LA PLUME TWP. — Abington Heights struggled to generate much offensive production in the first half.
After some adjustments during the break, the Comets started to click as a unit and attack the net. They broke through for a late goal, but it wasn’t enough as No. 3 seed Dallas used a strong start to defeat No. 2 seed Abington Heights in a District 2 Class 3A boys soccer semifinal game Monday afternoon at Keystone College.
Dallas struck first when Zach Holthaus scored off a cross from Alex Solano in the 14th minute.
“I was waiting for the ball on the top of the 18-yard box and there was no one on me,” Holthaus said. “I decided to turn and shoot, and was just trying to get it on goal.”
The Mountaineers took a 2-0 lead when Ricky Wooditch scored on a penalty kick in the 32nd minute after an Abington Heights defender was whistled for a handball inside the box. Comets goalkeeper Jackson Danzig got a piece of the shot, but it deflected into the top of the net.
Dallas held Abington Heights without a shot on goal in the first half.
“We realized at halftime that we really haven’t had a good chance on goal,” Abington Heights head coach Frank Dyska said. “Obviously being down, we had to find a way to generate something going forward. We made some changes and I thought the guys really picked it up.”
Luke Abdalla registered Abington Heights’ first shot on goal in the 65th minute, but Mountaineers goalkeeper Kyle Greenwood made the stop.
Abington Heights had another quality scoring opportunity in the 67th minute when a rolling shot from Antonio Maletta slid past the goal.
“I thought we were a different team in the second half,” Dyska said. “We really gave ourselves a chance to get back in the game. We created some opportunities; unfortunately, we just couldn’t capitalize but I thought we responded well.”
Abington Heights broke through for a goal in the 79th minute when Evan Florey scored off an assist from Harry Johnson.
Greenwood punched out a shot attempt on a free kick from Jimmy Lefchak into the middle of the box and the Comets took advantage.
“(Harry) headed it to me and I turned around and finished with my left foot off the crossbar,” Florey said. “It hit the back of a player and went in.
“We had the wind coming at us in the first half and we thought that we’d bounce back in the second. We were pressuring them the whole second half, we just didn’t get the goals we needed until the end and we couldn’t get the outcome we wanted.”
Danzig made five saves, including a diving stop on a shot from Dallas’ Nate Maransky in the 63rd minute to keep the Comets’ deficit at two.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.