Sometimes, playoff jitters can be a good thing.
Selinsgrove found itself staring down a three-goal deficit just 56 seconds into the game in the District 4 semifinals on Wednesday night at Midd-West High School.
Lewisburg was winning the draw controls and ground balls, and the Green Dragons scored on their first eight shots.
By halftime, they increased their lead to 8-3 thanks to a stingy defense and the ability to hold Selinsgrove off the scoreboard while being two girls down late in the first half and early into the second half.
But in the game of lacrosse, no lead is too big.
Ellen Penn scored her second goal of the game at the 20:10 mark of the second half to make it 9-3 Lewisburg.
It would be the last goal Lewisburg would score.
Selinsgrove would score seven, second-half goals to pull off the come-from-behind victory, 10-9, to advance to Tuesday’s title game against unbeaten Danville — which won earlier in the night against Mifflinburg.
Alli Kahn tied the game at 9 with just over four minutes left on a backhand shot and then scored the game-winning goal with 2:37 left in regulation when she fired a shot that went just inside the near post on a free-space shot.
She had four goals in the game.
“This is the second time in Selinsgrove lacrosse history that we beat Lewisburg and both games were one-goal games where we scored in the last few minutes” Kahn said. “I do like the back-hand shot as I feel it’s my most accurate shot.”
Selinsgrove coach Ray Moyer realized that the defense he was using early on wasn’t working and — following a timeout — they returned to their base matchup.
“The last time we played Lewisburg, we were in a similar situation and we were down four or five goals with six minutes to go and we beat them,” he said. “It’s a credit to how hard all of the girls are working.”
Goalie Brooke McEvoy stepped up her play in the second half; at one point, she denied Hannah Gotoff seconds after the Seals had tied the game.
“I knew that I had to pick it up in the second half,” McEvoy said. “I knew the pressure was on me because Hannah Gotoff was going to come in and fire bullets because she’s a great player and it took a lot of mental power to stop her.”
Lewisburg, which was going low with its shots in the first half, went to shooting high into the second half, which led to shots going right into McEvoy’s stick.
“They look where they are going to shoot and I saw that she (Gotoff) was looking up this time and I figured she was going there and I lifted my stick up,” McEvoy said.
The back-to-back kills for the two-minute penalties late in the first half seemed to help Lewisburg keep its momentum early in the second half.
It was three minutes after the Green Dragons went up 9-3 that Selinsgrove started its comeback when Megan Keeney scored an unassisted goal.
Sara Moyer’s goal cut the lead to 9-5 four minutes later; following a Lewisburg timeout, Kahn score again to make it 9-6 with 11:55 left in regulation.
Nearly 10 minutes went by before Kahn’s shot to just inside the far post made it 9-7. Her sister Megan scored on a bounce shot to make it 9-8 on a free-space shot before Alli Kahn’s backhand tied the game at 9.
“We’re a second-half team and every game usually ends with us coming back in the second half,” Alli Kahn said.
Amaka Eze, Alexa Connors and Penn had two goals each for Lewisburg.
“I’m not sure what happened in the second half, our girls were playing hard all game,” Lewisburg coach Janelle Groff said. “This is a young team and (goalie) Bailee Dyroff did an awesome job for us in the goal. ... It’s heartbreaking to end the season this way, but I think it’s a positive for our team ... to have this experience.”
Sometimes, playoff jitters can be a good thing.
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