By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
ALMEDIA -- Once the clock hit 10 seconds, the Southern Columbia fans started counting down in deafening unison.
When they hit zero, the fans erupted in a loud cheer that could rival a home football game, and every Southern player ran onto the field and celebrated one of the most exciting wins in the program's recent history.
"That was really exciting. We did not want to lose and we were going to keep fighting so we didn't lose," Southern Columbia sophomore Haley Levan said. "I did not want it to be our last game and I definitely think we can go a lot farther. We had a shaky first half, but we definitely played our hearts out in the second half."
For everyone in attendance, what was exciting was just how the Tigers rallied to leave Blue Jay Stadium with a win Tuesday night.
After facing a huge 3-0 deficit at the half, Southern Columbia beat Schuylkill Haven by scoring five unanswered goals in the first round of the PIAA Class A state tournament.
The Tigers advance to Saturday's quarterfinals against Halifax at a time and site to be determined.
The District 11 champion Hurricanes got off to a solid start against the District 4 champion Tigers (20-1-1), firing at will in the first half and building the 3-0 lead through the first 40 minutes.
The speedy duo of Rileigh Evitts and Kelsey Sisko scored all three goals. Evitts scored with a Sisko assist with 29:38 to play in the first half before Sisko added two unassisted scores of her own, the final one coming with 2:14 remaining.
The Tigers offense struggled in the first half, as shot after shot seemed to either miss the goal completely or ricochet off a post.
But Southern came out like a new team in the second half, and once the Tigers found the back of the net for their first goal, the momentum just kept building.