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Boys soccer clinches district playoff berth

The postseason has always been the goal for Whitehall’s boys’ soccer team this fall and the Zephyrs checked off that box this week.

Thanks to Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime win over Liberty, Whitehall (9-4) clinched a District 11 playoff berth en route to picking up their sixth straight win.

It’s a milestone in head coach Chris Malone’s first season with the team and one that he was hoping would come to fruition.

“For us we talked early in the season that we knew we had some very tough games in the first leg of our season,” Malone said. “Our staff knew and communicated to our guys that. We said if we wanted to meet our goals of leagues and districts we had to do very well in a 10 game stretch in the middle of our season. You never want to back yourself in a corner record wise at the end of the season and need to beat a top team in order to make the playoffs. We want to secure as good of seeding as possible in both tournaments.”

Whitehall wraps up this middle stretch of the season this week with a contest against Dieruff (0-12).

If they’re able to tame the Huskies, they will be 9-1 in this crucial stretch of the season.

Getting their district playoff goals out of the way is one thing, but keeping their slot in the EPC playoff race is another, as they came into the week slotted sixth in the league standings.

Holding that spot will be difficult heading into the final four games of the season, where they will play three of the leagues top teams in Nazareth (9-3), Parkland (12-0) and Northampton (11-1).

“Our last four games of the season we know we will be seeing some tough opponents,” he said. “At that time in the year right before the playoffs you really want to make sure your limiting your costly mistakes in your games even more so. Once the playoffs arrive, those mistakes can be the difference between ending your season or moving on. We are looking to make sure we have everything dialed in by then.”

Gio Mazzola leads the team with 10 goals and seven assists, while Miguel Roa has added seven goals and three assists.

Roa scored the game winner on Tuesday afternoon.

Goalkeeper Cole Guerney has recorded six shutouts as well.

For now, the focus is on each game at a time and that’s something Malone has stressed from day one.

“Every game is important and no team is giving away wins for free in the EPC,” said Malone. “You have to earn it. I’m looking for the boys to earn it this week.”