The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 4, 2012

Seals win title on penalty kicks

Daily Item

---- — By Jon Gerardi

The Daily Item

WILLIAMSPORT -- Jess Lawton wasn't counting the shots. All she knew was that she had a job to do as Selinsgrove's goalie.

So in a shootout after a scoreless second overtime, Lawton hunched over as Danville's Kylie Gorki attempted a penalty kick to try and tie it all up. Gorki tried to sneak one into the upper right corner of the goal, only to see it hit off the top crossbar and bounce out.

That's when Lawton noticed her team started to run towards her and it finally hit her: Selinsgrove just won the District 4 Class AA championship.

The win on penalty kicks gave the Seals their first District 4 title since 2009 as Selinsgrove won in the shootout, 5-4, on Saturday evening at Lancer Community Stadium in Loyalsock.

"You play so many minutes and it comes down to a penalty (kick)," Danville coach Tom Craig said. "It's hard to take. It's just hard to take."

The Seals went ahead 5-4 thanks to senior Kiersten Craig-Sovic who managed to hit a great slow-roller to the left of Danville goalie Hanna Harris.

Selinsgrove won the toss and elected to take the penalty kicks first, a strategy coach Matt Metzger was hoping would pay off.

"We always want to take them first for that very reason, put pressure on that last girl," Metzger said.

The Ironmen (15-4-1) stayed with Selinsgrove (18-3) the entire game. In the final two overtime periods, Danville gave up just one Selinsgrove shot and out-shot the Seals, 23-8, in the loss.

Both teams let missed opportunities get away from them throughout the 110 minutes of regulation and overtime.

In the second half, Danville's Zina Knight fed a beautiful ball inside the goal box to Shelby Freedman. Freedman attempted to slide and tap the ball in, but misread the play and was just a hair off from netting a goal past Selinsgrove's talented Lawton.

Instead of a goal, the Ironmen could only watch as the ball sailed out of bounds to the left.

"They had a few (chances) and Jess Lawton came up with some great saves for us," Metzger said. "They had a few good looks and she had some good saves."

And while Danville had their fair share of missed chances, so did Selinsgrove.

Numerous times the talented duo of Alicia Torruella and Jenna Fisher tried to hook up with nice passes to get opportunities, but often could not connect on the pass, sending it behind or too far in front of their teammate.

"I think both teams were trying to send some balls up and everything else. It was just a back and forth, track meet kind of game," Metzger said. "A lot of stuff in the midfield where neither team could really get a huge opportunity in overtime.

"It's a great game on both parts. I thought our girls did a great job, I thought Danville's girls did a good job. It's a testament to the programs that we both have and also the closeness in the HAC-I."

Danville senior Siobhan Bross led the Ironmen's offense, firing nine shots at the goal, but was just off the mark a handful of times from netting a goal.

And in a tough defensive battle like the District 4 Class AA title game turned out to be, one goal is sometimes all it takes.

"We knew it would only take one goal or two to put this away, but we just couldn't finish," Craig said.