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Coughlin reaches district semifinals

Mike Turner’s two goals power Crusaders to first postseason victory in three years.

PECKVILLE – When it comes to soccer, 40 seconds can seem like an eternity.

For Coughlin, that’s all the time it needed to erase what felt like forever since the team’s last postseason win.

On Thursday against defending District 2 Class 2A champion Valley View, the Crusaders got two goals from Mike Turner in a 40-second span in the second half en route to a 3-0 win in a quarterfinal matchup at Valley View Middle School. It was their first win in the district tournament since winning the 2004 championship.

The next match for the Crusaders (8-7) will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against the winner of today’s quarterfinal contest between top-seeded Dallas (10-4) and Lake-Lehman (10-3-2). Today’s game has been moved to Lake-Lehman High School and will be played at 3 p.m.

“We really wanted to come out this year and win because the last two years we lost in the first game,” said senior goalkeeper Ray Black, who is one of just three starting seniors remaining from the last district championship-winning team. “I told our players to concentrate and be positive and come out and play hard.”

The team appeared to feed off what coach Rob Havard called his team’s “best practice of the season” on Wednesday.

The Crusaders kept constant pressure on the Cougars (8-2-1) throughout the contest, outshooting the defending champs 19-6. The Cougars got five of those six shots in the second half, but Black made exceptional saves on those opportunities.

“The first half was a little scary, but the second half was a little better,” Havard said. “In the second half, our practice (on Wednesday) really paid off with the quick passing and communication.”

Turner’s first goal came at the 33:49 mark in the second half to give his team a 1-0 lead. The pass came from freshman Brian Suchoski. Forty seconds later, Turner took a cross pass from Ray Musto and headed it into the net for a 2-0 lead.

“Our offense played really well today,” Black added. “We have the best freshman in the league at forward in Brian Suchoski, in my opinion. When our young guys start going, our team gets going.”

Suchoski wasn’t done after that assist. He was determined to get a goal of his own. With 16:58 left in the match, he nearly got it but was denied by Cougar keeper Josh Roberts.

However, his shot did set up a goal for Ryan Susek. The sophomore picked up the rebound and, with Roberts on the ground in the right side of the net, Susek slipped but just got the ball past Roberts for a 3-0 lead.

The Crusaders didn’t face Lake-Lehman this season, and lost two times to Dallas by scores of 1-0. Dallas standout Kevin Pierce scored both goals.

“They are a well-coached team and are real solid with Pierce,” Havard said of the Mountaineers. “But it’s districts and we all know anything can happen.”

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