As teams aplenty fell last Saturday in the District 4 soccer playoffs and continued that trend in the tournament's semifinal rounds during the week, one remained a constant - Loyalsock.
The Lancer girls, the top seed in the Class A playoffs, ended the regular season on a tear, shutting out then undefeated Warrior Run, 1-0. Loyalsock then earned a share of the league title with a 1-0 win over Southern Columbia, an eventual playoff opponent.
Ending the season on a high was just the starting point for the Lancers, who have outscored the opposition 12-0 over the course of three playoff games. And with 11 of those goals coming against less than impressive talent, Loyalsock muscled a 1-0 win over No. 4 Southern Columbia in the semifinals to stay hot. It was the third time this season Loyalsock beat the Tigers.
Loyalsock meets the No. 2 seeded East Juniata Tigers tonight at 7 p.m. for the District 4 Class A championship at Raymond H. Perritt Stadium in Hughesville.
"Honestly, I think we are capable of winning anything right now," Loyalsock senior Asia Ungard said. "The way we've played since beating Warrior Run we could go all the way through states. It give us the best confidence beating teams like Warrior Run and Southern Columbia. They are good teams we've had to play in districts and states. And beating them shows us we can do anything."
And Loyalsock is playing like it's capable of beating any team standing in front of it. The defense, led by players like Ally Kennedy, has made it difficult for teams to even take shots, let alone quality ones or even score.
All this and still one of the area's top keepers waiting to clean up in the chance the defense makes a mistake.
"We're at the top. We're at the peak of our game right now," senior keeper Amanda Daneker said. "We're just one big family right now. And we're doing it at the right time."
The Lancers have received inspired performances from their seniors. Ungard chased down long balls twice in the Southern Columbia game, once changing possession in a difficult stretch in the second half.
"She's just playing out of her mind right now," Loyalsock coach Ben Comfort said of Ungard. "She's a senior and you can tell that she wants it. She doesn't always show up in the stat book, but her play shows up on the field. And other teams realize that."
One of the team's other seniors, midfielder Morgan Chambers, has been the difference. In the team's opening round game against Wyalusing, Chambers scored by heading a corner past the keeper. Chambers also helped keep the ball deep in Southern's zone throughout the first half of the semifinal matchup.
"When you play the top competition you're only going to get a few chances in a half," Chambers said. "And when you're dominating play you need to capitalize."
On the boy's side, Lewisburg defeated Danville, 1-0, to advance into the District 4 Class AA final against Selinsgrove, a 5-2 winner over Warrior Run. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. start tonight at Loyalsock.
Lewisburg had mixed results against Selinsgrove in the regular season, losing the first match-up at Selinsgrove, 2-0, and then defeating the Seals, 4-2, at home.
Lewisburg's focus going into the game will Dustin Moyer, who scored twice an assisted on another goal in the team's semifinal win over Warrior Run.
Nikolas Janesch scored the lone goal in Lewisburg's semifinal win and will be leaned on once again for a big effort Saturday night.
Predictions: No. 1 Loyalsock 2, No. 2 East Juniata 0; No. 4 Selinsgrove 3, No. 3 Lewisburg 2. Follow @brettcrossley44 for Twitter updates tonight.