Brazilian soccer legend Pele is fond of calling the sport of soccer “The Beautiful Game.”
That provides an accurate description when looking for a way to describe both of the goals scored by Gettysburg in the Warriors’ 2-1 road victory over Bermudian Springs on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field in York Springs.
Trailing 1-0 late in the first half, the Warriors leveled the match on freshman David Langman’s absolute beauty of a goal, the first of his high school career.
Langman received a pass from Joao Powell out on the left flank and took a few horizontal dribbles into the center of the pitch. At that point, he halted his momentum on a dime and fired a rocket, across his body, into the left side of the net past the dive of Berm keeper Carter Stuart with 4:48 to go until the half.
“David is a talented kid who we had in our middle school program, so we knew who he was,” Gettysburg co-head coach Ian Hancock said. “He’s confident in himself, but not full of himself and he had success last year as an eighth grader. But that’s a lot different than having success as a freshman playing varsity soccer.”
Things went to intermission even and crept toward the midway point of the second half with still no change in the score.
That is, until Gettysburg senior Joey Wagner received a long ball from classmate Malachi Abma, gathered it in and snuck it past an advancing Stuart to the left side of the net as he charged off his line with 22:10 remaining in the match.
“That was a fantastic ball from Malachi,” Wagner said. “I saw their keeper was a little wide when he came at me and saw enough room to the left to go far post.”
Hancock added, “That was a great goal by Joey, but it doesn’t happen without the fabulous pass by Malachi. He deserves a lot of credit for that goal, too.”
Behind for the first time in the match, the Eagles went about trying to even things, though it took them a while to break through with a chance against the Gettysburg defense.
Reigning YAIAA-3 Player of the Year Kyle Kuykendall had a chance with 11:47 to play stopped by Gettysburg junior keeper Bryce Rudisill, who also stonewalled attempts by Owen Hickok with 9:05 to go and then Colton Kehr at the 3:42 mark to record the only three saves that he had in the match.
“We could’ve done more with our final pass in the last ten minutes of the match, but you never fault a kid for taking a shot,” Berm head coach Jim Zerfing said. “Defensively, I thought we played well. Probably our best defensive game of the year so far.”
Rudisill, a University of Pittsburgh baseball commit, is returning to soccer after a two-year hiatus from the sport to focus his attention on developing his skills on the diamond.
“Bryce is obviously a high-level athlete, who we had in our middle school program when he was in eighth grade. We’re happy to have him back” Hancock said. “He’s dealt with pressure situations in other sports, so he knows how to handle them.”
Bermudian (1-2) had taken a 1-0 lead at the 34:01 mark of the first half when Kuykendall scored off an assist from Jory Willow as Willow played him a through ball. Kuykendall was bumped by a Warrior defense, but managed to keep his balance and beat the diving attempt of Rudisill with a shot straight up the middle.
Much of the match was contested in the middle third of the pitch with the backlines of both sides doing a quality job of limiting good scoring opportunities.
“I didn’t think we were very good for the first 20 minutes or the last 15 minutes of the match,” Hancock said. “But we were pretty good in between.”
Gettysburg (2-0) held a 5-4 edge in shots on goal and 3-0 advantage in corners.
The Warriors, who captured five division titles in six years between 2010-15 and made the district playoffs nine straight times from 2010-18 are looking to bounce back after subpar campaigns in 2019 and 2020. They have 12 seniors on this year’s roster.
“The goal is to make the playoffs in both the league and districts,” Hancock said. “Obviously we’d like to win the division, too.”
Wagner added, “We’ve got all the stuff that we need to make a good run.”
Both sides return to action with division matches on the road on Tuesday as Gettysburg plays at New Oxford (3-0) at 7 p.m. and the Eagles travel to Littlestown (4-0) for a 6:30 start.
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Gettysburg 1 1 — 2
Bermudian Springs 1 0 — 1
Goals: G-David Langman, Joey Wagner; BS-Kyle Kuykendall. Assists: G-Joao Powell, Malachi Abma; BS-Jory Willow. Shots: G-5; BS-4. Corners: G-3; BS-0. Saves: G-Bryce Rudisill (3); BS-Carter Stuart (3)