalie Seth Koch finished with nine saves and some plays that helped keep his team in the contest as well as his back line consisting of Matt Knepp, Jacob Saladna, Joe Lange and Calvin Dechow.

With the game stalemated at zero coming into the second, Westmont wasted little time getting on the board as Oechslin blasted a long shot from beyond the 20 and hit the upper right hand corner where Koch could not reach at 39:07.

Bald Eagle settled back in and tried keep the Hilltoppers from adding anymore goals.

Despite their best efforts, Westmont upped the score by two when Oechslin slid a shot to the corner of the goal past the diving effort of the Eagles’ goalie.

For the first half, the Eagles’ defense showed what it was made of.

Right after the opening possession, the Hilltoppers went right to work pushing the ball down into the Eagles’ side of the field.

Bald Eagles offense had a few runs during the early part of the half but the Hilltoppers had a collapsing defense of its own.

Both teams battled back and forth for the whole half.

As the clock rolled down into the final five minutes, the Eagles started to push the ball down into the Westmont back-third.

Going into the playoffs, the Eagles had just two wins in an injury riddled season but got all its starters back just in time for the playoffs. Then the turnaround began and they topped both Central Cambria and Cambria to earn its place in the championship.

Not a bad finish for a team that faced so much adversity.

Westmont Hilltop 2, Bald Eagle Area  0

BEA  0 0 – 0

WH   0 2 – 2

Scoring

Second half

WH – Conner Oechslin unassisted, 39:07.

WH – Oechslin unassisted, 26:05.

Shots on goal – WH 13, BEA 5.

Corners – WH 6, BEA 1

Saves – Will Gerow (Westmont) 3, Seth Koch 9.

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