By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG -- Sometimes in sports, there are teams that you know are dominant after taking one look at them.
It could be crisp shooting or perfect passes, but overcoming such a squad is difficult. Unfortunately for the Mifflinburg Wildcats, Selinsgrove is one of those juggernauts in boys lacrosse. The Seals opened up a large lead early in Thursday's game and did not look back, winning 22-4 in the semifinals of the District 4 Class AA tournament at Sports Boosters Athletic Park.
Despite the win, Seals coach Tom Garlock kept his focus on Tuesday's final against Lewisburg.
"You have to play each game as it comes along," Garlock said. "This game was a nice win."
Mifflinburg continued to fight throughout the game, breaking the shutout midway through the fourth quarter on an unassisted goal from Logan Taylor. Taylor added another goal, firing a shot into the top of the cage past Tommy Frederick, who replaced Reid Betzker late in the game. The Wildcats scored four of the final six goals, with Zach Diehl adding two goals.
Austin Stroup wasted little time getting the Seals (15-0) on the board with a goal 64 seconds in and assisted on a tally from Zach Adams 26 seconds later. The Seals grabbed control of the early draws and limited the Wildcats to one shot on nearly every possession against Reid Betsker in net. That is, if the Seals let the Wildcats cross midfield before swarming the ballcarrier and forcing a turnover or errant pass.
On many possessions, including three of the next four goals, the Seals were able to quickly move the ball upfield off of one pass or by having the player who ended the draw with the ball on his stick take the ball to the net himself.
The Seals quickly established the tempo of the game, forcing the Wildcats to run, run and run some more to halt the scoring. The Seals benefitted from strong play on both sides of the ball, including the attacks and midfielders on offense.
"The midfield and our attacks mesh well," Garlock said. "In each consecutive game, they've been playing better."
The Seals ended the half with three goals in a 30-second span, taking the draw, making one pass in between defenders and firing a shot, allowing the Wildcats little time to drop back into any kind of a defensive set. The Seals continued to pepper Peter Chlebowski with shots to end the half, but Chlebowski made clutch saves and limited the damage to 14-0 at halftime.
With the mercy rule in effect for the second half, the Seals slowed their offensive output, but added three goals in the first three minutes of the half with a rolling clock.
On a loose ball with about 11 minutes remaining, Marcus Winn gathered the ball for the Seals and passed to Branden Sheaffer, who was cutting in front of the cage for a goal to run the score to 16-0.
n Lewisburg 10,
MIDDLEBURG -- An eight-point day from Nate Fox combined with a stout defensive performance from Calvin Reif propelled the Green Dragons into the finals of the District 4 playoffs.
Fox scored six goals and had two assists for Lewisburg (10-6), while Calvin Reif added a goal and an assist along with collecting 10 ground balls in the contest for the Green Dragons.
Zach Schutter and Tyler Blue scored three goals apiece for Danville (9-8) in the back-and-forth game.
The Ironmen stayed with the Green Dragons behind a 14-save day from goalkeeper Evan Tanner.