Jon Gerardi on soccer: We’re spoiled here in District 4 with a lot of great soccer
One of the recurring thoughts I had on my slightly long drive back from Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg on Tuesday night after covering the Warrior Run girls in the state semifinals was just how spoiled we are here.
And I mean that in a good way. It’s absolutely no secret how much of a hot bed this area — and well, District 4 in general — is when it comes to high school soccer.
I can almost pencil in every year that I’ll be covering soccer well into late October and early November, and don’t take that as any sort of complaint from me. I love every second of it. I occasionally will be asked by people “don’t you get sick of the long road trips?” No, not really. Sure, sometimes driving two hours for a playoff game can get a little boring, but I’d rather be covering a game than sitting in the office.
For the second straight year, I get to make the trip down Route 15 to Hershey to cover a soccer state final. And that says a lot about the soccer here.
Our coverage area here has a ton of talented players and teams. Take this postseason for example as we had six teams reach the state playoffs and five of those teams won a district championship. That just showcases how good soccer is here in our coverage area alone.
The Warrior Run, Loyalsock and Montoursville girls are about as constant as you can get in terms of teams you know will be making a late run (all three were in states again this year, and two made it to the quarterfinals), and the Lewisburg boys are practically a given to be in the state tournament for awhile.
Not to mention this year has been a great one for area teams and athletes. For instance:
• The Warrior Run girls earned their third consecutive district championship for the first time in program history, and the Defenders’ senior class alone has appeared in four straight finals, losing the Class AA championship their freshman season to Montoursville.
• The Montoursville girls won their third title in four seasons, as that senior class leaves behind big shoes to fill, having won 71 career games in that time.
• The Williamsport boys and girls both earned district championships, the first since 1995 for the boys program and the first in program history for the girls. As if to make it even sweeter for the Millionaires, they both won them at home at Balls Mills on the same night.
• The Lewisburg boys won their third consecutive district title and is playing for a repeat state championship on Saturday afternoon.
• Warrior Run’s Madi Welliver set the state girls career shutouts record with 60.
• Josiah Hill broke the Wellsboro record for goals in a season with 41.
• The Jersey Shore boys made the playoffs for fourth consecutive season after just one playoff appearance prior to that run.
I consider myself lucky that I get to cover high school soccer here at The Sun-Gazette and cover as many talented teams and players as I do. The fact I know I’ll have teams in the state playoffs every year makes it even more enjoyable knowing I get to keep covering games for a while after the regular season comes to a close. There’s a reason I don’t plan any sort of vacations or time off during this time of the year.
Since 2006, District 4 has had at least one team in the state final every year except for 2007, 2012 and 2014. However, 2012 is the only year in that time span that no team from District 4 reached the semifinals, as the Montoursville girls got there in 2007 and the Warrior Run girls were there in 2014.
Just think about that for a second. Ten of the past 11 seasons a team from this district has either made it to the state semifinals or the championship. That’s an impressive streak for District 4.
But then again, anyone who follows high school soccer already knows this area is a hot bed for talented soccer. It’s no surprise to anyone who watches it.
It’s just a benefit of being spoiled covering soccer in this area. And consider me more than happy I’m writing here.
Gerardi covers high school soccer for The Sun-Gazette. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JonGerardi.