By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- Mikayla Neff had just a goalkeeper between her foot and a Shikellamy overtime victory.
Neff made herself space and drilled a shot low to the right side of the net and past a diving Lydia Hunter in goal for East Juniata.
The calm stroke by Neff at 6:53 of the extra period gave the Braves a hard-fought 4-3 victory over East Juniata on Saturday.
On the play, the ball was kicked up the field and deflected by an East Juniata defender as Neff approached. The ball ricocheted to Neff, who converted to send the Braves home with a win over a team which was coming off a 22-win season.
"I just knew that if I played smart and played (the ball) right, then I'd be fine," Neff said. "We were working hard the whole game and I wanted to (win it) for my team."
Her team showed their appreciation by mobbing the sophomore midfielder within seconds of her game-winner.
"(The win) is a great way to start," Shikellamy head coach Angela Sivillo said. "At the end of the overtime, we had eight freshmen on the field. (The season's) looking up from here."
The Braves (1-0) had a balanced offensive attack against the speedy Tigers (0-1). Neff, Haley Bingaman and Sidney Graybill each found the back of the net for the Braves.
"Everybody contributed," Sivillo said. "I couldn't ask for more."
Before the overtime period, the game appeared as though it would slip away from the Braves and East Juniata would find a way to pull out a comeback victory.
Showing a short memory, the Braves put any goals behind them and continued to press offensively to keep East Juniata from finding open space to run.
The Braves established momentum in the second half off Bingaman's foot.