It was a quick touch, a slight-of-hand touch to the right you wouldn't have noticed if you weren't paying attention.
The touch put the soccer ball on a figurative tee, though. David Aurand, Selinsgrove's sharpshooter of a forward had his target lined up and he drilled the soccer ball on a bee-line for just inside the far post some 25 yards away.
Warrior Run goalkeeper Jason McWilliams dove to his left, a hand extended as far as he could hoping for a deflection of any kind to knock the ball off its course. He didn't get it.
Aurand's shot hit the inside netting of the goal and all but iced the Seals' 5-2 win over a previously unbeaten Warrior Run Wednesday night at Kenneth M. Robbins Stadium. Selinsgrove scored three unanswered goals following one from Warrior Run's Austin Bower just over a minute into last night's game to move to Saturday's District 4 Class AA final against Lewisburg. Warrior Run finished its season 19-1.
"You're not going to see a better goal than that," Selinsgrove head coach Chris Lupolt said of Aurand's laser shot.
The goal was Aurand's 33rd of the season, tying him with Casey Mayer for Selinsgrove's single-season record. The win for Lupolt was also the 100th of his career.
The bullet shot from Aurand put the final touches on a sterling individual efforts by Selinsgrove's forwards. Aurand's first goal came in the 31st minute when he made a beautiful spin move around a Warrior Run defender on the goal line and buried a shot inside the far right post.
Dustin Moyer scored his first of two goals in the second half when he beat McWilliams to a loose, high-bouncing ball and punched it in the open goal. Warrior Run appeared to struggle with the speed and footwork of the Seals for much of the night. Eleven of Selinsgrove's 13 shots were on goal.
"It's tough to play a team for one time that you haven't seen before," Warrior Run head coach Doug Bastian said. "Perhaps we'd be able to react to some of their speed and so on if we knew we were going to play them a second time."
While Selinsgrove's offense picked apart Warrior Run's defense, the Seals' defense forced the Defenders into tough chances all night. Most of Warrior Run's offensive push came with just one or two players. There never seemed to be support for a crossing pass in front of the goal, and by the end of the game, the Defenders were letting loose with 25-yard shots hoping to find an uncovered part of the goal.
Selinsgrove changed up its defensive formation after three rough defensive games leading into last night's district semifinal. Lupolt changed from a flat-back defensive system to a diamond formation. It allowed the Seals to have one player cover the Defenders' dangerous offensive weapons while also having a second defender there for support.
It worked almost perfectly. Warrior Run's only goals came when Selinsgrove made a bad clear and Bower buried an open shot in the goal past a charging Travis Petrich, and when Elias George converted on a second-half penalty kick.
The Defenders also created just two second-half corner kicks and put just three of its eight shots on goal.
"I think the boys were somewhat reluctant to push forward for fear of a quick counterattack with their speed," Bastian said. "So our middies got caught back a little bit leaving our forwards on an island up there by themselves."
"We scouted them pretty thoroughly against Midd-West and we watched them here against Shamokin, and call me stupid or call us stupid as a coaching staff but we had to change our defense," Lupolt said. "We were very happy with our matchups. Our kids really responded to it. We've been preaching defense and that was part of the reason we shifted. But the kids really seemed to buy into the change."
WR-Austin Bower, 1:18; Se-Brady Dunkle (Dustin Moyer), 12:42; Se-David Aurand, 30:38; Se-Moyer, 49:20; Se-Aurand, 52:37; WR-Elias George (PK), 64:08; Se-Moyer, 72:15.
Shots: Selinsgrove 13, Warrior Run 8. Shots on goal: Selinsgrove 11, Warrior Run 3. Corner kicks: Selinsgrove 5, Warrior Run 2. Saves: Warrior Run 6 (Jason McWilliams); Selinsgrove 1 (Travis Petrich). Fouls: Selinsgrove 9, Warrior Run 8. Cards: Brady Dunkle, Selinsgrove (Yellow).
Record: Selinsgrove 17-3; Warrior Run 19-1.