Successful goal highlights strong start to Deer Lakes men’s football


Tuesday, September 20, 2022 | 11:28 am

For a high school athlete who plays soccer and basketball, the first doorbell knocker typically comes in wood.

For Nate Litrun, however, his first was on the field.

Litrun scored in the final seconds of double overtime to lead the Deer Lakes to a 1-0 victory over Shady Side Academy on September 6.

It was his first varsity goal and helped the Lancers defeat one of their rivals on the road.

Litrun is a centre-back so his role is to help avoid goals, but with a corner he pushed forward with the rest of his teammates and, as he put it, was “in the right place at the right time”.

“Scoring my first goal against this team is pretty crazy,” Litrun said. “These extra points really help us. It’s a big building block, and we’re going to keep going up from there.”

Litrun credited his teammates for putting him in a scoring position.

Ruger Beer threw a short ball into the corner that set up a cross, which was punched in by goalkeeper Shady Side. The ball came to Litrun and he kicked it into the open net with less than five seconds left.

“I asked the guys the next day in practice because I don’t think they knew how much time was left on the clock,” said Deer Lakes coach Aaron Smith. “It was like 30 seconds and I actually grabbed my jacket and started getting ready to go, because I thought it was going to be a tie.”

It was the second time in two weeks that the Lancers had won a double overtime win. They fell behind Knoch early on before bouncing back to take a 4-3 win. As of 9/11, the Lancers were 6-1 overall and 4-0 in Section 2-2A.

“We keep working hard,” Smith said. “It’s good to come out on top, of course. We like to get those three points.”

The Lancers have an experienced core with Litrun, Beer, Ryan Hanes, Mason Metzler and Nick Braun, among others. They also had many different players who found the bottom of the net, including Beer, Collin Rodgers, Hanes, Payton Kushon, Ethan Alberta and Wesley Boyle.

They were part of the first men’s soccer team to win a WPIAL title in school history in 2020 and have the makings of a group that could make another deep run.

“They were battle-tested,” Smith said. “Two years ago when they first won the WPIAL championship and reached the state finals, they were sophomores and are now seniors. They can quickly make some adjustments mid-game. This experience benefits us. We try not to get too excited.

“It starts with Nick Braun, our goalkeeper. He’s been a calming force and works well at the back. Our defenders are calm as cucumbers. We try to lift the ball, advance the numbers and score some goals.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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