Athens senior Rachael Donnelly gave her team the "It doesn't matter how hard you can hit, it matters how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward" speech made famous by Rocky Balboa. The Lady Wildcats gave some hard jabs, but the Defenders of Warrior Run dished out some haymakers.
Warrior Run sophomore Olivia George netted two first-half goals en route to a 4-0 win over Athens Monday night at Balls Mills in the District 4 Class AA semifinals.
Warrior Run will play Montoursville for the district title at a time and place to be announced.
Warrior Run goal keeper Madi Welliver makes an over-the-shoulder catch for a save Monday vs. Athens at the Balls Mills soccer club.
The Defenders' first goal came at the 10:58 mark, when Rachel Grow scored off a deflection off the crossbar, then George scored the next two to make it 3-0. George's first goal came off a nice assist from Grow and her second came off a corner. The ball got lost in a group of players, the keeper fell down and George just knocked it in.
Warrior Run's final goal was scored at 41:16 by Laura Bastian off a penalty kick.
George is just a sophomore and has already had many goals in her short career, but these two rank as some of her more memorable.
"I think maybe there our biggest team goals," said an energetic George. "Because I know personally, I didn't earn it myself because both of them were because of somebody else."
One of those goals came off a great pass by fellow sophomore Grow, who also had a goal in the win and ranks this goal as her most important of her career.
"Well yeah, I don't score that often," said Grow. "And it was my second one of the season and it was a header, it came from Laura (Bastian), then Chloe (Eisenhuth) and I was just there to touch it in."
The biggest reason that Warrior Run kept possession for the majority of the game and had 15 shots on goal was because of the hustle by senior Chloe Eisenhuth who was all over the field.
"We came in the game real pumped up, I was really excited," said Eisenhuth. "We play every game like it's our last and that's what inspires us, that's what personally inspires me. I want to win every ball in the air because I feel like that's my contribution to the team because I can't always score, it's exciting to see your teammates score, like you're happy for them."
Goalie Maddi Welliver played a good game, as she saved six shots to get the shutout and she had a great defense in front of her the whole game.
McKenna Beyer, Laura Bastian, Madison Bennett and Gabby Heiss all played great on defense and shut down the Athens offense for 80 minutes.
"My defense has been tough all year," said Warrior Run coach Jen Allen. "They hustle, they're going to make you challenge for it. Bennett, Bastian, Gabby and McKenna they're tough back there. They play smart and they cover for each other and they communicate."
Athens came out tough and wasn't going to be pushed around, but that toughness didn't translate into goals. Athens hustled from start to finish but couldn't get enough opportunities and couldn't stop the Warrior Run offense.
Warrior Run- Rachael Grow, 10:58; Olivia George (Grow) 13:16; George, 32:15; Laura Bastian (PK), 41:16.
Shots on goal: WR-15; A- 7. Corner kicks: WR- 12; A- 2. Saves: WR- 6; A- 11.
Goalies: Warrior Run (Madi Welliver); Athens (Morgan Westbrook) Records: Warrior Run (14-5-1)
Next: Warrior Run vs. Montoursville in District Championship (Time and place TBA)