Making the case for the best soccer teams from each area school

With the 2018 World Cup’s round of 16 games just getting started and underway, plenty of area readers are no doubt thinking about soccer. And with that vested interest in national soccer at the forefront of people’s minds, it’s the perfect time to pose the question “who is the best soccer team from each area school?”

Every year, people will mention how talented this team or that team is, or how a team that lost in districts caught a bad break and should have easily made a deep state playoff run.

Usually it’s just getting caught up in the moment. But obviously, every school does have one team in its history that can make the claim that they’re truly the best their school has ever produced.

Some won a state title, some won a district championship and some just made a deep district run. But regardless, just who is the best team from each school?

Let’s take a look at each area school and figure out just who can make the case that they’re the best.

GIRLS SOCCER

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

Best team: 2006

Record: 16-3-3

Postseason: Won District 6 Class AAA championship; lost in state semifinals

Notable players: Sam Lofton, Sara Hawksworth, Meghan Gill, Kristen Gedon

All-state players: Meghan Gill

Details: Central Mountain made the program’s first state tournament berth since Lock Haven in 1998 and got to the state semifinals for the first time in program history. The Wildcats went 16-3-3 and defeated Somerset in the District 6 Class AAA semifinals before winning the championship thanks to a hat trick by Meghan Gill, the last district championship the Wildcats have won. Central Mountain beat Owen J. Roberts in the state quarterfinals before losing to Downingtown West in the next round, 1-0. The Wildcats had a ton of talent on that team with three players who eventually all were named all-state in defender Sam Lofton and midfielders Sara Hawksworth and Gill. Lofton and Gill both played at Division 1 schools at James Madison University and Penn State, respectively, and Lofton ended up being drafted after college in the NWSL for the Boston Breakers. Center back and team captain Kristen Gedon also went on to play at Misericordia. That team also featured freshman Jackie Rodabaugh, who went on to become the program’s all-time goal scorer with 85 career goals.

Honorable mention: In 1994, Lock Haven won the first of three consecutive district championships by going 20-2-1 and besting Moon, 4-1, in the first round of the state tournament before losing in a shootout to Ringgold in the quarterfinals, 3-0. That team featured Jessica Savani, who was named all-state her senior year. In fact, Savani is to date the only area player — boys or girls — to be named all-state in three consecutive seasons (1992-94).

HUGHESVILLE

Best team: 2009

Record: 12-10-1

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class AA semifinals

Notable players: Greta Newhart, Sara Guthrie, Kaylnn Newmann, Devanney Hanford

All-state players: None

Details: The Spartans entered the postseason in 2009 as the 16th-seeded team in the field but made an impressive run, coming up just shy of getting to the district championship game and a state tournament berth. After going six seasons without winning a district playoff game, the Spartans routed CMVT, 10-0, in the opener of the Class AA playoffs thanks to Greta Newhart, Kaylnn Newmann and Devanney Hanford all scoring. Hughesville won three straight playoff games that year, going on to upset top-seeded and undefeated Troy in the second round thanks to a great header by Newmann. The Spartans also outlasted East Juniata in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals to win, 4-3, after being tied after two overtimes, 3-3. Angela DiRocco scored the game-tying goal with about three minutes left against the Tigers. Guthrie had a huge block on a shot by East Juniata’s Kayla Hoke to seal the penalty kick win as Newman, Angela DiRocco and Steph Feldser all converted their kicks. The Spartans dropped back-to-back games to end the year, falling to Montoursville, 4-0, in the district semifinals and then lost, 2-1, to eventual state champion Loyalsock after the Lancers scored two unanswered goals once Hughesville took an early 1-0 lead on a Newmann goal in the consolation game. Newmann scored a goal in four of Hughesville’s five postseason games that season and while they fell shy of the championship game, it was just the second time in the 2000s to date Hughesville appeared in a district semifinal.

Honorable mention: A very good case could be argued for the 1996 Spartans, which went 17-5 and were declared West Branch Conference co-champions alongside Sullivan County before losing in the district playoffs. That team had a lot of talented players, including Laura Anderson, Nelli Ingram, Kara Eichenlaub and Sherry Fenstermacher.

LEWISBURG

Best team: 2009

Record: 21-3-1

Postseason: Won District 4 Class AA championship, lost in state semifinals

Notable players: Kalyn Fisher, Jenny Byerly, Emily Lesher, Emily Cole, Jenna Wargo

All-state players: None

Details: The 2009 Green Dragons won the most games in a single season in the 2000s and came within one game of getting to the PIAA Class AA championship. The Green Dragons lost all-state forward and the program’s all-time goal scorer Allysia Ketchum to graduation from the year prior, but still had a solid squad. The Green Dragons beat Millville, Bloomsburg, Loyalsock and Montoursville — four very solid teams — in order in districts to win the program’s last district championship and beat Montrose and St. Pius X in the state playoffs. Lewisburg came up shy of a state final appearance after falling to Loyalsock in the semifinals, who went on to win the state championship that season. But that postseason run, Lewisburg played excellent both offensively and defensively, outscoring six playoff opponents a combined 32-3. Credit not only Lewisburg’s defense that year, but Jenna Wargo in goal. That team featured a lot of talented players including Emily Lesher, Emily Cole and six-time track and field state champion Kayln Fisher.

Honorable mention: The Green Dragons were 18-3-1 in 1998 and entered the district tournament with just two losses, but came up shy of earning a district championship.

LOYALSOCK

Best team: 2009

Record: 21-4-1

Postseason: Won Class AA state championship

Notable players: Cassaundra Soars, Marlee Hibbs, Hannah Scheibeler

All-state players: Marlee Hibbs

Details: After starting the season 0-3, Loyalsock proceeded to only lose one game the rest of the year en route to claiming the program’s only state championship after defeating Springdale, 1-0. The Lancers proved they could battle in close games, winning consecutive games in the state quarterfinals and semifinals in shootouts against fellow District 4 teams Montoursville and Lewisburg, respectively, before winning the state championship. Winning back-to-back shootouts against two traditionally solid District 4 teams in states? Easier said than done, but Loyalsock weathered that storm and did just that. That Lancer team didn’t win districts and lost in the semifinals to Lewisburg, but made a state run as the district’s third-place finisher to get to Hershey. The Lancers had solid players including Cassaundra Soars, Hannah Scheibeler and all-state player Marlee Hibbs. Loyalsock also won the HAC-II that year with a 12-1-1 league record.

Honorable mention: Loyalsock had a lot of really great teams throughout the 2000s and picking an honorable mention was far from easy. In 2010, Loyalsock looked like it would get back to the state championship. The Lancers ended 21-2-1, won the league championship and beat Warrior Run, 3-1, to win the District 4 championship. In states, Loyalsock had a tough string of games, having to beat Minersville and then Southern Columbia — in penalty kicks — before falling to eventual state champion Warrior Run in the semifinals. The Lancers were led by Cassaundra Soars, who went on to become a 50-goal scorer wtih the Lancers. … A strong case could be argued as well for the 2015 Lancers, which got to the state final and lost to perennial power Trinity. Sophomore Rhiallie Jessell and junior Myriah Saar led the Lancers that year, combining for nearly 50 goals and making a really great 1-2 offensive punch.

MILTON

Best team: 2008

Record: 17-4-1

Postseason: Won District 4 Class AAA championship, lost in state quarterfinals

Notable players: Caitlin Landis, Lindsay Dunkle, Mandy Metzger, Ali Derr, Moira Nester, Alexa Shuman

All-state players: None

Details: This was the last Black Panthers’ team to win a district championship and Caitlin Landis was instrumental for that team. Landis beecame the school’s all-time scorer that year with 101, breaking her sister Chelsea’s mark of 83, and scored a career-high 41 goals while dishing out 18 assists and was easily one of the toughest players in District 4 to defend that season. It was Landis’ dangerous play up top that helped Milton go 17-4-1 while claiming a district championship after two consecutive seasons of being runners-up. Consider the 2008 team the one to get the monkey off their backs after those past two seasons ended just shy of hoisting the trophy. The Black Panthers beat State College in the first round of the Class AAA state tournament, 3-2, in overtime before falling to Downingtown West, 2-1, in the quarterfinals.

Honorable mention: Milton had a solid team in 2003 that went 18-5, the most wins in a single season in the 2000s. The Black Panthers won the Susquehanna Valley League East Division title that year and came up just shy of winning a district championship by falling to Shikellamy. The Black Panthers lost to Bishop Shanahan in overtime in states, 4-3.

MONTGOMERY

Best team: 2006

Record: 15-5-1

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class A playoffs

Notable players: Sam Andrews, Jess Michael, Brittany Dewalt, Andrea Amato

All-state players: None

Details: The Red Raiders didn’t make a deep run in the postseason this year or even get far in districts, but it was a bit of a stepping stone for the program. Two years prior the Red Raiders got into the district playoffs for first time in program history, and the 2006 team played very competitively against Line Mountain, falling 2-1. And if it wasn’t for a late goal by Line Mountain in the final two minutes of regulation, the Red Raiders would have earned the program’s first postseason win. Sam Andrews was a junior on this team and was a big reason the Red Raiders won 15 games. Andrews went on to become the program’s all-time goal scorer until it was broken in 2015 by Kiara Fry. Andrews scored 30 goals in 2006 and was tough for opponents to neutralize throughout the season. Andrews would go on to score 25 goals as a senior in 2007. In addition to Andrews, the Red Raiders also had Jess Michael, Brittany Dewalt and Andrea Amato on that team.

Honorable mention: Consider the 2004 Montgomery team the one that helped Montgomery turn the corner. The Red Raiders went 12-5-2 and made districts for the first time before losing to Mount Carmel in the first round of the District 4 Class AA playoffs, 4-0.

MONTOURSVILLE

Best team: 2008

Record: 21-2

Postseason: Won Class AA state championship

Notable players: Tesa McKibben, Audra Larson, Marissa Spitler, Brianna Spitler, Adrienne Di Fiore, Lauren Dawes

All-state players: Tesa McKibben

Details: The Montoursville girls soccer program has had a long tradition of very talented teams, but the 2008 team is the cream of the crop. Tesa McKibben and Co. led the Warriors to a 21-2 record. Much like Loyalsock did in 2009, Montoursville failed to win the district championship that year — falling to Loyalsock, 3-1 in semifinals — but rebounded with a consolation game win to then make a run in the state tournament. The Warriors beat South Park in the championship game, 3-1, as Marissa Spitler and Brianna Spitler played solid in the midfield, McKibben played excellent up top and defensively, Lauren Dawes and Adrienne Di Fiore helped anchor the back line while Audra Larson helped preserve the win in goal. Credit the Montoursville defense that postseason and Dawson in goal, as the Warriors only allowed two goals in the state tournament, beating Richland (2-0), Lewisburg (4-1) and Loyalsock (1-0) to get to the state championship.

Honorable mention: The Warriors came up one win shy of getting to the state final in 2007, going 22-5 while winning the Susquehanna Valley Conference league title. After winning districts and beating East Juniata and Loyalsock in consecutive state games, the Warriors lost to Villa Marie Joseph in the state semifinals, 2-1. Villa Marie Joseph would go on to be declared co champions that season with South Park. It was also the Warriors’ first district title since 2004. Not to mention Tesa McKibben was a tough player to contain, having scored 45 goals in 2007.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT

Best team: 2006

Record: 27-0-2

Postseason: Won Class AA state championship

Notable players: Christa Matlack, Kate Baldys, Kaitlyn Bower, Abby Baldys, Trista Lukens

All-state players: Christa Matlack

Details: Hard to argue the best team the Mounties’ ever had in program history wasn’t their state championship team — the first girls team in District 4 to ever win a state title — and go the entire season without losing a single game. Fun fact, that 2006 team is the only District 4 girls soccer team to go undefeated and win a state title. That Mounties team was led by Kate Baldys and future four-year Bucknell starter Christa Matlack, a 1-2 duo that helped South Williamsport go 27-0-2 and cruise throughout the playoffs. The Mounties only allowed three goals that postseason as Trista Lukens played excellent all year in goal, and South never allowed more than one goal in a game that postseason as they defeated Athens, Montoursville and Danville in states before beating Greensburg Central Catholic, 3-1, to claim the state championship. South scored 168 goals, the most by a District 4 girls team in a season according to the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association. Defensively, Abby Baldys, Katie Ebner, Danielle Barr, Becky Lachat and Ashley Sitler helped make South Williamsport’s defense tough to score against. Matlack scored an impressive 58 goals that season, two away from her career-high of 60 in 2005. Baldys ended her career with 98 career assists, which stood as the District 4 career record until Sayre’s Chloe Tracy in 2016 who became the only player in district history with 100 career assists.

Honorable mention: In 2005, the Mounties only lost four games, two of which came in the postseason. South fell to Midd-West in the District 4 Class AA final and then Villa Marie Joseph in the quarterfinals. As a junior that year, Matlack scored 60 goals, becoming the first player in District 4 history — boys or girls — to score 60 or more goals in a single season, a feat that has been accomplished only twice since: Troy’s Caitlin Pratt scored 64 in 2009 and Millville’s Maci Bower had 80 in 2014.

ST. JOHN NEUMANN

Best team: 2008

Record: 9-9-2

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class AA quarterfinals

Notable players: Carinne Beiter, Sandra Szczepanek, Jolene Hiller

All-state players: None

Details: This St. John Neumann team was the last to accomplish a handful of things. They were the last Golden Knights team to get to the district playoffs, the last team to have a .500 or better record and also the last team to earn a postseason win. The Golden Knights opened the postseason with a 3-1 win over Wellsboro in the District 4 Class AA playoffs that year before losing in a rout to Montoursville in the quarterfinals, the eventual state champions that season. That win though would be the first postseason victory for the Golden Knights in program history and marked the third consecutive postseason appearance for St. John Neumann. Carinne Beiter etched her name in school history that year by becoming the girls’ all-time goal scoring leader with 56, a mark that stood until Shayna McNamee tied it in 2017. The team also featured some talented players in Sandra Szczepanek and goalie Jolene Hiller.

Honorable mention: In 1996, Bishop Neumann went 12-8-2 to get into the playoffs thanks to a team that featured Heather O’Neill, Lauren Callahan and Beth Collins.

SULLIVAN COUNTY

Best team: 2017

Record: 15-5

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class A semifinals

Notable players: Macy McCarthy, Sophia Springman, Bethany Beinlich, Makenna Amer, Stefanie Kramer

All-state players: Macy McCarthy

Details: The Griffins made history in various forms in 2017. From a personal standpoint, Macy McCarthy became the only girls player in school history to score over 100 goals in a career, and scored an impressive 43 her senior year to end with 111, ninth all-time in District 4 girls scoring history. She not only was a Mid-Penn first-team all-star at forward, but also was named all-state, the first all-state girls player from Sullivan County since Jen Mercer in 2000. From a team standpoint, McCarthy, Bethany Beinlich, Stefanie Kramer and others helped the Griffins go 15-5 and win the first postseason game in program history by defeating Line Mountain in the district quarterfinals before a tough loss to eventual state semifinalists East Juniata in the semifinals, coming one game shy of making the first appearance in a district final. Give credit to coach Pete Swinick for helping build the program up that went 0-18 just four seasons prior.

Honorable mention: The Griffins were 18-3 in 1996 and were named West Branch Conference co-champions with Hughesville and played excellent that entire season and a solid case could be made for them. The Griffins only had two losses entering the district postseason before losing in the first round despite a very good team. That team had midfielders Sarah Hoppes, Jody Karge and Stevie Eberlin, defender Colleen Baumunk and goalie Sara Sysock and also had forward Mary Kate Ryan. Take into account too that team featured two eventual all-state players in Ryan (1998) and Baumunk (1999) Not bad to have two future all-state players on the same team together.

WARRIOR RUN

Best team: 2011

Record: 21-2-2

Postseason: Won Class A state championship

Notable players: Chloe Eisenhuth, Taylor Landis, Reda Vermilya, Alexa Muffly, Sarah Grow, Laura Bastian

All-state players: Alexa Muffly

Details: The second of back-to-back state championship teams, the only girls program to ever win repeat state championships from District 4. The Defenders lost to Loyalsock in the District 4 Class A championship game that year, but went on to run through states and go on to defeat Springdale in the championship game, 3-1. Impressive for Jen Allen to win two state titles in her first two years as head coach. The team featured Chloe Eisenhuth and Taylor Landis, two talented players who went on to play at Susquehanna and Lock Haven University, respectively. Defenders Laura Bastian and Alexa Muffly helped anchor Warrior Run’s back line and Reda Vermilya was excellent in goal. Muffly also was named all-state for the Defenders. Warrior Run opened the state tournament with back-to-back shutouts over Lancaster Country Day (2-0) and Christopher Dock (3-0) before edging out Loyalsock in the state semifinals in overtime, 2-1.

Honorable mention: You could easily make the argument that the 2010 Warrior Run team is the best team. In 2010, Warrior Run went 21-4-1 and, much like in 2011, lost to Loyalsock in the district final. But despite losing in the district final, the Defenders rebounded with four wins in states, including beating Loyalsock in the state semifinals, to beat Sewickley Academy for the program’s first state championship. The Defenders started 1-1-1 that year, rattled off a five-game winning streak and kept rolling from there. That 2010 team featured Taylor Landis, who had 25 goals and 14 assists and Mariah Campbell (14 goals, 13 assists). Laura Bastian also helped anchor the back line as a freshman.

WELLSBORO

Best team: 2015

Record: 12-8-2

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class A quarterfinals

Notable players: Kailee Clymer, Emma Poirier, Brynn Ripley, Julia Smith

All-state players: None

Details: The Green Hornets had been in the postseason numerous times prior to 2015, but always came up shy of winning in the district tournament. The 2015 team changed that by winning the program’s first district playoff game, blanking Benton in the first round of the District 4 Class A playoffs, 1-0. The Green Hornets postseason came to an end in the quarterfinals, falling to eventual state finalists Loyalsock, 5-0. It came after four consecutive seasons of not being able to get that first district playoff victory. Granted, this team didn’t make a deep postseason run, but winning the first district playoff game in program history was a step in the right direction for future teams and helped set the bar for what future players would aspire to accomplish. That team was very senior-heavy, featuring nine seniors on the roster. Brynn Ripley helped lead that team offensively with a team-high 10 goals while freshman Julia Smith had a team-high 11 assists. The graduation loss of those nine seniors was felt the next year when Wellsboro won just three games.

Honorable mention: Wellsboro had a solid team in 2009, going 12-6-1 overall. The Green Hornets fell to Bloomsburg though in the first round of the District 4 Class AA playoffs that season. That team featured Alexis Getty, who became the program’s all-time goal scorer with 82 for her career and 35 career assists.

WILLIAMSPORT

Best team: 2017

Record: 15-7

Postseason: Won District 2-4 Class AAAA championship, lost in first round of state tournament

Notable players: Madison Bowman, Katie Penman, Sammy Reeder, Nina Schappell

All-state players: None

Details: The Millionaires won the program’s second ever district championship in 2017, a repeat title by beating Delaware Valley in the championship, 4-0. Williamsport played excellent in the state playoffs against Governor Mifflin, a team which needed overtime to beat the Millionaires after Madison Bowman had a clutch game-tying goal from about 35 yards out in the second half. As coach Scott McNeill said throughout the season “speed kills,” and Williamsport had speed up top that wore down even the most conditioned of teams throughout the year and allowed Williamsport to get opportunities late with Madison Bowman, Katie Penman, Sammi Reeder and Aaryka Goodwell up top. A sort of “pick your poison” foursome for opposing defenses to attempt to contain.

Honorable mention: The 2016 Millionaires helped the program break through by claiming the Millionaires’ first district championship in and going 13-7-1 and featured many players on the 2017 team, including Madison Bowman, and had a solid goalie in Kaylee Hornberger.

BOYS SOCCER

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

Best team: 1995

Record: 18-6-1

Postseason: won District 6 Class AAA championship; lost in state semifinals.

Notable players: Wayne Bovier, Lou Christopher, Chris Powell, Greg English, Rocco Rosamilia, Colton Heimer, Kyle Smith, Rocky Zinobile

All-state players: None

Details: In 1995, Lock Haven had a great team that went 18-6-1 overall and finally ended State College’s run of dominance within District 6. State College had won every district championship title since at least 1976, but Lock Haven finally snapped that in 1995. Lock Haven won the District 6 Class AAA championship thanks to Greg English, who scored twice in that game. Lock Haven coach Abe Stauffer told his team going into states that Mount Lebanon would take them too lightly and it appeared Mount Lebanon did just that, as Lock Haven came away with a 5-2 win, scoring three of those goals off free kicks. Lock Haven beat District 7 runner-up Shaler in the quarterfinals, 2-1. The run came to an end to McDowell in the semifinals, 4-1, after Lock Haven fell behind at the half, 3-0. Snow prevented Lock Haven from having school for three days prior to the semifinal game, and had to practice inside of the gymnasium. To date, this is the only time Lock Haven — now Central Mountain — appeared in a state semifinal and was the closest it came to appearing in a state championship game.

Honorable mention: Robbie Gould, an eventual Penn State and NFL kicker, gave the Wildcats a district championship in the program’s second year as Central Mountain in thrilling fashion in 2000. After getting a breakaway with only seconds remaining, Gould buried the goal in freezing temperatures to give Central Mountain a 1-0 win and district championship. The Wildcats lost to North Allegheny, 2-1, in overtime in the first round of states. The Wildcats went 17-5 overall that year and 7-3 in the Central State Soccer Conference.

HUGHESVILLE

Best team: 1996

Record: 16-2-1

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class AA playoffs

Notable players: John Chiao, Sean Harkins, Matt Martin, Jordan Myers, Kevin Smith

All-state players: None

Details: The Spartans had success throughout the 1990s and the 1996 team was one of the best from that decade. It was coach Ron Mezick’s first year at the helm and he helped guide the Spartans to a solid 16-2-1 campaign. The Spartans didn’t win the district championship that season — in fact Hughesville’s still searching for that elusive first district title, boys or girls — but the Spartans in 1996 had a great chance to, entering the playoffs with only one loss on their resume and a lot of really good players. That team had a solid goalie in John Chiao and featured other starters in Sean Harkins, Matt Martin, Jordan Myers and Kevin Smith. The team was very senior-led, as it featured 11 seniors.

Honorable mention: The Spartans followed up that 1996 season with a solid 1997 campaign as well, going 14-6-2, but again coming up just shy in the postseason. That team featured many of the same players, including Chiao in goal.

JERSEY SHORE

Best team: 2016

Record: 12-6

Postseason: lost in District 4 Class AAA semifinals

Notable players: Jacob Butzler, Calvin Lesser

All-state players: None

Details: This was arguably the best chance Jersey Shore had at getting to a district championship game for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs had a 41-kid roster, the largest in program history — i.e, a ton of depth — a solid offensive scoring squad and a very talented goalie in Calvin Lesser. The Bulldogs came up shy of getting to the final though, falling to Mifflinburg in the semifinals. Jacob Butzler came up one goal shy of tying Clay Newton’s record for all-time goals, ending with 63. This was also the fourth consecutive year the Bulldogs made it into the playoffs after just one appearance in program history previously. Credit coaches Pete Ruhl and Cole Black with helping Jersey Shore not only get a taste of the postseason, but stay there with a streak of five consecutive appearances after only having one in program history beforehand.

Honorable mention: From an individual standpoint, Clay Newton made 2013 intriguing by becoming the school’s all-time goal scorer as he ended with 64 career goals. That team also featured Jacob Butzler as a freshman, giving the Bulldogs a good offensive duo up top. The 2013 Bulldogs were the first team to make it to districts since 2003 and the first of a run of five consecutive appearances. That Bulldogs team lost in the first round of districts to Shikellamy.

LEWISBURG

Best team: 2015

Record: 25-0

Postseason: Won Class AA state championship

Notable players: Logan Cho, Joey Bhangdia, Michael Permyashkin, Adam Cole, Wilson Fisher

All-state players: Joey Bhangdia

Details: The 2015 Lewisburg Green Dragons made winning look easy. They ran the table by going 25-0 and cruised through not only districts, but also states, winning all seven postseason games by recording shutouts. Logan Cho set the Pennsylvania state record for career shutouts with 61 in the process and Lewisburg claimed the program’s second state championship, and the first of repeat titles. After beating a tough Midd-West team in the district final, Lewisburg beat Crestwood (3-0), Lancaster Mennonite (2-0), Northwestern Lehigh (3-0) before beating South Park in the final, 4-0. It was Lewisburg’s first state championship since winning it in 2000. Joey Bhangdia put together one of the best individual seasons that year, scoring 48 goals, which is second most by a district boys player behind only Sayre’s Taylor Skerpon who scored 51 in 2010. To put in perspective how great of a season Bhangdia had in 2015, his 48 goals as a junior were almost as much as Bryn Zeigler scored in his entire career as the program’s all-time scorer (56).

Honorable mention: The 2000 Lewisburg boys were the first area team to ever win a state championship — and first District 4 team to do it since Middleburg in 1974 and were the first District 4 team to get to a state championship game since that 1974 team. The Green Dragons won the Class A championship that year, and played close games throughout the state tournament. Lewisburg beat Tulpehocken in overtime, 2-1, edged out a win against Mountain View, 3-2, beat Moravian Academy in the semifinals, 2-1, and then held off Sewickley Academy for a 1-0 win. Lewisburg went 21-7-1. … The 2016 Lewisburg Green Dragons followed in the 2015 team’s footsteps, going 24-1 and like many teams on this list, can definitely make their own case for best team. Lewisburg claimed a second state championship that year, the first District 4 boys team to ever win repeat state championships (Warrior Run girls, 2010-11), and went 21-7-1 while also winning the program’s third consecutive District 4 championship. A fun fact: Lewisburg went 46-7-1 in that two-year window.

LOYALSOCK

Best team: 2008

Record: 19-2-1

Postseason: Lost in Class AA state quarterfinals

Notable players: Adam Scheibeler

All-state players: None

Details: The Lancers came up one game shy of getting to the district championship, losing to perennial district soccer power East Juniata, 1-0, in the district semifinals. The Lancers did win the consolation game however to get into states, and went on to defeat Brookville in the first round of the Class A playoffs, 3-0. Loyalsock’s run in states came to an end in the quarterfinals to Shady Side Academy as the Lancers lost, 1-0, to end the season with a solid 19-2-1 record, with their only losses coming in the postseason. Senior Adam Scheibeler led Loyalsock’s offense that year and ended his career with 57 goals. The Lancers opened districts that year with back-to-back 3-0 shutouts over Elkland and Millville, respectively. The Lancers haven’t gotten back into the state tournament since that season and haven’t won that many games in a single season in the 2010s.

Honorable mention: The 1997 Lancers could make a really strong case as well for best team in Loyalsock history and have quite the resume to back up that claim. That Lancers team went 19-3 and won the West Branch Conference title. Loyalsock didn’t win the district championship that year, but had a pair of stellar players in Ben Comfort — current Loyalsock girls coach — and Matt Broskey. Comfort was named the conference’s Defender of the Year in 1997 and Broskey earned Offensive Player of the Year accolades in the conference. Not bad having the conference’s top defensive and offensive players on your team. The next year the Lancers, which featured Broskey again who was also named all-state, lost to Bishop Neumann in the postseason.

MILTON

Best team: 2005

Record: 16-3-2

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class AA semifinals

Notable players: Bryan Kulbacki

All-state players: None

Details: The Black Panthers went 16-3-2 this season and only dropped one Susquehanna Valley Conference league game as they won the Susquehanna Valley League West Division title. Milton lost in the District 4 Class AA semifinals that year to perennial district power Lewisburg, but this would be the closest Milton got in the 2000s to ever appearing in a district championship game as the Black Panthers never got past the quarterfinals in any year in the 2000s. This was a year after Milton graduated Drew Dutrow, who scored 24 goals as a senior in 2004 and ended his career with 72, most in Milton boys program history. The Black Panthers did have Bryan Kulbacki however who was a sophomore this season. He’d go on to be a two-time Susquehanna Valley League first-team all-star before playing at Misericordia.

Honorable mention: Milton featured a solid goalkeeper in Brent Snyder in 1996, who also happened to be the first Milton all-state player in program history, boys or girls. … The 2001 Black Panthers went 15-6 and lost in the first round of the district playoffs.

MONTOURSVILLE

Best team: 2005

Record: 15-5-1

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class AA playoffs

Notable players: Tommy Thomas, Derrick Winters, Jason Lear, Josh Foresman

All-state players: Tommy Thomas

Details: The Warriors have never claimed a boys district championship in program history, but the 2005 Montoursville team definitely had potential to do so, entering the district playoffs with only four losses. Sometimes, though, the bracket doesn’t work in your favor. The Warriors ran into district finalists Lewisburg in the first round. The Warriors had a solid squad featuring Derrick Winters, Tommy Thomas, Jason Lear and Josh Foresman. Thomas was named all-state that season, the first Montoursville boys player to earn all-state honors since midfielder Kyle Bidelspacher did it in 1992. He was also a Susquehanna Valley League first-team forward all-star for the second consecutive season. The Warriors got back to the postseason next year, but lost in the first round again.

Honorable mention: Consider the 1984 Montoursville squad a bit of a Cinderella team. The Warriors, in just their second season of existance, won the Five County League Central Division championship and entered the District 4 playoffs with a 9-5 record overall and 7-3 within the league. But from there, the Warriors struggled and dropped consecutive games. First Montoursville lost the overall Five County League Championship to Millville, 6-4, and lost a preliminary district playoff game to perennial solid power Middleburg, 4-1, to finish at 9-7. That team did feature a talented midfield of Bill Ward, Pat Rousche, Russ Bonnell, Rob Fox and Eddie Roman and defensively, had current boys coach Kevin Werkmeister on the back line and had Bob Brobson in goal.

MUNCY

Best team: 2005

Record: 17-6-1

Postseason: Lost District 4 Class A championship; lost in state playoffs.

Notable players: David Sterngold

All-state players: None

Details: This Muncy team came up just shy of winning a district championship, falling to a tough Southern Columbia team in the championship game. David Sterngold put together a solid career while with the Indians, ending with 109 career goals — sixth most in boys District 4 history and most in Muncy history — and he was a big reason the Indians went 17-6-1. The Indians’ season came to an abrupt end though, losing consecutive games in the district final and then first round of states to Trinity in the Class A tournament, 2-0. That would be the last Indians team to make a state playoff appearance. Muncy got back into the district playoffs the following season, but lost in the semifinals.

Honorable mention: The Indians got back to the district tournament the next two years and in 2006, made another run following the success of 2005. Muncy defeated Sayre and Troy in the first two rounds of the District 4 Class A tournament, but lost to Benton in the semifinals, 1-0, to be denied another chance at a district championship.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT

Best team: 2010

Record: 20-4

Postseason: Won District 4 Class A consolation game; lost in state semifinals

Notable players: Logan Yerger, Hunter Rosenberg

All-state players: Logan Yerger

Details: The 2010 Mounties had a solid all-around team and you could make the argument that they’re one of the best District 4 teams to not win a district championship. The Mounties were led by both Logan Yerger and Hunter Rosenberg. Yerger was named all-state that year while Rosenberg helped contribute offensively as well. This was the first time the Mounties advanced beyond the District 4 quarterfinals and ended as district runners-up, having lost to perennial district soccer power East Juniata. Once in the state tournament, the Mounties defeated Holy Name in the first round, 2-1, before blanking Mountain View in the quarterfinals, 1-0. South Williamsport played well against New Hope-Solebury, but lost in the semifinals, 3-0. East Juniata in the district championship game and New Hope-Solebury were the only two teams in the playoffs to score goals on South Williamsport during that postseason. Yerger ended with 127 career goals after his senior year, which still stands as the most goals scored all-time by a boys District 4 player.

Honorable mention: The Mounties had a nice follow-up season in 2011, going 17-3 and again getting back to the state tournament. But after just one loss in the regular season, South lost consecutive games to East Juniata in the district final and to York Catholic in the first round of the state tournament.

ST. JOHN NEUMANN

Best team: 1992

Record: 21-4

Postseason: Won District 4 Class AA championship, lost in state playoffs.

Notable players: Matt Pivirotto, James Pivirotto

All-state players: None

Details: The 1992 team went 21-4, the most wins in a single season by a Golden Knights’ team. Bishop Neumann defeated Danville that year to win the program’s first district championship before losing to District 2 champion Lake Lehman in the first round of the state tournament. The Golden Knights were led by Matt Pivirotto, who scored 32 goals, which is the second most in a single-season in Neumann history. The team also had James Pivirotto, who scored 23 goals in 1992. Two players accounting for 55 goals? Not a bad 1-2 duo to have up top. Matt Pivirotto set the Neumann program record for most assists in a game with four that season, tied later by Anthony Pasnello in 2014. James Pivirotto set the program mark that year against Bald Eagle Nittany by scoring five goals in a single game. In other words, Neumann had a tough offense to slow down. This Golden Knights team helped set the standard at Neumann by claiming the first district championship in program history, the only other coming in 1998.

Honorable mention: The 1993 Bishop Neumann team may be the district’s biggest “what if?” That team went 18-1-1, but officially, the team’s final record was 9-10-1. Why? Because it had to forfeit half its games due to a paperwork error on a foreign exchange student and thus, missed out on being eligible for playoffs. No one knows what that team would have done in the postseason, but safe to say they would have made a run with a team that featured Matt Pivirotto, Noah Scharper and Roland Vosen. Scharper and Vosen combined for 30 goals in 1993 and Pivirotto was named all-state at midfield.

SULLIVAN COUNTY

Best team: 1997

Record: 16-6

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class AA playoffs

Notable players: Brandon Smith, Mike Perakovich, Tom Shoemaker, Jeremy Daniel, Matt Eberlin, Nick Hoover, Brian Smith

All-state players: Brandon Smith

Details: The Griffins entered the district playoffs with only five losses on their resume and had a lot of talent throughout the team, including all-state forward Brandon Smith and Mike Perakovich. Those two alone contributed offensively and led Sullivan County in goals scored and were a headache for opposing defenses to keep contained once they got into the scoring third of the field. Smith was Sullivan County’s first all-state player since the 1980s and would be the last boys all-state player until Lucas Shultz in 2017. That 1997 team as well built off the success it laid out in 1996 in which the Griffins won 14 games.

Honorable mention: In 1996, Brandon Smith, Mike Perakovich and Tom Shoemaker helped lead the Griffins to a 14-6 record and a district playoff appearance.

WARRIOR RUN

Best team: 2004

Record: 19-6-1

Postseason: Won District 4 Class A championship, lost in state quarterfinals

Notable players: Max Campbell

All-state players: None

Details: The 2004 Defenders went 19-6-1 overall, 11-5-1 in their league and had an impressive postseason run, going 5-1 while winning a District 4 championship in the process. Warrior Run blanked Wellsboro, Meadowbrook Christian and Muncy in consecutive games that season before going on to defeat Southern Columbia, 2-1, in the District 4 championship. The Defenders won their first-round state tournament game, defeating Camp Hill in overtime, 3-2, but fell to Christopher Dock in the quarterfinals, 1-0. This also happens to be the last year Warrior Run made a PIAA tournament appearance despite numerous solid teams the past few seasons. The Defenders were led by Max Campbell that season, who scored 22 goals and led the team in assists with 12.

Honorable mention: The 2003 Defenders went 21-4 and are the last Warrior Run team to win 20 or more games in a single season. Warrior Run cruised through league play that year as well, going 14-2. Warrior Run ended as the district runners-up in Class A and fell in the first round of the state tournament.

WELLSBORO

Best team: 2017

Record: 19-2-1

Postseason: Won District 4 Class A championship; lost in state quarterfinals

Notable players: Tanner Runyan, Gabe Leach,

All-state players: Gabe Leach

Details: The Green Hornets had success the past few years prior to 2017 in the district tournament, but always came up just shy of winning a district championship. That changed in 2017 when Wellsboro captured the program’s first District 4 championship by blanking Millville in the final, 1-0. Wellsboro would go on to also win the program’s first state playoff game in history by defeating District 3 runner-up Greenwood, 1-0. Wellsboro’s remarkable campaign came to an end in the state quarterfinals however, as the Green Hornets lost to District 12 champion Masterman, 2-1. The Green Hornets had a ton of talent all around, including Tanner Runyan (28 goals), Noah Fitch (20), Brett Rudy (19) and all-state midfielder Gabe Leach. Not to mention a stingy defensive unit that year which only allowed nine goals all year while scoring 131. Wellsboro’s midfield and forwards were extremely fast as well, making it difficult for opposing teams to possess against them. Winning both a district championship and a state playoff win was something that helped elevate the program and set the bar for what the Green Hornets want players to aspire to.

Honorable mention: The 2013 Green Hornets went 17-6 and getting into the state playoffs for the first time in program history. The Green Hornets lost to Bloomsburg in the final, 2-0, and then to Biglerville, 7-1, in the first round of states. Those two back-to-back losses in the postseason were also the first time all year the Green Hornets lost consecutive games.

WILLIAMSON

Best team: 1999

Record: 15-1 (regular season)

Postseason: Lost in District 4 Class AA playoffs

Notable players: (not available)

All-state players: None

Details: The 1999 Williamson team had one of the best, if not the best, regular seasons in program history by going 15-1. Williamson lost its season opener to Benton that year, 1-0, and after that, reeled off an impressive 15 consecutive wins to close out the regular season and head into the district tournament. Defensively, Williamson was great that season, only yielding 11 goals, 10 of which came in the final 15 games of the regular season. The Warriors’ defense and goalkeeper may be the stars of that team as Williamson had eight shutouts that season, including a string of three in a row over Sayre, Liberty and Campbell-Savona. The Warriors also blanked Towanda, Troy, Mansfield, Liberty and Northern Potter. Mansfield, Galeton and Bishop Neumann all were solid that year — all with winning records including Neumann, which started the year 8-2-2 –and all fell to Williamson. While details of that postseason aren’t available, Williamson’s run came shy of winning it all as Middleburg won the Class AA championship in 1999.

Honorable mention: In 1984, Williamson put together a solid season by going 15-2-2 entering the District 4 playoffs and got to the quarterfinals, where it ran into 14-6-2 West Snyder.

WILLIAMSPORT

Best team: 1995

Record: 18-3-4

Postseason: Won District 4 championship; lost in state quarterfinals

Notable players: Glen Hofstrom

All-state players: Glen Hofstrom

Details: The 1995 Williamsport Millionaires were repeat district champions and went 18-3-4 that season. It would be the last district championship Williamsport would win until 2016. Williamsport goalie Glen Hofstrom played absolutely excellent all year for the Millionaires and earned all-state honors as a goalkeeper. Much like in 1994, when Williamsport also won the district championship, the Millionaires in 1995 won their first-round Class AAA state tournament game, beating Wyoming Valley West, 2-0. Williamsport lost to District 1 champion Neshaminy in the quarterfinals, 2-1. This 1995 team is still the last Millionaires team to win a state tournament game as the 2016 and 2017 Millionaires both lost in the first round of states both years.

Honorable mention: The 1987 Millionaires went 17-2-2 and were the second of a run of four consecutive district championship teams from 1986-89 and could also make a good case for best team. The 1987 Millionaires featured future all-state midfielder Scott Chambers, who was a sophomore that season and would be named all-state his senior year. Williamsport won the program’s first state tournament game that year, blanking perennial District 6 power State College, 4-0, in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs, enacting a bit of revenge to the team that beat them in the state tournament the year previously. The Millionaires lost to Downingtown West in the quarterfinals. That team had a solid scoring duo in Ethan Raup and Karl Matz, who both scored 24 goals that year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to past records not being available, Jersey Shore girls, Galeton, Liberty, Mansfield, Montgomery boys and Williamson girls were not able to be included for this article.

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