Twelve minutes into the tilt between the top two boys’ soccer teams in the Mid-Penn Capital Division, Camp Hill found itself in an unfamiliar situation.
East Pennsboro was the aggressive side, applying pressure in the early going. The Panthers’ hard work paid off when AJ Knipe beat Lions’ keeper London Harper to a through ball. The senior forward poked it into the back of the net to give East Pennsboro the 1-0 lead.
Before Monday night, Camp Hill hadn’t allowed a goal in conference play since September 13 and overall had reeled off seven straight shutouts. Playing from behind was something the Lions had done very little of this season.
It was a test Camp Hill (12-2, 10-1 Capital) needed as it looks to make a long run in the upcoming postseason. The Lions passed with flying colors, tallying three unanswered goals in a seven-minute span of the second half on their way to a 3-1 victory at George R. Saxon Memorial Field.
“It shows us a reality that is very common,” Camp Hill’s Cole Nelson said. “I think we worked well to get through that. But we’re definitely going to see it again, so I’m glad we worked through it now.”
In the 48th minute, Nelson found the ball on his left foot fifteen yards out before turning and firing a shot on goal that bounced through the five-hole of Panthers’ keeper Jacob Moore to even the score.
People are also reading…
“That one goal is what I think got us back into the game and got us moving again,” Nelson said.
At 52:04, Camp Hill went ahead, as senior Marko Balić maintained possession from the corner dribbling before centering a pass to freshman Ty Kirchhoff, who finished the score. Less than three minutes later, Nelson added his second of the game to finalize the scoring.
“In the first half, East Penn had us locked up,” Camp Hill head coach Justin Sheaffer said. “It’s a testament to these guys. The second half, they figured out the attack, they figured out how to break them down, and we created a number of chances.”
The Panthers have been dealing with numerous injuries that coincide with their four-game losing skid. And for one half, they battled and took it to their neighbors before running out of gas.
“We’re like the walking wounded right now,” East Pennsboro coach Adam Bruner said. “It was those guys just finding the energy to come out and go. The shame of it is that it’s a glimpse of what we are when we’re healthy. We just ran out of legs.”
Moore did his best in between the pipes gathering nine saves, but Camp Hill was relentless in outshooting East Pennsboro (7-5-1, 6-3-1 Capital) 13-2 in the second half.
Harper pocketed four saves in the victory for the Lions.
The Lions host Milton Hershey and Middletown the next two days, while the Panthers return to action at home against Bishop McDevitt on Wednesday.