Top seed Green Hornets move on past the quarterfinals
By JON GERARDI
Before the game had started, Wellsboro boys coach John Shaffer told his team that in the district playoffs, it’s all about pressure and putting pressure on the other team.
Wellsboro has the speed to put on great pressure, that’s no secret, and it was on display on the turf at Balls Mills on Saturday evening against Southern Columbia.
The Green Hornets scored early and never really let up in the first half, scoring four goals in a 4-1 win over Southern Columbia in the District 4 Class A quarterfinals.
With the win, Wellsboro advances to face Benton on Tuesday at Loyalsock at 8.
“Our whole focus was trying to get an early goal, at least getting a lot of early possession and putting the pressure on the other team and once we did that, we were good to rock and roll,” Shaffer said.
Wellsboro controlled possession most of the first half, only yielding a handful of chances.
The Green Hornets led 3-0 before Southern Columbia scored a goal to avoid a shutout, when Gordon English sent a shot in toward the near left post from just inside of the 18 with 17:00 left in the first half. But Wellsboro quickly countered, scoring just two minutes later when Gabe Leach sent a corner perfectly inside of the 18 to Johnny Rowland, who headed in a goal high under the crossbar to put Wellsboro back ahead by three goals.
It was that quick counter by the Green Hornets that helped the Tigers prevent shifting any momentum and making it any closer than two goals briefly.
“We talk about five minutes after a goal we score or goal other team scores really important because it can be momentum changers. If we score goal, we want to keep the momentum. If we give up a goal, we got to get it back later,” Shaffer said. “So I was really proud of the boys. Gave up a bit of a fluky goal, kind of crash shot to near post, but being able to get that momentum back right away was excellent.”
Brett Rudy had the opening goal seven minutes into the game for the Green Hornets before assisting on a goal to Kaeden Mann with 25:53 remaining to go ahead, 2-0.
Wellsboro’s third goal came with 18:42 left when Tanner Runyan took a loose ball from outside the 18 and drilled a shot to around the center of the goal.
Wellsboro was constantly in Southern’s end, finding ways inside of the 18 to attempt to force shots and convert various chances and only allowed three Tiger shots on goal in the first 40 minutes.
The Tigers only managed one shot on goal in the second half when Michael Adamski sent a nice shot from inside the 18 toward the right post, only to see it hit the upright.
The Green Hornets had a few chances in the second half to score and kept up the pressure, but didn’t increase the lead in the final 40 minutes at all.
“The game was really physical in the first half and honestly were worried about cards I didn’t tell them to do it, but the boys definitely took their foot off the gas a little bit, weren’t pressing as hard because they didn’t want to get stuck into 50/50 challenges that might get interpreted the wrong way,” Shaffer said.
W-Brett Rudy, 33:29. W-Kaeden Mann (Rudy), 25:53. W-Tanner Runyan, 18:42. SCA-Gordon English, 17:00. W-Johnny Rowland (Gabe Leach corner), 15:14.
Shots: SCA 4, W 7. Corners; SCA 6, W 2. Saves: SCA (Ethan Dunkelberger) 3, W (Nate Redell) 0.
Records: Southern (9-10), Wellsboro (17-1-1)