Courtesy of Elizabethtown Athletic Communications
ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. -- Junior defender Will Connolly doesn't normally find himself engaged in Elizabethtown's offensive tactics. Prior to Wednesday night, he'd only taken seven shots in 40 career games --all this season.
With the Blue Jays' season on the line, Connolly stunned Moravian by charging into the 18-yard box and deftly finishing off a give-and-go with JD Haaf in the 69th minute for the eventual game-winning goal in a 2-1 Landmark semifinal victory at Ira R. Herr Field.
Elizabethtown, conference runners-up in each of the last three seasons, will get its shot at another title on Herr Field Saturday evening at 6 against second-seeded Catholic, which defeated Drew, 2-1, in Wednesday's other semifinal.
The opportunity to a fourth straight conference championship game didn't come easy for the top-seeded Jays (9-4-4).
Just 38 seconds in, David Durski was left unmarked at the top of the six and headed an Alec Aloia corner into the lower left corner to give the upstart Greyhounds (7-9-2) an immediate advantage.
Moravian was making its first Landmark Championship tournament appearance after joining the league as a charter member in 2007. The Hounds certainly didn't look timid.
Though the Blue Jays started to find their legs as the game went on, Moravian generated 13 total shots, including six on goal. E-town keeper Brian Gately turned aside two shots in the first half and another three in the second to limit Moravian's offensive damage.
Leading scorer Gilbert Waso finally evened the game for the Blue and Gray in the 33rd minute when he found an Eli Perry cross loose in the middle of the six and punched it in for his seventh goal of the fall.
Moravian keeper Michael Bone did what he could to keep his team alive. He made stops on Waso --twice-- and Danny Sullivan in the first half, and denied Tyler Colasanto on a header from in close less than a minute into the second half.
Bone could only dive in vain after his defense got caught flatfooted, allowing Haaf and Connolly to work smoothly just inside the top right corner of the 18 for the game-winning goal. Connolly took a touch-pass from Haaf, and pumped a shot from about 15 yards out past the outstretched arms of Bone for his first career goal.
Gately preserved the lead by holding onto a dangerous header from Durski in the 87th minute. The Hounds would get a free kick in the final minute, but nothing came of it.
Elizabethtown owned a 21-13 shot advantage and a 9-5 edge in corners. It was another physically demanding game between the two sides, featuring 34 fouls and six cards. The regular season matchup in Bethlehem two weeks early had 36 fouls and six bookings.
Waso recorded the 250th shot of his career during the first half and finished with a game-high nine (three on goal). Haaf added four for the Jays, while Ethan Blakely took a team-high six for Moravian.
Bone stopped seven shots for the Hounds. Gately made five saves for E-town, which kept its season-long 12-game unbeaten streak (9-0-3) intact.