Williamsport Millionaire teams eye titles

Last season didn’t end as either the Williamsport boys or girls soccer teams wanted as both lost in the district championship.

But that became motivation throughout the offseason to get back and go one step further. Consider that the goal for both teams this year: get back and hopefully claim that title.

“I think any time you lose in a district final, you are looking to use that to your advantage for the following season. We had a lot of kids experience the district final last year, so hopefully we can use it to our advantage,” Williams­port boys coach Lee Kaar said. “Right now, the kids are just concerned about our next game, which is Hazleton. You have to focus on every game rather than begin looking ahead.”

This year, Williamsport competes in the largest Class AAAA field after the PIAA expanded soccer to four classes. But for the Millionaires, that means just four teams in the tournament. Williamsport hosts Hazleton as part of a doubleheader today, with the girls playing at 4:30 and the boys at 6:30 at the Balls Mills Soccer Complex.

Hazleton is led by Jona­than Pozniak, who has a team-high 12 goals and six assists. The Cougars also have Josh Capriotti with seven goals and seven assists. But for the Million­aires, it’s the constant speed and pressure that plays to their advantage.

Up top, the Millionaires have the speedy Pombor Brothers in Kolachi and Tom, who can strike al­most at any time. Williams­port also has others, such as Gabe McKeon, Tiarnan Ferry and Lukas Radulski

“It’s the playoffs, so we expect a tough game. It’s win or your season is over, so every team has that extra motivation. Hazleton has some speed and they’ll look to counter and utilize their speed so we have to be ready for that,” Kaar said. “We’re fortunate enough to host the game against Hazleton, so we’re hoping our student section comes out to support both our girls and boys team.”

The boys last won a district title in 1995. None of the players on the current team were even born last time the Mil­lionaires hoisted a plaque. But the girls program is still searching for that first plaque and the players on the team are hoping this is the year it happens.

The past two seasons the Wil­liamsport girls have gotten close, reaching the district final, but both years, they came up just shy.

“The losses in the past two seasons really get us pumped up and motivate us to win the title,” Williamsport senior goalie Kaylee Hornberger said. “I know we really want that title this year and I believe we are a great team and have a great chance to win it.”

Hazleton’s girls have just one win this year, but got into the District 2-4 Class AAAA playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the four-team field.

The Millionaires are led up top by a speedy combination in Madison Bowman and Samantha Reeder, a duo that’s combined for 24 goals — 12 each — and 15 assists.

“I expect us to come out on top against Hazleton. We have played them before and it’ll be a nice game for us to mentally prepare ourselves throughout playoffs,” Horn­berger said. “We do know that they have good players throughout their lineup, so we know we can’t come out softly.