By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
HEPBURNVILLE -- Skip Kratzer had a simple reminder to his players following Lewisburg's final practice Friday: "Let's not have this be our final one."
The Green Dragons made sure not to let down their head coach Saturday as they scored early and often en route to downing Shikellamy 6-0 in the District 4 Class AA quarterfinals at the Balls Mills Soccer Complex.
In their last meeting on grass, the two teams played a great matchup with Lewisburg (19-0) prevailing 1-0. Saturday, playing on the carpet, the Green Dragons were able to utilize their greatest asset, team speed, to thoroughly dominate the Braves (11-7-2), who had no answer for the undefeated home team's depth and speed.
"We are good with the ball on our feet and playing on this surface was just perfect," Kratzer said. "We are fortunate to have great players on the outside who help open the middle for us and other individuals who are able to get behind the defense and make things happen."
Shikellamy was able to play chase with Lewisburg for a while before the Green Dragons' constant presence in their end of the field resulted in a 1-0 lead. Max Reed had a perfect pass to Adam Cole, who easily ripped his shot past Justin Engle for the only score the eventual winners would need. The lead grew to 2-0 with 24:11 left in the half when Andre Permyashkin was able to tap in a perfect lob from Michael Tenedios.
The Braves could not muster any type of offensive attack against the tenacious Green Dragons' defenders and less than five minutes later Permyashkin collected his second goal of the matchup, increasing the advantage to 3-0 on another breakaway goal.
Lewisburg, which held the Braves to no shots on goal or corner kicks, grabbed a 4-0 lead when Joey Bhangdia scored off an assist from Permyashkin.
Kratzer reminded his team at the break of the upsets already in the brackets and to continue to keep up the intensity to start the second half. The Green Dragons did just that as Cole recorded his second goal of the game at the 32:30 mark while the final tally came from Tanner Host with just 2:56 left.
Logan Cho, who finished with just three saves, displayed an acrobatic effort on one of his knockaways when he leaped high in the air at the 20:57 mark to just knock away and over the net a great shot by Andrew Marczyk to keep the shutout intact.
"Our goal coming into the season was to have a winning record and qualify for district's," Braves' coach Jon Steese said. "We improved our win total by nine and qualified for the postseason. We knew Lewisburg was a great team and it would take a super effort to beat them and they are as good as their record indicates."
Lewisburg meets Danville later this week at a site and time to be determined.