By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Marissa Heddings wasted little time as she got ready for her corner kick.
The Selinsgrove senior booted a perfect pass to junior Lacy Trautman, who got her head on it to the near post. The ball slowly bounced towards the goal, and even Seals coach Matt Metzger thought it was going to be the game-winner in overtime.
That's when Lewisburg senior defender Nicole Bhangdia came out of nowhere from the far post and booted it away at the last possible second, preventing a huge overtime goal and keeping the Green Dragons in the game.
It was probably the best chance at breaking open the tie as neither team found the back of the net in either overtime period as the two HAC-I squads ended their league game in a 1-1 tie at Lewisburg on a cloudy Monday afternoon.
"Nicole is just a rock in the back there. She was phenomenal. I don't think she made a mistake today. She was so solid," Lewisburg coach Jose Vega said. "She played with so much confidence today. When she plays like that, the entire defense feeds off her and she was outstanding. The entire defense played great, don't get me wrong, but Nicole was just phenomenal."
The only goals of the day came within nearly seven minutes of one another in the second half.
The Seals' Lexie Willard took a shot at Lewisburg goalie Kirsten Blakeslee, which bounced off a Green Dragons defender in front of the goal and rolled back to Willard. The sophomore made the most of the second chance and hit a slow roller to the near post to put Selinsgrove (4-0-1, 2-0-1 HAC-I) up 1-0 with 31:48 to play in the second half.
Lewisburg (1-0-1, 1-0-1) then used a set piece with 24:55 to play to tie the game up.
After Lindsay Ayers booted her kick, it was Kasey Conrad who got her head on it. The ball dropped just in front of the goal past Selinsgrove senior Jess Lawton and Miranda Gajda got a foot on it to tap it in.
The Green Dragons peppered the Selinsgrove goal all game long, racking up 19 shots in regulation -- 11 on goal -- to keep Lawton and Selinsgrove's back line on their toes all game.
Lewisburg ended the game with the shot advantage, 24-14.
The Seals only fired at the goal seven times in the first two periods, and just twice managed to get a shot from inside of the goal box as the Green Dragons offered little in terms of good looks.
"Lewisburg was playing a real possession in first half. We were having a little trouble as far as picking up who we needed to on those," Metzger said. "Once we kind of got calmed down and made some adjustments, then we found our feet a little bit more. We tried not going down the middle as much. They have strong defenders down the middle of the field, and on outside (too), but at least on outside, there's only one of them instead of two down the center."
Trautman, Nicole Krebs and Sam Rodkey all had great shot attempts in the first overtime period from inside or just outside of the goal box, but two missed just wide while the other went right at Blakeslee.
Conversely, Lewisburg had plenty of looks too at the goal, but couldn't get in another one past Lawton.
Both Lawton (18 saves) and Blakeslee (9) made numerous heads-up saves.
"Today we didn't strike the right shot. We didn't find a shot that went into the back of the net," Vega said. "It was good, it was a great game (and) we couldn't ask for more. I'm so proud of my girls and Selinsgrove's girls because they played outstanding too.
"Overall it was two good teams going at it and would've been a shame at the end if somebody would've lost the game, especially in overtime, the way that both teams played. I thought we had enough chances to win it, but we came out short," Vega added.