Before the Warrior Run-Central Columbia game, someone in the press box said, "Their defense is probably the best in District 4," referring to the Central Columbia defense. That statement might have changed.
Warrior Run defeated the former one-loss Central Columbia Blue Jays 1-0 in the District 4 Class AA semifinals Tuesday evening at Loyalsock. Warrior Run will join the girls team in the District 4 championship. The Defenders will play Danville Thursday at Central Columbia at 7.
The Defenders won with a stifling defense and an opportunistic offense.
Warrior Run goal keeper Jason McWilliams grabs the ball from between the legs of Eric Fitzgerald of Central Columbia for a save in the first half Tuesday at Loyalsock. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
Zach Miller scored off an assist from Elias George at 35:45. It was a good pass from George from the right side of the goal and Miller fired it into the bottom corner.
Warrior Run gained a lot of confidence after beating Midd-West in the quarterfinals Saturday and now the Defenders' confidence is at an all-time high.
"It keeps us in after beating Midd-West," said Miller. "You know I feel, actually coming into Midd-West we gained a lot of confidence. The chemistry was good and then after we beat them, you know in school we're always pumped up, we're always looking forward to games and during the regular season just as much but now after we're getting these big wins we're all ready to play."
Coming into the game Central Columbia had only allowed five goals all season and held the Warrior Run offense in check, but the Defenders made the most of their opportunities.
"We tried our best," said Warrior Run coach Doug Bastian of his team's offense, "Central Columbia's only given up five goals all year, so we know they can play tremendous team defense And obviously we had one great opportunity and scored on it when it was all said and done."
Warrior Run would've had no chance if it wasn't for the play of the defense and senior goalie Jason McWilliams.
Nick McCormack, James Hamm, Masen Wagner and Chase Snyder all played amazing and didn't allow Central Columbia many shots on goal.
"I give a lot of props to my back line," said Snyder, who time after time made huge plays. "We got James Hamm back this week and that really helped us. We've been dealing with injuries so we've been a little flat on the back line. We've been working on marking and team defense all week in practice and that really helped us tonight."
McWilliams played an outstanding game and saved seven shots in the win. McWilliams biggest save came in the 65th minute when he was caught one-on-one, but he reached out and knocked it away.
McWilliams knew he couldn't let up his guard until the clock was all the way down to zero because he saw Wellsboro score with 11 seconds to go against Millville earlier in the year.
"I knew I had to play on my toes," said McWilliams. "I knew that they were going to have the ball and maintain possession and they were going to look for the scoring opportunities in the last minute. So I knew I had to be ready."
Warrior Run- Zach Miller (Elias George), 35:45.
Shots on goal: WR- 5; CC- 7. Corner kicks: WR- 3; CC- 2. Saves: WR- 7; CC- 4. Goalies: Warrior Run (Jason McWilliams). Central Columbia (Brandon Yocum)
Records: Warrior Run (15-5) Central Columbia (18-2) Next: Warrior Run vs. Danville in District Championship (Thu. 7)