WHS teams take another crack at states

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette
Williamsport’s girls soccer team won its second District 2-4 AAAA title this past week.

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Williamsport’s girls soccer team won its second District 2-4 AAAA title this past week.

After the Williamsport boys team took their district medals, posed for photos with the plaque and each other, coach Lee Kaar got them all together on the pitch in a huddle to congratulate them after defeating Delaware Valley, 4-1, in Thursday’s District 2-4 Class AAAA subregional championship.

But one statement seemed to ring out louder than everything else he had told his team.

“Don’t be satisfied with this,” Kaar said.

Sure, a repeat district championship was nice, but that isn’t the end goal.

“We want to be able to do something at states. We got to take Tuesday’s first game and play all 80 minutes, but we don’t want to just be satisfied with making state tournament and be like ‘Ah we won districts, we made the state tournament,'” Kaar said after beating Delaware Valley on Thursday. “We want to see what we can do. I wouldn’t say last year we were just satisfied with making state tournament, but at same time I don’t know if we realized our potential when we were there. I think the group here does. I’m excited for Tuesday.”

The Millionaires (15-4) play the District 3 runner-up, Cumberland Valley, on Tuesday at 7 at Loyalsock.

Williamsport has plenty of weapons up top, which has helped them become a tough team to focus on from a defensive standpoint. Tom Pombor had a hat trick against Delaware Valley, but focus on him and Tiarnan Ferry, Sam Hillman or others can attack.

“He’s a special player. We have a bunch of them. He’s one of them,” Kaar said of Pombor. “I know teams will often cue in on Tom or T (Ferry) or Sam Hillman or Simon (Wallace), so we have a lot of guys that can punish you.”

Ferry has a team-high 28 goals for Williamsport — second most in the area — while Pombor is second with 23.

Like the Williamsport boys, the Williamsport girls (14-6) also get the District 3 runner-up in Gov. Mifflin on Tuesday at 5 at Loyalsock.

Governor Mifflin didn’t rout anyone throughout districts, winning its first three games by just one goal, beating Mechanicsburg, 1-0, Cumberland Valley in overtime, 2-1, and Manheim Township in the semifinals, 1-0.

“We wanted to repeat and now we want to move on,” Williamsport coach Scott McNeill said. “We want to get into the state tournament. We’re in the state tournament and we want to move on and try to get into quarters or semis.”

Last year, the Millionaires boys and girls teams both had first-round losses.

“We played scared, but now I expect them to perform better,” McNeill said.

“We’re really going to try to make it past first round of states,” Williamsport senior Madison Bowman said. “Last year was just awesome that we made it to the first round. This year, we want to accomplish more than that and make it farther.”

The Millionaires have a ton of speed up top between Bowman, Aaryka Goodwell, Katie Penman and Sammy Reeder.

“It’s amazing. It’s unbreakable,” Bowman said. “Anything can happen with us. Everybody’s fast and works together so well. It’s impossible for the defense to defend us.”

Reeder leads Williamsport with 15 goals while Penman has 14.

And for Bowman, last year’s loss is only beneficial this year for experience.

“We were extremely scared going in. No clue. Never seen any teams other than own district and District 4, but now we got a glimpse of them and we’re much better prepared,” said Bowman.

CLASS A BOYS

Four years ago, the Wellsboro boys made it into the state tournament for the first time and the Green Hornets were beat convincingly, 7-1.

Now? After winning the program’s first district championship, the Green Hornets are hoping to continue this season by winning a state tournament game and are using a bit of doubt from opponents as motivation.

“We’re looking to shock the world. I guarantee teams from lower District 3 are not necessarily taking an NTL team that seriously. We’re just looking to go down and put our best foot forward,” Wellsboro coach John Shaffer said after a 1-0 win over Millville Thursday. “We’re looking to be competitive and anything from here is just icing on the cake.”

For Wellsboro (18-1-1), that state run begins with District 3 runner-up Greenwood on Tuesday.

The Green Hornets have shown they have an extremely fast offensive team and a defense that makes it hard for teams to score against.

Noah Fitch and Brett Rudy both have 19 goals this year and Tanner Runyan leads the team with 28.

Greenwood has a solid offense like Wellsboro, having scored 89 goals this year and averaging almost four goals per game. But that tough offense may be in for a tough test against Wellsboro, which has only yielded nine goals all year and makes it difficult for teams to fire shots against it.

CLASS AA BOYS

The Green Dragons (20-1) have made a lot of school history the past few years. They ran the table in 2015, going 25-0 and winning the program’s second state championship.

Last year they had just one loss and won the first repeat state championships in school history.

This year, they’d like to become the first school to ever win three in a row, but that run begins on Tuesday as Lewisburg faces Scranton Prep.

The Green Dragons did win a fourth consecutive district championship for the first time in program history on Thursday by beating Midd-West in double overtime, 1-0, to clinch a state appearance.

Lewisburg also became the first District 4 team to win four consecutive district championships since East Juniata did it in Class A from 2009-12.

“We’re thrilled. We live for this time of year, we really enjoy this. I’m happy to have the opportunity to defend the title and hey, no team’s ever won three state championships just like no Lewisburg team has won four district championships.”

Lewisburg is a little familiar with Scranton Prep, a team the Green Dragons scrimmaged earlier this year.

“We know they’re a quality program and I don’t think they’ve lost a game up north, maybe one tie, so I expect it not to be an easy run to get to Hershey,” Kratzer said. “So we got to get through that first District 2 team and Prep’s going to be a tough one.”

Ben Liscum has put together a great freshman season with Lewisburg, scoring a team-high 22 goals and 15 assists while Tommy Bhangdia has 18 and 12.

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