Lewisburg, Williamsport battle to scoreless draw

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette Lewisburg’s Cole Temple passes the ball to James Koconis (2) as Williamsport’s Wes Engel defends during Saturday night’s game at the Balls Mills Soccer Club.

Lewisburg players dropped to their knees in disbelief. Hands on heads and mouths agape, the Green Dragons couldn’t believe what a sophomore keeper was doing with just three games of varsity experience to his name.

New starting Millionaire goalie Elliott Wannop slayed the Green Dragons one more time with one last amazing save in the final 30 seconds of the second overtime to preserve a double overtime scoreless draw Saturday night at Balls Mills.

After not seeing any varsity time last year as the third keeper, Wannop made the transition from bench warmer to starting goalie over the summer and he put everything on display last night against a Lewisburg team that has won two of the last three Class AA state championships.

“I shook his hand after the game, gave him a hug and said, ‘Dude, those are big boy saves.’ He just had a huge smile on his face,” Williamsport coach Lee Kaar said. “He knows a lot of the guys from playing club soccer. It was a good night for Elliott.”

With two of its top goal-producers out in Tom Pombor and Sam Hillman — Pombor is still nursing a knee injury and Hillman missed last night for a wedding — Wannop took matters into his own gloved hands. The lanky and athletic sophomore made eight saves, including four in the two overtime periods.

“I was just having fun. I was trying not to get too serious but also to guide my teammates and help them out,” Wannop said. “I try not to get too nervous in those games, but sometimes it’s hard not to.”

These weren’t your average saves, either. In the 89th minute, Lewisburg’s Jack Dieffenderfer fired a low liner from the 18 and Wannop dived to his right and mid air made a glove save. Then in the final 30 seconds, Lewisburg had another great opportunity when another low-laser was fired inside the 18, but Wannop made another identical save to preserve the tie.

“I’ll tell you what, we had them,” Lewisburg coach Skip Kratzer said of his team’s opportunities. “You put yourself in a position to win the game and I got to credit their keeper. There were times there it looked like he was standing on his head. He made some great saves. I thought there was three that could’ve been goals that he just shot out of there.”

Despite some great goalkeeping from Wannop and Lewisburg’s Dominick Simone (four saves), it’s hard not to wonder if each team was at full strength. Williamsport without Pombor and Hillman, and Lewisburg without one of the best players in the area in sophomore Ben Liscum, who scored 24 goals as a freshman. Hillman will return Monday and Pombor not too much longer after that, but Liscum’s season may be over with a major foot injury.

“We’ve only played three games so far but we haven’t played a game with a full squad. I’m excited when these guys get back,” Kaar said. “Sam will be back Monday. Tom should be back next week as well and Kaleb McKeon, a sophomore, will see a lot of time for us, he’s coming back. Getting these guys in here and having them cut loose and be creative on the field, it should be fun to watch.”

Shots: L 8, W 4. Corners: L 9, W 0. Saves: L 4 (Dominick Simone); W 8 (Elliott Wannop)

Records: Williamsport (1-1-1); Lewisburg (3-0-1)