KINGSTON — Both teams had several quality scoring chances in the first half, but Wyoming Valley West was the only team to convert them into goals.
The second-seeded Spartans scored all three of their goals in the first 40 minutes and held on to defeat third-seeded Abington Heights, 3-1, in the semifinals of the District 2 Class 3A boys soccer playoffs at Spartan Stadium on Tuesday evening.
“It was an outstanding win for us,” Wyoming Valley West head coach Charlie Whited said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever beaten Abington Heights in my career here and it gets us to the game where we want to be.”
Abington Heights’ Brad Sopinski took a feed from Jonathan Rickwood in the fourth minute, but his shot was handled easily by Valley West goalkeeper Davis Weaver.
The Comets had five other shots on goal in the first half, but were unable to find the back of the net.
The Spartans struck in the sixth minute when Mike Bazadona took a pass from Jackson Williams and scored on a strike from 25 yards out.
“That goal got us going, but I think everybody out there was working their butts off,” Bazadona said. “All 11 guys brought us the victory.”
Wyoming Valley West (14-2) took a two-goal lead when Mike Tandoh finished off a pass from Williams in the 34th minute by slipping the ball past Abington Heights goalkeeper Jackson Danzig after the Comets turned the ball over in their own end.
Edo Lanzini added another Valley West goal in the 38th minute off a pass from Charlie Keefer.
“Only having a two-goal lead is tough,” Whited said. “Getting a third goal was huge. They got one late but we were able to hold them off when they really put on a fury in the second half.”
Abington Heights (11-4) pulled to within two goals in the 46th minute when Sopinski played the ball along the goal line and rolled a shot past Weaver.
“They scored in the first three minutes and it put us behind the eight ball,” Abington Heights head coach Steve Klingman said. “We made a couple mistakes, but the play was back and forth in the first half. I thought our kids came back and played a nice second half. They worked hard and didn’t give up. You just can’t put yourself three goals in the hole at this level.”
Abington Heights nearly cut the lead to one in the 60th minute, but Weaver stopped a point-blank shot from Rickwood and Spencer Atkins’ rebound attempt.
“If that goal goes in, the other team gets a lot of energy and can possibly come back with another one,” Weaver said. “I just watched the ball come off his foot and the rest was just training I’ve picked up over the years.”
Whited was pleased with the play of his entire defense from start to finish.
“I thought we did a great job of shutting them down,” he said. “Hunter (Maxwell) made several plays in the back. He and Jake Gurtis came up huge, but I think the key was putting Donnie Reynolds on (Colin) Klingman. I thought he shut him down for the game.”
Wyoming Valley West will play Williamsport in the district title game at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 at Lake-Lehman High School.
District 2 Class 3A semifinal
Wyoming Valley West 3, Abington Heights 1
Wyoming Valley West`3`0`—`3
First half — 1. WVW, Mike Bazadona (Jackson Williams) 34:08; 2. WVW, Mike Tandoh (Williams) 6:58; 3. WVW, Edo Lanzini (Charlie Keefer) 2:16. Second half — 4. Brad Sopinski (Evan Phillips) 34:00.
Shots — AH 11; WVW 12. Saves — AH 5 (Jackson Danzig); WVW 7 (Davis Weaver). Corner kicks — AH 4; WVW 2.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.