By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Eliza Newlin wielded the only stick between East Juniata and a potential game-winning breakaway Monday.
As she had done throughout regulation, Lewisburg's senior back stopped the Tigers attack cold. And within a minute's time, the Green Dragons earned a penalty corner that Haley Stanko cashed in for a 2-1 overtime win in a terrific nonleague game.
Lewisburg's ability to choke off East Juniata's attack consistently made all the difference in a matchup of contenders in their respective leagues and District 4 Class AA.
"We made it our goal this past week, coming out of (a loss at) Selinsgrove, to really work on marking in the back and looking at the open players so we can shut them down when they're coming down our sides," said Green Dragons junior mid Claire Lesher. "I think we really did a good job of that (Monday), and we're definitely improving."
The Dragons (3-2-1) had a dominant statistical edge in both shots (11-5) and corners (12-3), but that wasn't due to a lack of talent or skill on the Tigers' side. The play between the 25s was fairly even, but Lewisburg did a far better job getting the ball to the circle and creating chances in its attacking zone.
"They did a good job shutting us down, but we weren't connecting our passes very well. So we were kind of making it hard on ourselves," said Tigers senior Steph Dressler, a Tri-Valley League all-star mid and the Valley's assist leader last season. "It is frustrating that we didn't get it down there more because we could have owned that game. We just weren't connecting passes like we should have been."
Lewisburg's first corner opportunity came less than four minutes in. Lesher took a pass on the right side of the circle from Sam Hunt and whistled a shot that clipped the pad of Tigers keeper Lydia Strawser on its way into the cage.