The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

October 24, 2013

Jon Gerardi's H.S. soccer column: Danville girls keep streak alive

It was about halfway through the regular season this year when Danville's captains rounded up the entire team during a practice and let everyone on the team know that it was time to not only get serious during games, but practices as well.

At the time, the Lady Ironmen weren't sitting too pretty at just 1-5-1 on the year and knew a huge change had to happen in order to turn the season around.

"Basically that talk was a wake-up call we desperately needed," Danville junior Sara Naessig said.

Funny how a little talk can make a huge difference. After that, Danville put up a four-game winning streak.

Naessig was one of Danville's players who recalled watching the Danville/Midd-West game replay just a few nights before a huge league game against Selinsgrove on television, and the TV announcer mentioned that Danville may not make it to districts for the first time in team history.

"No team wants to be that team who didn't make it," the announcer said during the broadcast.

For Danville, it was surely a huge burden lifted off their shoulders when they tied Selinsgrove a few days after that replay, with just a few seconds remaining, to clinch a District 4 berth.

"We weren't going to be known as that Danville team who didn't make it to playoffs," Naessig said. "Despite barely making it into playoffs, I'm just glad that we not only proved everyone wrong, but also made our coaches proud."

Danville was first given a girl's soccer squad in 1990 and made the playoffs that inaugural season. Now, 24 seasons later, they've yet to not be postseason bound.

Despite it being a down year for Danville -- the Lady Ironmen did after all lose eight starters from the 2012 team, including a goalie -- the team expected from the get-go to be in districts come October. And while they weren't one of the higher seeds in the Class AA field, the Lady Ironmen still were competitive in the quarterfinals against Montoursville on Wednesday.

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