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Montoursville girls soccer falls in D4 title game

BLOOMSBURG – Vic Gorini just shrugged his shoulders. There wasn’t much to say about Saturday’s 6-0 loss to Bloomsburg in the District 4 Class AA girls soccer final.

There was no deep analytical breakdown to the reason Montoursville lost to the Panthers. There was also little Gorini could do to explain why things went wrong.

“They’re a lot more polished and refined in their skills and their tactics than we are at this point,” Gorini said. “They were just a better team (Saturday).”

The dichotomy of a veteran Bloomsburg team which started seven seniors and a young Montoursville team which started eight freshman and sophomores was evident on the field Saturday. While the Panthers played precision soccer, moving the ball from player to player with exactitude, Montoursville often passed the ball to empty spaces. The Warriors struggled to connect multiple passes together to open scoring opportunities and were often left to chase down long balls deep into the Bloomsburg defense to make offense happen.

Montoursville was a decided underdog against the No. 5-ranked small school team in the state before it ever stepped on the field last night. But this Warriors team wasn’t playing for moral victories. It was playing to win after upsetting top-seeded Central Columbia in the semifinals to even reach this point.

“This was an opportunity for us,” Gorini said. “We wanted to seize the opportunity, and we just didn’t. Things didn’t click (Saturday). They outmatched us with skills and tactics.”

But for Montoursville to even be in a position to play in Saturday’s district title game was a far-fetched idea 10 days ago. It looked like the Warriors’ season was done on Oct. 27 before the postseason ever started when the school district announced it was moving to full remote learning and all extracurricular activities were being suspended because of positive COVID-19 tests within the district. Less than 12 hours later, that decision was reversed by the school board with a late night/early morning decision which gave the Warriors their season back.

Montoursville responded to the second chance with a 2-0 win on the road at Troy before following it up with a 2-1 win at top-seeded Central Columbia on Thursday. But the magical run stalled Saturday.

Bloomsburg outshot the Warriors, 19-3, with 11 of those shots going on goal. While Montoursville struggled to penetrate the Panthers’ defense, Bloomsburg’s tic-tac-toe passing set up two Kelsey Widom goals in the first half in which she was left all alone to fire well-struck shots out of the reach of goalkeeper Kierstyn Dawes. The first goal gave Bloomsburg a lead in the 11th minute, and the second one gave the Panthers a two-goal cushion just before halftime.

“We wanted to come out on fire and score right away,” Widom said. “We didn’t want to go into halftime zero-zero because you don’t know what is going to happen then.”

Those two goals were enough to make Montoursville’s chances at coming back slim at best. The Panthers had shut out 11 opponents before yesterday, including its two postseason opponents. But when midfielder and leading scorer Paige Temple created separation from a defender and scored on a right-footed rocket from 25 yards midway through the second half, the writing was on the wall for the outcome of the match.

Temple added two more goals on free kicks from 35 yards out and Allie Lewis scored in her third consecutive postseason game on a diving header to quickly push Bloomburg’s lead to an insurmountable margin.

“I have a lot of freshmen and sophomores on the field and they continue to make progress, but they’re not at the level of (Bloomsburg) at this point,” Gorini said. “Our season was on life support at one point. So to have this opportunity to play in the district final raises the bar for these girls and hopefully helps us build for next year. We wanted to compete tonight, but things didn’t go our way. We lost to a better team”

“We know (Montoursville) is a young team, but they play hard,” Bloomsburg coach Aaron Flook said. “One of their hallmarks is they play hard and they play aggressive and they’re not going to stop. I think our experience level certainly helped us.”

Bloomsburg 6, Montoursville 0

Montoursville 0 0 – 0

Bloomsburg 2 4 – 6

B – Kelsey Widom (Paige Temple), 10:51; B – Widom (Temple, Maizy Aikey), 38:02; B – Temple, 63:40; B – Allie Lewis (Widom), 66:36; B – Temple, 73:02; B – Temple, 74:24.

Shots: Bloomsburg 19, Montoursville 3. Shots on goal: Bloomsburg 11, Montoursville 3. Corner kicks: Bloomsburg 3, Montoursville 0. Saves: Montoursville 6 (Anna Baylor 4, Kierstyn Dawes 2); Bloomsburg 3 (Abbey Gerasimoff). Fouls: Montoursville 14, Bloomsburg 13.

Records: Bloomsburg (19-1); Montoursville (12-5-1).

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