MIDDLEBURG — By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
Selinsgrove coach Tom Garlock mentioned after the Seals' semifinal victory against Mifflinburg last Thursday that a celebration would start with a win on Tuesday over Lewisburg.
With a win, the Seals would capture its first district title in school history after starting as a club sport.
Following the script after the final whistle blew, the Seals rushed the field surrounding their coaches in a joyous mass near the left goal cage. The celebration started thanks to a 9-6 win over Lewisburg at Midd-West on Tuesday evening, claiming the District 4 championship.
The Seals (16-0) were tested in a 9-6 victory over Danville but were able to find key plays when Lewisburg (10-7) started to mount a comeback.
"I'm extremely proud of (the Seals)," Garlock said. "They've worked hard all year. They're some of the finest young men I've ever met."
After the Seals won handily, 22-4, over Mifflinburg to reach the final, the Green Dragons gave the Seals all that they could handle, nearly pulling the upset.
Even after a goal from Marcus Winn that the Seals a 9-6 lead, the game was far from over. The Seals controlled the ensuing draw and kept the ball away from the Green Dragons as Lewisburg attempted to press the Seals into an errant pass.
In a close game, the Seals continued to attack, trying to score the goal that would put a resilient Lewisburg team away once and for all. The attempts went wide but Lewisburg was unable to return the ball to their offensive side of the field.
After falling by one goal, 6-5, to the Seals in their first regular-season meeting this year, it was fitting that with a trip to the state tournament on the line, the Green Dragons would play their hearts out.
Matt Fedorjaka scored off of an assist from Drew Strosser with less than four minutes remaining to cut the Seals lead to 8-6. The goal followed a stretch where it appeared the Seals would salt the game away, peppering Michael Fox with shots that the sophomore turned aside.
From early in the game, it was clear that Lewisburg was going to provide a stiff challenge to the Seals. The Green Dragons controlled much of the opening few minutes of play, forcing the tempo to a crawl by passing the ball around the back of the cage against a team that thrives on turnovers and a quick-strike offense.
When the Seals needed a goal, the midfielders and attacks came through.
"In the clutch, (the offense) did very well," Garlock said. "I knew Lewisburg was going to come out and play for this game. I didn't expect anything different."
Andrew Sickle opened the scoring column with a diving shot that found space in between the legs of a crouching Fox in goal for the Green Dragons to give the Seals an early lead. Not satisfied, the Seals swarmed Fox on their net possession, forcing the goalie to absorb contact as the ball popped loose but Fox was able to gather and keep the Seals from netting a point-blank goal.
Taking a page from the Seals' playbook, the Green Dragons quickly brought the ball upfield with Nick Feltham taking a pass from Nathan Fox near the cage on the left side and dumping a shot past Reid Betzker almost before the ball had reached his net. The Green Dragons added a goal that bounced between Betzker's legs to take a 2-1 lead after one quarter.
"We proved that we can play with (Selinsgrove)," Lewisburg coach Evan Dresser said.
Lewisburg has a young starting line-up, meaning the Green Dragons will have the majority of its starting rotation returning.
"We'll be back for years because we have some sophomores and freshmen who are contributing," Dresser said.
However, similar to a boxer who is knocked down and quickly rises, the Seals roared back with a flurry of goals in the second quarter, scoring four unanswered in the quarter to take a 5-2 lead at the half. Brendan Sheaffer scored the tying goal at the 9:41 mark and Adams blistered a shot that kissed off of the inside of the left post and in the net.