By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
HAMBURG -- With the PA announcer counting down the final 10 seconds, Pequea Valley senior Victor Weaver had a breakaway and one last opportunity to prevent the game from going into double overtime.
Weaver dribbled down to just in front of the 18-yard line and, as Danville goalie Jon Hauck came charging at him, Weaver hit a perfect shot, tapping it up and over Hauck and into the back of the net.
Weaver simply dropped to his knees on the 18 as a teammate hugged him.
There was no screaming or elaborate celebration. His body language said it all: "Finally!"
After almost 95 full minutes of physical soccer with numerous chances to score, Saturday's PIAA Class AA quarterfinal game was finally over.
Weaver's goal with five seconds left in overtime was all the defending state champions needed for a 1-0 win over Danville at Hamburg High School.
"His soccer IQ's excellent. He understands the situation and he does really good things and it's what sets him apart (from other players)," Pequea Valley coach Robbie Martin said of Weaver.
The win was Pequea Valley's sixth consecutive postseason shutout.
Hauck played spectacular all game for Danville (16-6), repeatedly making great saves and, along with the solid back line of the Ironmen, kept them in the game against a Pequea Valley team that wasn't afraid to fire away.
Late in the first half, Pequea Valley's Micah Waltman had a great scissor kick behind him to the top-right corner of the goal. Had it not been for Hauck's athleticism, it would have easily been a goal.
Hauck later stopped a shot by Weaver in the second half by getting his body in front of the shot to deflect it out before the Danville defense kicked it out of harm's way.
"He came up with some great saves as always (and) the defense played great," Danville coach Brian Dressler said.
"They were terrific. They defended really well and kudos to them, they made some adjustments at halftime which really made a difference in the game," Martin added. "Their back four were excellent. They didn't make very many mistakes and they made life difficult (for us)."
Pequea Valley kept Danville's defense busy the entire game. The District 3 champion Braves (20-4-1) recorded 23 shots on the night to the Ironmen's one -- 22 of which came in regulation.
"They had chances but they weren't clear-cut chances. There was always a guy right on them. There was pressure in their face," Dressler said. "They didn't have that open shot or easy shot. There was always a defender right there to put pressure on them. So we didn't give them anything. That kid (Weaver), that was a beautiful finish there at the end. You can't take anything away from that. That was just a great finish."
The Danville defense also yielded just four total shots from inside the goal box, three from Weaver.
About halfway through overtime, it looked as if Danville finally got the lucky break it needed. Jake Hartzel took a through-ball down between the boxes before getting tangled with the goalie. Pequea Valley goalie Owen Geedy couldn't hold onto the ball and Hartzel maintained possession just past him.
Hartzel wasted little time as he tried a shot to the far post. The Danville fans in attendance took a collective gasp as it looked like it may have been the game-winner, but watched it go just wide of the net.
"Jake right there, bounced off the goalie (and has) wide open goal (but) just misses it," Dressler said. "These situations, you get one or two chances. You don't take them, you go home."
Unfortunately for the Ironmen, Hartzel's near-goal was the only shot they took as the Braves defense didn't yield many easy looks.
The Ironmen were without talented junior Shayne Riley for the second half, who sat out with a minor injury. Riley led the area this season with 19 assists and was a huge cog in Danville's offense.
Regardless of the outcome, it's a season of many accomplishments for the Ironmen, including their first District 4 title since 2003 and the program's first-ever state playoff game win last week.
"We're ecstatic with what we did this year. Especially going into season, a lot of people in area didn't give us much credit," Dressler said. "(They) didn't really think we had much of a team. They thought we'd be way down this year. As the year went on, we just got stronger and stronger and carried that through the playoffs to this point."