By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT--As Bronson Ferster was getting ready to attempt to convert a corner kick about midway through the first half, Lewisburg coach Skip Kratzer looked around and realized that all of his tall players were standing next to him on the bench.
The first-year coach jokingly thought how he wish he had some of them in at that moment.
But as the play developed Kratzer saw Max Reed standing by the near post and watched as he headed in Ferster's corner for the Green Dragons goal.
The goal was the only one either team would score, and it gave Lewisburg a tough 1-0 win over a fast and talented Coughlin team on Tuesday evening at Lancer Community Stadium in the boys soccer Class AA state tournament.
They advance to play Tulpehocken on Saturday at a time and place to be determined.
"It just happened to be right where I was. It was a little bit lucky, I'm going to be honest, but I just tried to get a head on it and see what could come of it," Reed said.
Coughlin possessed a ton of speed, but the Green Dragons defense failed to give up anything inside, forcing the Crusaders to take shots from the outside, which is the exact game plan Kratzer drew up. Coughlin had eight shots, but only four were on goal (three in the second half).
"That was the plan to let them go outside, we knew they were going to try to take us on the outside," Kratzer said. "Let them go out there because they can dance all they want out there as long as we don't let them come across the middle and be dangerous."
Coughlin had a few solid chances late in the game to tie it up and perhaps swing some momentum away from Lewisburg.
The biggest moment for the Crusaders came with 13:10 to play. Pat Malone took a through ball down the left side of the field to roughly six yards out and attempted a shot to the far post. Freshman goalie Logan Cho dove the opposite way and the Green Dragons watched as the ball slowly rolled parallel to the goal.
That's when Ben Koch stepped up and booted the ball away as a Crusader's player was right there to nearly tap it into the open net.
"Had to get it out and I did luckily," Koch said laughing. "Cho's a great keeper, we have a lot of respect for him, especially as a freshman. In the moment, clear the ball, get it out of there. A tie's on the line there."
Cho played solid in addition to the Lewisburg defense, which kept the Crusaders from scoring at all. Cho recorded four saves, but three were all huge saves in the second half.
With 7:05 to play, Justin Okun fired a nice shot from about 18 yards out to the dead center bottom of the goal, only to see Cho scoop it up.
"This is a dangerous team. That Malone, for us to shut them out like that, that's a big deal," Kratzer said. "We asked the defense, all of them, that they let him (Malone) do his thing, but let him do it where it's not a dangerous position and I thought defensively, they did a great job. I thought Logan did a fantastic job handling himself back there."