Eric Dempsey is usually the smallest player on the field but he has played much bigger in these district playoffs. Dempsey scored two goals as Danville defeated formerly unbeaten Lewisburg 2-1 in the District 4 Class AA semifinals Tuesday night at Loyalsock. Danville will play Warrior Run in the District 4 Championship Thursday at 7 at Central Columbia.
"Well you know, Lewisburg has been in the back of our head for two years now," said Dempsey. "They beat us in the semifinals, we were out to break the curse tonight, not only for us but for the seniors, they didn't want the season to end."
Danville keeper Jon Hauck had possibly the best game of his career as he saved 13 shots and had a shutout until 72:08 when Adam Cole scored off a corner.
"I was nervous after the first couple of saves," said Hauck. "I got into it, once I got into it I was fine."
The defense also played well, led Bryson Copenhaver, holding the Lewisburg offense to minimal shots.
"For our keepers you don't usually see a lot of action," said Danville coach Brian Dressler. "Now all of sudden, 20 minutes you've been standing, now we ask you to make two or three great saves and he's (Hauck) done that all year for us."
Lewisburg had beaten Danville twice in the regular season, but it couldn't beat Danville that crucial third time. Lewisburg has also won the last three District titles.
Lewisburg is young, it starts five freshman or sophomores, but it will lose three seniors who have been crucial to the team's success.
"It's disappointing for them," said Lewisburg coach Skip Kratzer of his seniors. "But can't forget those three seniors won three district championships in a row. When you step back and look at things in perspective you realize how special that senior class is. Bronson Ferster he's been a leader for us all year He doesn't get a lot of glory but he does all the work for us and he's gonna be missed. Luke Permyashkin, last two years has been outside back for us on defense, really come in his own there and Calvin Reif just that hard working guy, really physical presence for us, they'll be missed for sure."
The younger players also played well for Lewisburg, freshman Joseph Bhangdia and junior Max Reed played well up front. Sophomore goalie Logan Cho also played well, saving three shots.
Danville: Eric Dempsey (Brody Mahaffy), 36:49; Dempsey (Gage Reber), 61:30. Lewisburg: Adam Cole, 72:08.
Shots on goal: D-5; L- 14. Corner kicks: D- 2; L- 6. Saves: D- 13; L- 3. Goalies: Danville (Jon Hauck). Lewisburg (Logan Cho)
Records: Danville (14-5) Lewisburg (18-1) Next: Danville vs. Warrior Run in District Championship (Thu. 7 at Central Columbia)