SUNBURY — Part of a midfield contingent that played remarkably well throughout, Wiley Egan enjoyed one of those productive outings that she’ll recall for some time.
Effective on the defensive side of the ball, the Shikellamy sophomore combined inside with senior Alexa Shaw to win 50-50 challenges, keep those around them sporting blue jerseys calm, and initiate a transition game that really flourished.
And when Egan was on the attack with the ball at her feet, she was equally dynamic, whether putting teammates in good spots, setting up finishes or burying deep looks that wrap up satisfying victories. Yep, Egan did plenty of everything.
Every one of the Shikellamy players that stepped confidently into the fray Tuesday made something happen as Mick Bilger’s Braves parlayed goals from Mackenzie Good, Hanna Long and Egan into a confidence-building 3-1 victory over Heartland Conference Division I hammer Williamsport on Senior Night at Shikellamy Stadium.
Cassi Ronk finished with six saves for Bilger’s Braves (7-5-3, 5-3-3), a quality defensive club that’s surrendering just one goal per outing.
Katie Penman netted the lone marker for the Millionaires (9-3-3, 6-1-3), who were all over the Braves in the first 15 minutes yet managed just Penman’s strike.
Yet while Williamsport owned the momentum early, things began to shift once Egan’s slicing through ball put Good behind the defense and in on Williamsport goalie Lila Vogelsong. Several touches later, Good’s equalizer slipped inside the right post at 14:47.
“Our first couple minutes of the game is always a little off, because I feel like we’re always nervous,” Egan said. “But once that’s behind us, we do pretty well.”
Although the Millionaires continued to pop from the perimeter — Williamsport’s primary tactic was to play direct in a concerted effort to free burners Penman and Kailee Helmrich so they could challenge Shikellamy’s defenders and Ronk.
Nothing, however, got through.
“We seem to be playing 60 or 70 minutes of great soccer every game, but there’s 10-15 minutes that just scare me every time,” Bilger cracked. “We started the game that way, slow. After that, I think we pretty much took control and dominated the middle.”
Finally, with 7:31 showing, Egan lofted a high-arching ball toward the goal that eluded Adelia Engel before pinging off the right post. When Egan’s near-miss caromed back into play, Long was waiting to push the Braves in front.
With Kaylee Richey suffering a first-half injury that kept her parked on the bench the rest of the way, Bilger made a prudent tactical move by installing speedy Eryn Swanger at right back, ostensibly to mark fellow burner Penman. And with Emily Shultz adding secondary cover when needed, Penman was essentially neutralized.
While the second half featured fewer scoring chances, once Egan claimed a loose ball some 30 yards out and had all sorts of space, she sized up the situation, saw she had a look on goal … and buried it at 77:56. Game essentially over.
“She was out a little far, so I knew I could get it in,” Egan said.
Egan’s finish also cemented a gratifying result that could have lasting effects on Bilger’s Braves as they continue their surge toward postseason play.
“We’re looking at districts, that’s all we care about right now is making that spot,” Bilger said. “We need one more win technically to do that, but we’re looking at winning three more and heading into the postseason on a high and ready to keep winning.”
SHIKELLAMY 3, WILLIAMSPORT 1
W-Katie Penman, 5:00; S-Mackenzie Good (Wiley Egan), 14:47; S-Hanna Long (Egan), 32:29.
Shots: S 12-8. Corners: S 5-3. Saves: Williamsport (Lila Vogelsong-3 saves, Adelia Engel-4); Shikellamy (Cassi Ronk-6).