By Scott Halasz
MONROE — Call it a sixth sense. Or perhaps an ability to see the future.
But whatever it is that Brandon Harroff has proved to be invaluable for the Beavercreek High School boys soccer team Wednesday night at Monroe High School.
The senior goalkeeper knew which way Mason’s Jack Hancock was going with a penalty kick and slid to stop it, helping Beavercreek knock off the undefeated Mason Comets, 1-0, in a regional semifinal game that went through regulation and two overtime periods before PKs decided it. ‘Creek won the shootout 4-1.
“I’ve got things I look for,” the senior said. “Stuff the player comes up and does. I read it right. I was just trying to keep my mind clear of the student section.”
The Comets (15-1-3) did manage to score on their third PK attempt, but the Beavers’ Daniel Donohue went low and left for the winning goal, advancing Beavercreek to Saturday’s 12 p.m. regional final against Springboro, a team the Beavers tied, 3-3, Sept. 29. The Panthers beat Cincinnati Anderson in PKs in another regional semifinal. The location will be announced today.
Nicholas Togliatti, Joe Jennings and Joshua Fleck made the first three penalty kicks for Beavercreek ( 18-1-1) without much trouble.
But before that both teams had trouble scoring. It’s to be expected with two defensive-strong teams. Mason allowed four goals all season, while Beavercreek surrendered 10. Beavercreek had a 9-7 shot advantage in regulation and each team added a pair in the two 15-minute sudden victory OT sessions.
“Their keeper made at least three great saves,” Beavercreek Coach John Guiliano said.
One came about 10 minutes into the game when Noah Pfaffenbichler took a hart and low shot inside the box that was remarkably saved by Mason’s Danny Mackzum. Another great chance came from Pfaffenbichler with 7:28 left in the first on a point-blank shot that Mackzum again saved.
The Beavers didn’t allow Mason such crisp scoring chances, dominating the possession game for the final 60 minutes of regulation and into the OT periods.
“These kids have come together,” Guiliano said. “You play for each other. That makes the difference.”
Defensively, Preston Casey and Blaine Fourman helped keep the Comets out of the net.
“It’s just about communication, following our marks,” Harroff said.
And predicting the future.