---- — By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG -- A top seed is supposed to hold its ground and take care of business against a higher team. Danville was able to live up to its top billing Thursday, taking an 18-12 win over Selinsgrove in the opening game of the District 4 Class AA girls larosse semifinals at Sports Boosters Athletic Park.
"I am very proud of (my team)," Danville coach Carlene Klena said.
The Ironmen used a high-scoring second half to pull away from the Seals and secure the victory. Emily Vella scored a pair of goals to open the second half for the Ironmen after a 7-5 Danville lead at intermission. Sara Moyer answered 26 seconds later, taking a pass from the left side, moving across the defense and scoring.
Vella completed the equivalent of a hat trick in 63 seconds, with a goal 12 seconds later at the 20:55 mark of the second half on an unassisted sprint off of the draw.
The Ironmen added a goal in close to push their lead to five. After a yellow card was called immediately following the goal, the Ironmen seemed to find an extra level of effort to pull away from the Seals. Katharine Baum had a hand in the breakaway goals for the Ironmen, netting the first and assisting Vella on the second.
According to Klena, Baum and Vella have been involved with Danville lacrosse since its inception, which Klena said made her proud to give the two seniors a playoff win.
The Seals tried to fight back, but the Ironmen answered every run, adding two goals in the final four minutes to seal the win.
The Ironmen got the game off to a fast start with a goal from Lindsay Strausser a few seconds over the 22:44 mark. Strausser received a pass and spun in front of the cage and put the goal in the back of the net.
The Seals quickly fought back on the ensuing draw, with Moyer not thinking twice after winning possession and shredding the defense for a goal.
In a tie game, the Ironmen quickly tightened their defensive pressure, clawing for every loose ball. The result was an increase in opportunities on offense and three straight goals for a 4-1 lead. During the run, Danville won the battles down low near the crease, preventing the Seals from pushing a goal across.
As can happen quickly, when one teams goes on a run, the other team quickly fights back and Selinsgrove bounced back, scoring four of the next five goals to tie the game at 5 after Danville was primed to break the game wide open.
Two goals within the final 30 seconds for the Ironmen allowed Danville to take a halftime advantage.
The Green Dragons ruined the Mustangs' home-field advantage, winning a tight 10-7 game to advance to face Danville for the title.
"It feels good to finally have that victory against (Midd-West) in the playoffs," Lewisburg coach Janelle Groff said.
The game was far from over at any point, as Lewisburg and Midd-West continued to fight for every loose ball, and goals were at a premium at times. Lewisburg was able to build a lead large enough to win on a goal from Hannah Gotoff at the 6:40 mark in the second half. Before Gotoff's goal, the game was a see-saw affair between the second-seeded Green Dragons and the third-seeded Mustangs, with the two teams tied as late as the 17-minute mark of the second half.
Lewisburg goalie Claire Paulsen shut the door on a Midd-West run.
(Paulsen) has done a great job for us," Groff said.
Gotoff scored the first three goals for the Green Dragons, helping to answer every ball the Mustangs slipped into the back of the net. The final two from Gotoff kickstarted a run of four straight Lewisburg goals to grab an early 5-2 lead.
After the Green Dragons went into halftime with a 6-4 lead, the Mustangs quickly scored two goals to open the second half and tie the game at 6.