I must admit it was a little different seeing Warrior Run playing Tuesday without Reda Vermilya in goal. But, after getting a chance to see Olivia George play, I was impressed.
Along with stepping into the larger shoes of Vermilya, George has to learn quick as she is now the final line of protection for a two-time defending state champion.
"I love my team, I have a lot of really good players around me," George said. "It helps me out because we are a team, not just a group of individuals. I'm having the time of my life working with these people, because this is the best team I've ever been on. I love it."
George made the jump to keeper over the summer and has continued to progress to the point of earning the starting position.
"Olivia is a field player first," Warrior Run coach Jen Allen said. "This helps tremendously in goal because she knows the game and each players' role on the field. She is constantly focused and communicating the entire game. She asks questions, not only to the coaches, but also to her team so that she knows the game and what is expected of each position and player."
And with an already stout backline, led by players like Laura Bastian and Madison Bennett, George is in a nice position to succeed.
"Laura Bastian has stepped up to be a vocal leader in the backline," Allen said. "She and George are constantly communicating and directing traffic, making sure he correct switches are being made and the opposition is not left open."
George came up with a few big stops in Warrior Run's 1-0 win over Southern Columbia. But the true action was in the final 5 minutes when she stopped a flurry of shots, including one from her knees that she was able to swat away from the goal.
"I am very impressed with George in goal," Allen said. "She has stepped in the keeper position and is directing the team with confidence. Southern Columbia was our second match and the first time she was really tested and she came up big."
SOUTH GIRLS ROLL IN SEASON'S FIRST WIN
After helping South Williamsport respond to a game-tying goal in the first half, Miranda Young recorded three consecutive goals in the second half to help South Williamsport to a, 5-1, win over Montgomery.
The victory, the Mounties' first of the season, came just in time after two tough losses to open the season.
"The first win is a great morale boost for the girls," South Williamsport girls coach Elizabeth Deljanovan said. "It gave them some confidence and will hopefully carry over into the remainder of the season. They're excited, but they also know that the game is over and that they need to build on this success in order to achieve future success."
TOP GIRLS CLUBS
1. Loyalsock (0-0): The only chance I had to see Loyalsock play was claimed by the lightening last week. That said, there's no reason to think they still don't belong in the top spot.
2. Warrior Run (2-0):?For now, it's more about the defense than it is about the offense. And honestly, as a man who loves defensive styles of play, I'm impressed. Allen has the girls once again playing as a team and believing in each other. To get a feel for how tuned in the team really is, take Emily Potter for example. One of the best players on the team, Potter had no problem coming off the bench in the team's showdown with Southern Columbia. There's little doubt about the impact Potter has on the team on the field, but the examples she has set for the team as a person will go much further. A true leader that clearly has learned from her coach.
3. Montoursville (2-1):?Since I've started covering soccer with the Sun- Gazette, I've yet to talk about a Montoursville loss in the regular season. But there's a first time for everything and after Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Danville, I must learn. There isn't too much to be concerned about with Montoursville. The offense will continue to produce. The midfield will continue to control possession. The defense and keeper are going to need to step up if Montoursville wants to continue it's regular-season dominance Both phases are more than capable of producing at levels that will help the team.
4. Hughesville (3-1):?For most of the first half, thanks to a Carley Shaner goal, Hughesville hung with Mount Carmel, a PIAA Class A representative from a season ago. The Red Tornadoes were able to finish with two unanswered goals, but the fact remains Hughesville pushed them to the brink. The Spartans' other contest of the week, a 7-0 thrashing of Jersey Shore, should show any non-believers they are here to stay. And the team has a group of talented scorers up front. With upcoming games against Muncy, Southern Columbia and Loyalsock we'll see what this team is made of.
5. Lewisburg:?One half against Montoursville is tough to judge a team by, but that's what I'm going to have to do. As you are reading this, Lewisburg will be gearing up for a contest at Warrior Run. I don't know if I can think of a better test.
Top field player: Brittany Snyder, Hughesville. For the second consecutive week a Hughesville player has this spot. I told you they had a good offense. Brittany Snyder scored four goals in the team's 7-0 win over Jersey Shore.
Top Keeper: Olivia George, Warrior Run.
Could not have been more impressed with the way she handled her first home start for the Defenders.
TOP BOYS CLUBS
1. Warrior Run (4-0): Montoursville proved to be little competition as Warrior Run ran past it with a 5-1 win. Elias George scored twice in the contest and has the Defenders rolling with four straight wins to open the season. The Defenders seem to be getting it done on both sides of the field. The boys will have two big league tests coming up with games against Hughesville and Loyalsock.
2. Loyalsock (3-3):?The Lancers have been on a tear after dropping two contests at the Midd-West tournament to open the season. Loyalsock started the week with a 2-0 win over Montoursville and followed that with an 8-1 win over Mount Carmel. Tyler Quigley has posted two goals and an assist over the span, while teammate Josiah Covert and Matt Hibbs posted three goals each.
3. Montoursville:?A 2-0 loss to Loyalsock is going to force this team to rebound in hopes of still competing within the league.
4. Williamsport (0-2):?Williamsport dropped a close, 1-0, decision to Mifflinburg Monday. A win would go a long way in helping this team regain some of the swagger that had it competing for a District 2/4 title last year.
5. Muncy (1-2):?The Indians scored a huge, 2-1, come-from-behind victory over Southern Columbia last weekend. After going down 1-0 in the first half, Dawson Fox and Derek Seller punched in goals for the win. Both tallies came off Ammar Sabanovic assists. What was truly special about the win was how the Indians were able to overcome a monster attack from the Tigers. Muncy was outshot 14-6 in the contest and only posted two corners to Southern Columbia's 14. The Indians will have to keep this momentum rolling.
Top field player: Anthony Pasnello, St. John Neumann. Pasnell becomes the first St. John Neumann player to reach the weekly column. Pasnello posted three goals in the team's 6-2 win over Montgomery.
Top Keeper: Louis Comfort, Loyalsock. Comfort finished the week with 22 saves in three games, all wins. Loyalsock's season opened with two losses, but since the team has ripped off three straight wins. Comfort has been a big part of the team's success.
Crossley covers soccer for the Sun-Gazette and he may be reached at email@example.com