HYDE — Just two days after getting the District 9 Class AAA championship in a shootout over Bradford, the DuBois boys soccer team still needed one more win in a subregional against Somerset to get into next week’s PIAA Tournament.
The Beavers’ Alex Gribik put his team up a goal in the second minute of the game, and that’s all DuBois needed as they blanked Somerset, 1-0, on Wednesday evening at Clearfield High School.
The Beavers will be making their first appearance in the state tournament since 1993 when play opens on Tuesday.
“We were nervous coming in. Somerset has an awesome team,” said DuBois coach Matt Ericsson. “They’ve had a great season, so we knew coming in it wasn’t going to be easy for us. Our team showed up with a ton of heart.”
Somerset (15-3), a District 5 school, had just two losses in the regular season against District 6 opponents Altoona (2-1) and Bishop McCort (1-0). DuBois was swept by Altoona in the regular season.
Gribik got the lone goal of the game at 1:18 off an assist from Jack Mohney, who was starting on the front line for the first time this season.
Mohney got the ball to Gribik on the right side without any Eagle defenders around. The Somerset keeper came out of the goal to play the ball, but Gribik booted the ball past before the goalie could make a play on the ball as the ball found the back of the net.
“We got that first one in real quick on them, and I honestly think we got one in before they were really prepared for what we were going to be doing,” said Erickson.
“From there, we just kept pushing and pushing. Our defense stayed strong. Shadi (Hassan) was great back in the net again. Joe Sawey played phenomenal tonight on defense and he’s only been back for a week and a half.”
The Beavers kept the pressure on Somerset for much of the first half and also nearly picked up a couple more goals. In the 13th minute, a Somerset defender had to boot the ball away up the field as a couple Beavers on the front line had an open look at the goal.
Later in the half, Nico McDonald also rocketed a ball at Somerset keeper Kurt Pucci. Pucci had to make a diving save to keep the game at 1-0.
DuBois led the shot count, 8-2, at halftime.
Although the Eagles only recorded two more shots after halftime, they still controlled the possession more in the second half.
Somerset’s John Dick came closest to putting his team on the board as he blistered a shot at Hassan just four minutes after halftime. Hassan made the catch on the ball without any incident.
“I think our guys were a little panicked in the second half,” said Erickson. “They saw that 1-0 lead and they got nervous about losing it. We just have to get that mentality that it’s still our game in the second half whether we’re up, down or tied. We just have to play our game consistent the whole way through.”
The Eagles never really threatened at a late goal as they got both of their second half shots early in the half.
Mohney was also very close to putting the game out of reach in the 67th minute as Pucci stopped a header that was heading toward the goal.
DuBois led the final shot count, 12-4.
The Beavers will play the second place team out of District 7 on Tuesday in the first round of the PIAA Tournament. West Allegheny and Montour will play on Saturday for the WPIAL Championship.
“The WPIAL is a really tough league,” said Erickson. “They’ve got a lot of big schools and big teams there. They have a lot of stuff year round. We get a few kids to go play outside the area, but it’s tough to compete with that sometimes. If we play with the same kind of heart we did today, anything is possible. I can see us squeaking through and getting a win or two out of it.”
The game time and location is yet to be determined for Tuesday.