21-year district-title drought snapped by Williamsport boys

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport's Tom Pombor (9) is congratulated by team mates Terrance Hillman, left, and Sam Hillman (2) after scoring on a penalty kick with 17 minutes left in the second half.

It was a familiar sight as the Williamsport boys soccer team exited the turf field at the Balls Mills Soccer Club on Wednesday evening. Numerous players repeatedly kept grabbing their medals and taking a good look at them. Perhaps they were double checking to make sure it wasn’t just a dream and it was in fact real.

After all, it’s been a long time since the Williamsport boys soccer program has won a district championship. So you can’t blame the players for making sure it was real.

Williamsport finally snapped that championship drought by winning the District 2-4 Class AAAA subregional championship on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over Delaware Valley.

The Millionaires play the District 3 runner-up — either Hempfield or Elizabethtown — on Tuesday at a time and place to be determined in the first round of the state tournament.

It was bittersweet for the Millionaires finally snapping that 21-year skid and hoisting the district plaque at midfield at home.

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport's Tom Pombor (9) heads the ball over Delaware Valley's (23).

“You look back at a lot of the guys who didn’t get to experience this and I know it’s tough for them now, they don’t get to experience the medal and plaque, but they were part of putting in and setting the ground work, the attitude, for something like this and for these kids to set that ground work for these kids to come in and have those expectations where we expect that,” Williamsport coach Lee Kaar said. “We expect to be in the hunt come playoff time, so obviously enjoy it, but it’s a tribute to coaches before me and guys that have put a lot of time, energy and sweat into program before Phil Marrie, Dave Ferry, Dave Confair and I got here.”

The lone goal came with 17 minutes remaining in the game. After a foul in the box set up a penalty kick, Williamsport’s Tom Pombor lined up and cashed in on the opportunity. Pombor did a quick stutter step and drilled a shot to his right just inside the post.

“I was a little nervous,” Pombor said. “I kind of calmed down a little and placed it.”

“We have a list of guys we go down, and if Tom’s on the field, he’s the first guy to take a PK. He’s first guy to do a lot of things for us,” Kaar said. “But one thing I like about this group, if your team focuses in on just Tom, we’ve got other people that are more than willing and ready and able. There’s a difference between willing to step up and able to step up, and we have guys that are able to step up.”

Williamsport had chances to increase its lead after Pombor’s penalty kick. Pombor had a great chance with 14:20 to play, but his shot to the right post went just wide.

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport's Leo Daverio (8) and team mates are congratulated by fans after beating Delaware Valley for the District Championship at Balls Mills Wednesday.

Pombor ripped a shot with 8:30 to play from 15 yards out which Delaware Valley keeper Michael Odenahl dove to block. But as it remained in play, Kolachi Pombor nearly tapped it in for a goal, only to see it hit off the post before being cleared out.

Delaware Valley pressured late in the final three minutes attempting to net an equalizer, as Abrar Shamim and David Grady both had nice chances. But J.R. Confair came up with solid saves when needed and Williamsport’s back line continued to keep the Warriors from having open looks at the net.

“I talk a lot about our midfield, but J.R., the keeper, and our backline: Lukas (Radulski), Sam Penman, Alex Morrow, Zach Schwoyer, they’re tough,” Kaar said. “I’ll put them up against anybody. I’m very pleased with fact we kept our composure and still able to play. Wasn’t just straight kickball. Able to get some opportunities even after we scored the PK and moving forward from there.”

Williamsport had 10 shots on goal, eight of which came in the second half. Both shots on goal in the first half from the Millionaires came from Tom Pombor, including one excellent shot which hit off the crossbar.

Williamsport 1,

Delaware Valley 0

W–Tom Pombor (penalty kick), 17:00.

Shots: DV 4, W 10. Corners: DV 3, W 6. Saves: DV (Michael Odenahl 6, Daniel Bradley 1), W (J.R. Confair) 4.