HERSHEY, Pa. -- For the entire first half of the 2012 season, Mountain View High School goalkeeper Bobby Pfhal wasn't tough.
Who said so? He did. So did his coach. And so did Mountain View's best player, forward Colby Thomas.
But Friday night, with Mountain View clinging to a one-goal lead in the PIAA Class A boys soccer championship, Pfhal was as tough as it gets.
With a little more than 10 minutes left in the game, Sewickley Academy, frustrated by Mountain View's defensive strategy of sitting back in the zone then clearing it long, finally had what looked like a game-changing shot.
The Panthers' Jake Mulholland pulled in a ball from 25 yards out, saw a shooting lane that Mountain View failed to close (for once) and let fly a rocket that headed perfectly toward the upper right corner of the net.
But Pfhal, who said he got a late start on the kick scrambled to his left, leaped and managed to get his left hand on the ball before wrapping it with his right.
"That shot, and Bobby got it five fingers over?" Mountain View coach Roger Thomas said. "That was the game."
"If that keep doesn't make that save, it's a goal," Sewickley Academy coach James said Boone. "And who knows what happens after that."
"I saw the shot start to lift, and I got there a little late," Pfahl said. "I just did what I had to do to get that ball."
There's no doubt that Pfahl's save was the seminal moment of the game, a 1-0 victory that gave this Susquehanna County school, in Kingsley just 20 miles from the New York border, its first PIAA team championship.
In fact, Mountain View's only other PIAA title of any kind was a Class B high jump title by Duane Ely ... in 1960.
But the Eagles soccer team was clearly made of state championship timber. Thomas is a dazzling talent who made some superb moves attacking the Sewickley goal.
He was thwarted a couple of times by Sewickley goalie Hayden Moyer, but made his mark when he made a perfect short cross to teammate Austin Mack, who was charging down the right side.
Thomas' cross pulled Moyer out enough to give Mack an easy tap for the game's lone goal at the 51:09 mark.
Sewickley had limited chances throughout the game.hssoccer