Sayre edges Benton to earn semi-final berth
LOYALSOCK - All season long the Sayre boys' soccer team has been making history.
On Saturday they added another achievement to the list, and have hopes for even bigger things.
The Redskins defeated Benton 1-0 on Saturday to advance to the District 4, Class A semifinals for the first time.
Their opponent on Tuesday will be a familiar one as they go against NTL rival Wellsboro for a spot in the district final.
"It's pretty crazy," Seth Murrelle said. "We have one more game to win to make it to the district final and to qualify for states.
"No Sayre team has gone this far. I think in 2002 when they won the league (as co-champions), they lost in this round (the second round)."
Saturday's game was a tail of two halves as the Redskins used the wind to their advantage in the first half and were on the attack the entire time.
Sayre got the game's only goal when Murrelle scored at 21:20.
"The keeper came out and I faked a shot to get him on the ground and then touched it past him," Murrelle said of the goal.
In the first half the Redskins had their chances, but Benton's goalie was tough to get the ball past.
"He was a great keeper," Murrelle said. "He is a big kid and moves good. We had a lot of great shots and we couldn't finish them. We will work on that and improve for next game."
In the second half with the wind to their backs Benton was the aggressor and their best scoring chance came in the final 10 minutes when they launched a direct kick from 35-yards out that Giuseppe Scavone had to leap up to save.
"It was a tough one, I had a lot to think about and I had to adjust," Scavone said.
Along with the wind, the goalies had to deal with the sun shining in on some kicks and Scavone had to shield his eyes from the sun as Benton took the direct kick.
"I lost the ball here and there, but I could find it after a while," Scavone said of the sun on the day.
In the end Sayre's magical season continues as they will now advance to their first district semifinal.
"It was a lot of hard work and practice, but we knew this day could come, that we could get here," Murrelle said.
And, the fact that they get to face an NTL team that they played for the league title a couple weeks ago makes this even more special.
"It's amazing," Murrelle said. "Wellsboro is a great team, it's going to be a great game."
For the seniors each win means keeping their careers going one more game.
"We have got to play our hearts out," Scavone said. "It's senior year.
In the first half the Redskins had a number of scoring chances that they weren't able to convert, however, they did get an early goal for the second straight goal and they know how big that was.
"Getting the first goal is always important," Murrelle said. "It builds our confidence when we start like that."
Sayre led in shots 13-5 and corner kicks 6-0. Scavone had five saves in goal and Benton finished with 12 saves in the game.
The Redskins will play Wellsboro at a site and time to be determined on Tuesday.