For the sixth time this season, the Pleasant Valley soccer team lost a game by one goal.
One goal was all the Emmaus Green Hornets needed, as they knocked the Bears out of the District 11 playoffs, 1-0. Andrew Schaefer put back a rebound four minutes before halftime and that would be all she wrote. It is the fourth consecutive year the Bears have been bounced from the playoffs in their first game.
"This has been the story, especially in the second half of the year," said Pleasant Valley head coach Chris Pachuta. "We would win one game then lost the next and it would go back and forth. We couldn't finish (our opportunities). We got some good looks, we just couldn't finish them. Whether it is the keeper making great saves or just off the wrong part of our foot - we couldn't finish.
"But the kids came out and played their hearts out. And that's the first step. I told these seniors to keep their heads up. They are the foundation that we are building."
Although Emmaus led in shots in the first half (8-4), the play was rather even. Both teams had some decent looks, but none found the back of the net.
The game's first good look came from Emmaus with 8:50 left in the first when it hit the post on a 20-yard shot. Pleasant Valley's Emiliano Furtado would get his team's best chance three minutes later, but he was stoned on a point-blank shot by Hornets' goalie Brandon Wilt.
Then, with 3:53 to go before the break, Emmaus' Max Farnsworth took a shot from the left side of the Pleasant Valley goal. Bears' goalie Mike Cimino made the initial save, however Schaefer was waiting on the doorstep for the rebound and put it back for the goal.
Furtado then missed a perfect header with 1:20 to go that pretty much summed up the first half for the Bears. They had some good chances late in the half, but couldn't put any in the netting.
Emmaus then clamped down on defense in the second half, running a 1-5-4 for the majority of the game. The Bears managed to get off four shots, but none of them were great scoring opportunities.
"That happened a lot to us this year," confirmed Pachuta. "A lot of people feared our forwards, between Emiliano and Ricky (Forte). They were just dropping guys behind the ball. In soccer, it is one of those things when they are dropping so many guys back there isn't much you can do. It happens to the best players in the world."
Pachuta finishes his first year as Bears head coach with an 11-8-1 overall record. Though the Bears were knocked out of the playoffs early once again, Pachuta is very excited about the future of the program.
"The biggest thing I learned this season is that we are going to compete every day," Pachuta said. "Coming from Dieruff, most of the time I was stuck with who I had on the field. Maybe one or two subs. Here I have a lot of subs and everyone can play.
"We are a very close unit. Sometimes when you have all these kids that can play, there is some in-house fighting. This year we were real big on 'family.' That was our word of the year and that will always be our word. The kids bought into 100 percent and that is all I could ever ask for. They want what is best for the program more than what they want for themselves."