---- — By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG -- The rallying cry for Delaware Valley was "one, two, three, score!"
During a timeout late in the first half with the Warriors ahead by four, the players and coaches came together to shout into the early evening air. It may have been intended to simply excite Delaware Valley to end the half on a good note, but the chant was a microcosm of the game plan that Selinsgrove faced in losing 7-1 in the first round of the PIAA Class AA tournament.
Each time the Warriors advanced the ball into their offensive zone, rather than immediately attack the net, the Warriors showed patience in looking for the right shot. However, when someone decided it was time to put the ball in the back of the cage, it seemed to be three seconds before a goal. Selinsgrove coach Tom Garlock said that the defensive sets that were used have a tendency to slow the game, which unfortunately for the Seals played right into Delaware Valley's hands.
"We kind of keyed in, put our best guys on their best guys," Delaware Valley coach Jeff Krasulski said. "When (Selinsgrove) did get their shots off, our goalie Conner Lamberton made some really nice plays."
The slow pace of the game allowed the Warriors to dictate on offense, as Selinsgrove (16-1) at Sports Boosters Athletic Park on Wednesday in its first trip to the state tournament in school history.
"Every goal that I set for these guys this year was met and far exceeded my expectations," Garlock said. "I think they've done a very good performance for the entire season."
Garlock added that the season the Seals experienced will give returning players the initiative to improve for next season.
After falling behind 4-0 at the half, the Seals showed why they had entered the game with an unblemished record. Refusing to give in, Zach Adams came through for the Seals, taking the ball up the middle of the offensive zone and firing the ball into the back of the cage to cut the lead to 4-1.
After Adams' goal, the Seals started to pick up the pace offensively in an attempt to force the Warriors into turnovers, but the Warriors were up to the challenge.
With the majority of the crowd firmly behind the Seals, Tristan Earle extended the Warriors (19-2) lead to 5-1 early in the final quarter, squeezing a shot between Reid Betzker's pad and the left post.
An intercepted pass near the Seals' cage led to a five-goal lead, as Lindaas showed quick hands, taking a pass in close intended for midfield and scoring before the defense could swarm him.
A goal from Dustin McCutchen in traffic with 5:39 left extended the score to 7-1.
As is expected in a state playoff game, both teams showed a high level of physicality early in the game, which only escalated as the game progressed with both sides looking to gain any advantage possible. On this night, it was Delaware Valley which was able to control loose balls when needed, turning miscues into offensive opportunities.
The Warriors took their time opening the scoring column, finally getting a goal from Erik Lindaas at the 6:28 mark.
In what became a theme throughout the game, even when the Warriors missed a pass or had a ball deflected, there was a teammate in the right spot to gather the spill. A missed pass led to a goal with under a minute left in the first quarter after a Delaware Valley pass missed its mark, but a Warriors player was the first to reach the ball out of bounds.