Candelario is obligated.
The senior scored his third goal of the game with 4:48 minutes remaining to seal a 5-2 victory over Lancaster Mennonite in the Zone 3 Division 2A boys’ soccer semi-final on Tuesday at Ray Boss Field.
“I would have liked to have had something like this during qualifying,” Candelario said.
Top seed (18-1-1) will face sixth-seeded Lancaster Catholic (14-2-2) – the 5-4 winner over Biggerville in Tuesday’s other semi-final – in Saturday’s championship game at Mountain View Middle in Cumberland Valley. School at 5 p.m
The Tigers will achieve their 14th title – already a record 13 – and their first since 2019.
Tuesday’s match against the fourth seed Blazers (13-4) was a good preparation. Despite the end result, Fleetwood was tested.
They responded. many times.
“Our guys are working,” Tiger coach Keith Schlegel said. “Our guys are really working and have always been like this. They are so passionate. Keep working. Keep fighting. You have to fight or you will stay home.”
Candelario gave Fleetwood a 1-0 9:10 lead in the game and the Tigers dominated possession throughout the first half.
When Candelario scored again just 2:08 in the second half to make it 2-0, it certainly didn’t look like the Tigers would be threatened. The Blazers didn’t even have a shot on target at that point.
But Mennonite responded to Candelario’s goal after just 45 seconds when David Lapp scored in a game out of a corner kick.
However, Fleetwood came back to make it 3-1 with a goal from Grant Hernandez after 24 seconds
This two-goal lead lasted just over eight minutes as David Shell secured the freedom behind the defense and won on his own to make it 3-2 with 28:04 remaining.
“These are the difficulties that you have to face during the qualifiers because it is very difficult when everyone is fighting for the last game,” Candelario said. “They came back strong and you have to respect a team like this. So all the props to them. But, you know, we kept fighting.”
The Tigers managed to find a foothold and eventually set the stage for Candelario’s third goal.
Davin Melisuk, who got his second assist of the night, dribbled into the goal and shot. Candelario, who has scored six goals this season, bounced with his left foot to defeat the goalkeeper.
“Nice ball,” Candelario said.
“Josh is working his butt,” Schlegel said. “Because he’s working so hard, it’s like he just got those goals because of his work rate. So his confidence is up and we need that. It’s a good time to be high on confidence.”
William Murrick scored the Tigers’ final goal with 48.7 seconds left.
Now, the Tigers will focus on winning the championship. Their 2-1 loss to Ole Vale in the Berks quarter-finals is still painful, but it’s also still the catalyst.
“We got really upset about it, but it was a wake-up call for us and we took it very seriously,” Candelario said. “And we’re here now.”
“We got over it,” Schlegel said. “We learned our lesson. So hopefully we can grab the title on Saturday.”