By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT -- Time was slowly but surely ticking away and Selinsgrove's Kaelan Sullivan had a direct kick just a few yards behind the edge of the 18-yard box.
The senior midfielder quickly set the ball down and tried to set a shot up with his Seal teammates, but the Lewisburg defense wasn't about to give anything up. As soon as the pass failed to materialize, the Green Dragons started celebrating as the final seconds ticked off the clock as they dog piled onto one another on the sideline as Sullivan just sat on the turf where he took his free kick.
The 2-1 thrilling victory for Lewisburg earned the Green Dragons their third consecutive District 4 Class AA title on Saturday night at Lancer Community Stadium in Loyalsock.
"It means a lot for me personally, because I feel like it's vindication. This was our goal all along and to come through and win in some of these tough games like this (was nice)," said first-year Lewisburg coach Skip Kratzer of the three-peat. "It all comes to fruition today and it's good to see."
After a scoreless first half, Selinsgrove (17-4) wasted little time in making things interesting when David Aurand took a through ball down the right side of the field and launched a rocket from about 10 yards out to the far post past Lewisburg freshman Logan Cho to make it a 1-0 game and give Selinsgrove some momentum.
You could say the shot woke up a sleeping dragon so to speak, however. Lewisburg (18-2-1) responded 15 minutes later with a huge play.
Max Reed took a through ball of his own from midfield and managed to get by two Selinsgrove defenders and tap the ball to his left and spin out. The sophomore then wasted no time, firing a shot to his right to tie the game up at 1-all.
"When Max is on, Max is phenomenal," Kratzer said. "That was Max knowing it was time to step up and take care of business and he did a great job."
Almost a minute later, Lewisburg did it again when Reed took a header off a direct kick and perfectly sent it to Kerry Shutt, who just tapped it in to the right side of the net.
The goal gave Lewisburg all the momentum as Shutt ran down the right sideline with his teammates screaming and celebrating the huge goal that gave the Green Dragons their first lead of the game.
"It did (sort of deflate our sails), it took us back a little bit, but I was proud of the way our kids hustled all the way to the end," Selinsgrove coach Chris Lupolt said. "We had some very dangerous scoring opportunities toward the end of the second half. This senior group is an amazing group and very talented and skilled and very proud of the way they matured throughout the season."
The Seals defense played solid in the first half, allowing just two total shots from Lewisburg, neither of which were on goal and both roughly from at least 16 yards out. It was the second half where Lewisburg's offense finally started to click and do things right.
The Green Dragons shot at Selinsgrove goalie Travis Petrich 10 times in the second half, three on goal.
"In the first half, I think our defense came out with a lot of energy and we were marking well. Not getting beat on 1v1s and I thought our energy level was really good and we had some good offensive opportunities in the first half," Lupolt said.
On of those missed opportunities came from Selinsgrove's talented David Aurand. The senior forward missed a terrific opportunity early in the first half when a loose ball came his way just a few yards outside the right corner of the goal. With Cho not in position, Aurand attempted a shot only to see it go right as the Selinsgrove faithful crowd gasped at the near-miss.