By Jeff Fishbein
For The Daily Item
COCOLAMUS -- Nicole Mironenko didn't score any goals Thursday.
But the ones she kept East Juniata from scoring were huge.
The Mifflinburg goalie stood on her head for her teammates in the first round of the District 4 Class AA field hockey tournament, which is why the Wildcats are moving on.
A Cassandra Lewis goal with 16 seconds left on the overtime clock meant a 2-1 victory in the battle between Heartland Conference and Tri-Valley League runners-up.
Mifflinburg (15-4) will face Selinsgrove (18-1) in a semifinal Tuesday at Bucknell.
When East Juniata (13-5-1) forced an overtime period against Mifflinburg it seemed like the Tigers were on the road to a first-round win against the Heartland Conference's No. 2 team.
When the Tigers drew four penalty corners in a span of three minutes to start the seven-on-seven, sudden victory period -- a similar scenario to the one that created the tie in the first place -- it looked like it was lights out for the Wildcats.
Thanks to Mironenko, that wasn't the case. The Wildcats' goalie turned away a brutal attack in those first few minutes, then got to watch from the other end of the field as one of her teammates found a miracle in
"She is one of the big reasons we have so much motivation out there. She's just been outstanding all season long," Mifflinburg coach Jayme Longacre said of her keeper.
And the goal?
"It looked like it was in and then it wasn't. Hearing that bang is one of the best sounds in the world," Longacre said. "I think I didn't breathe for quite awhile there."
It didn't seem that's how it would end 15 minutes earler. The Tigers played a controlled -- and controlling -- game, deliberately attacking the ball and dominating possession.