Green Dragons three-peat their D4 championship

KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette Chris Sauer of Midd-West slide tackles Adam Cole of Lewisburg while Midd-West’s Devan Leister looks in Tuesday night at Balls Mills.



Lewisburg coach Skip Kratzer knew the Green Dragons had the ability to score a goal off a throw in. Kratzer and his staff knew that it was just a matter of time before they converted. So when Mateo Bernas re-entered the game just over midway into the second half and Nate Liscum went to take the throw in, Kratzer definitely was happy to see the end result unfold.

Liscum stood at the side and threw a great ball inside of the 18. From there, Bernas took it, wasted no time at all and went to the left post to score.

That goal by Bernas proved to be the difference maker, as Lewisburg de­feated Midd-West, 1-0, in the District 4 Class AA championship at the Balls Mills Soccer Complex on Thursday night in what proved to be the type of game you’d expect out of Midd-West and Lewisburg: a physical contest.

“We knew this was going to be this game. This is a traditional Lewis­burg/­Midd-West game. They come in and beat the heck out of us and we stand up and pick ourselves back up and keep going,” Kratzer said. “That’s just the game, that’s what’s to be expected when these two teams play.”

It’s the third consecutive District 4 championship for the Green Dragons (19-1) and also the seventh consecutive shutout for Lewisburg. The Green Dragons advance to play Wyoming Seminary on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.

Only the champion from the boys Class AA field advances to the state tournament.

“Lot of respect to Midd-West because we knew they were going to come out and give us a good game and they definitely did that, definitely great game,” Lewisburg senior Joey Bhangdia said. “Tough to beat same team three years in a row for district championship. We just give props to them because they played their hearts out.”

Bernas played Liscum’s throw in perfectly to score what would be the only goal of the night with 17:11 to play

“We held him there until we decided we needed a little spark out there and lo and behold, 30 seconds in, he finds the back,” Lewisburg coach Skip Kratzer said. “We’ve been trying to get one of those and knew it was coming sooner or later, so it was good to see.”

While Lewisburg did on­ly score that one goal against Midd-West (14-4-1), Bhangdia had two chances in a 90-second span early in the game to have made it a 2-0 game.

Bhangdia took a shot with 34:20 to play off a free kick 25 yards out and drilled it to the top left corner, only to have it hit the upright. Then with 33:05 to play in the first half, Bhangdia had a nice sliding shot from just outside of the goal box that was sent high, just hitting the very top of the crossbar.

“I think we had a couple opportunities early, thought we were really successful early on going around corners and then all of a sudden, we kind of forgot that’s where we were finding our success and we were trying to hold the ball too long in the middle and that’s exactly what they wanted us to do,” Lewisburg coach Skip Kratzer said. “They man-marked Nate (Liscum) in back in d-mid position, anytime ball got close, they’d be in there trying to turn one over and go quick to counter us.”

The Green Dragons held a 5-2 shots-on-goal advantage, and fired a total of 10 shots to Midd-West’s three. In the first half, those Lewisburg shots seemed to be just a tad off the mark. Wil Brock had a nice first-half shot that was fired from outside the 18 right to Midd-West’s goalie, Tyler Martin, who caught it.

In the second half, Bhangdia had a nice shot on goal from another free kick about 25 yards deep, but Martin made a stop to prevent it from being a two-goal deficit.

In the final 7:30 of the game, Midd-West lost two talented players in Cole Sauer and Trevor Leitzel to yellow cards, taking away two weapons to try to net an equalizer against the Green Dragons late.

“It is tough, but guys that were on the field poured everything they had for it,” Midd-West coach Chris Sauer said. “You can’t be upset about that.”

Midd-West’s Carter Knepp had a nice shot about six minutes into the second half from outside the 18, but Lewisburg goalie Ryan Ehmann prevented it from being a goal, preserving the seventh consecutive shutout for Lewisburg.

L–Mateo Bernas (Nate Liscum), 17:11.

Shots: MW 2, L 5. Corners: MW 0, L 5. Saves: MW (Tyler Martin) 2, L (Ryan Ehmann) 2.

Records: Lewisburg (19-1), Midd-West (14-4-1). Next game: Lewisburg vs. Wyoming Seminary, Tuesday, TBD.