---- — By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Whether it was confidence, a change in attitude, or both -- an aggressive attitude fueled by confidence -- Wyoming Seminary was a vastly different team after halftime Tuesday.
The Blue Knights created few first-half chances against Selinsgrove in their Class AA first-round state tournament game, looking every bit a team wary of making a mistake when the other trounced it by three goals a month earlier.
In the second half and into overtime, however, the District 2 runners-up pushed a determined pace and effectively smothered the Seals' attack.
Seminary's tying goal was a fortunate redirect early in the second half, but the winner was strong execution while capitalizing on a Selinsgrove mistake.
Becca Weinstock made a run with her own takeaway and lashed a shot from left to right across the circle, catching the inside wall a few feet high, for a 2-1 Knights' win at Bucknell University's Graham Field.
The Knights, who were limited to a pair of first-half shots without a corner, finished with marked advantages in both shots (9-6) and corners (9-4).
"We had to come out with a different attitude and just kind of take it to them because you have to against a team like that. They're so strong," said Seminary coach Karen Klassner. "So we just had to pick it up a gear. It was that simple: Be more aggressive."
The Seals, who played heady in the defensive circle throughout, weathered a short two-player disadvantage very early in the second half when green cards issued to junior mid Nora Aucker and junior forward Emily Klingler overlapped for a half-minute.
In 7v7 overtime, Aucker was hit with a high stick yellow when she instinctively played a lifted ball while alone at midfield. The play was dangerous to no one, but whistled nonetheless.
"It's just a reaction. When a ball's coming right at you, you want to defend yourself and play it," said Selinsgrove coach Cathy Keiser. "That was tough. It really opened up space back there."
Shortly after the infraction, Weinstock slipped the ball from Klingler near midfield and made her decisive charge.
Seminary (15-5-1) advances to play District 1 champion Upper Perkiomen, a winner over Donegal, in Saturday's quarterfinals.
Selinsgrove celebrated its 50th season by reclaiming the Heartland-I title it surrendered last year for the first time since 1998 and by winning its ninth consecutive District 4 crown. The Seals finished 20-2.
"They wanted to come out and prove themselves, and I think they did that," Keiser said after a 14-game win streak ended. "They're a special group, very caring of each other. We had some awesome leaders this year and I think that's what we're all going to miss."
The Seals controlled the first half if they didn't build a 3-1 lead on the Knights as they had Oct. 4 in Selinsgrove.
Brooke Zeiders' tackle on Weinstock and pass to Lexi Horst produced the corner that led to the game's first goal. Klingler handled Zeiders' insert and sent a pass to the far post that Zeiders punched in.
Seminary's pressure generated its first corner a little more than 6 minutes into the second half, and more quickly followed.
Alexis Quick's inserts to Morgan Malone on the left side developed too slowly to attack openings. However, after a string of three fruitless corners, Malone sent a long hit straight-on from near the 25 that Gabby Grossman tipped past Seals keeper Courtney McCartney. The junior had a bead on Malone's ball, but couldn't stop the tip when she flailed her left leg.
Selinsgrove had just one shot and two corners over the game's final 36:36.
"(On Oct. 4) they took it to us," said Klassner, who's fast approaching 600 career wins. "We made a lot of position changes. Really, we had scouted them quite a bit so we knew who their top players were. We knew we'd have to play one of our best games to beat them.
"Every game we've played with them in states has been just an amazing game, and (this) was an example."
"They came at us very prepared and ready to go this time," said Keiser, who has 542 career wins. "We were a little tentative (in the second half), weren't able to do the things that we normally do because they were marking man-to-man so close and we weren't used to that style of play.
"What can I say? I wish them luck."