Boys soccer best of 2010s: WAHS/Lewisburg 2018 match was excellent
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second part of a five-part series revealing the best boys soccer games of the 2010s.
The next installment of the best boys soccer games of the decade features a double-overtime thriller and two district championship games that were decided by just one goal.
All in all, it adds up to some great soccer as Nos. 12-10 are unveiled.
The games that you see on this countdown are all district and state playoff contests. There’s been so many of them that standout over the past 10 seasons. But there’s one regular season game that is on this list, and it comes in at No. 12.
12.) Williamsport 0, Lewisburg 0 (2 OT), 2018 REGULAR SEASON
This past decade, both Lewisburg and Williamsport have had a ton of success. Lewisburg has hoisted a district title eight times in 10 years, won two state championships in that span and had a two-year run where the Green Dragons only lost a single game.
Williamsport has rebuilt its program up and won three consecutive district championships from 2016-18, coming up just shy of a four-peat this past season.
In 2018, both Williamsport and Lewisburg had excellent teams and they met up in a great regular-season matchup on September 8 at the Balls Mills Soccer Club.
This regular-season game stuck out among many and was a great contest in a defensive battle between two tough defenses and goalies. Specifically, Williamsport’s keeper.
Millionaires goalie Elliott Wannop was playing in just his fourth varsity game and did what not many keepers can say they’ve done in the past decade: shut out Lewisburg.
Wannop blanked a team that had won two of the past three Class AA state championships and played like a seasoned keeper.
“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. “It was a good night for Elliott.”
The Millionaires also were down two of its best players in Tom Pombor and Sam Hillman.
Wannop never backed down from a tough, resilient Lewisburg squad and recorded eight saves, four of which came in the two overtime periods. His save of the game was perhaps in the 89th minute when he dove and blocked Jack Dieffenderfer’s low shot with his hand.
11.) Williamsport 1, Delaware Valley 0, 2016 DISTRICT 2-4 CLASS AAAA CHAMPIONSHIP
It was a goal over two decades in the making for Williamsport. For years, the Millionaires’ boys soccer program strived to be at the top of the mountain and bring back a district championship to a program that had a successful run of titles in the mid-1980s and consistently had talent throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
But those title hopes always were dashed year in and year out.
On November 3, 2016, Williamsport finally broke through and won a district title.
On that afternoon at the Balls Mills Soccer Complex, Williamsport defeated Delaware Valley to win the District 2-4 Class AAAA championship in a thriller, 1-0. It was the first of what would be three consecutive district championships, the most successful run the boys program has had since a four-peat in 1986-89.
“It’s a tribute to the coaches before me and guys that have put a lot of time, energy and sweat into the program before Phil Marrie, Dave Ferry, Dave Confair and I got here,” Williamsport coach Lee Kaar said after the victory.
Williamsport scored the game’s only goal with 17 minutes to play in the game thanks to a penalty kick. It was Williamsport’s Tom Pombor who lined up to take the kick and sent it perfectly just inside the right post after a little stutter step to put the Millionaires ahead of Delaware Valley.
“I was a little nervous. I kind of calmed down a little and placed it,” Pombor said of his go-ahead goal.
Williamsport played excellent that day from a defensive perspective, limiting Delaware Valley to just four shots as J.R. Confair preserved the shutout in goal and refused to let Delaware Valley net an equalizer.
The teams before that 2016 one helped build the foundation for what Williamsport became after that and that 2016 squad helped set the bar for future Millionaire teams.
10.) Danville 2, Warrior Run 1 (OT), 2013 DISTRICT 4 CLASS AA CHAMPIONSHIP
What a great game this one was between two perennial district powers and it lived up to the expectations.
The Defenders were coming off a 19-win season in which many thought they would win the program’s first district championship since 2004. Danville, on the other hand, was hoping it would be able to win its program’s first championship since 2003.
The Ironmen held a 1-0 lead late into the game at Loyalsock’s Kenneth M. Robbins Stadium. Elias George then came through with a huge game-tying goal less than five minutes remaining to tie the game and get Warrior Run’s fans in attendance excited and screaming.
Neither team scored the remainder of regulation and sent this one into overtime, a fitting way for this district championship game to end between two solid programs.
Gage Reber was the hero in overtime for the Ironmen, scoring just 77 seconds into overtime to defeat Warrior Run, 2-1, and hoist the district championship.
“It was kind of a tale of two games almost,” Warrior Run coach Doug Bastian said. “In the sense we were so charged in the first half that we were going to the ball really, really well and then when we got to the ball, we kind of forgot what to do with it. In the second half, just trying to preach composure at halftime. … Once you get to it, just start playing smarter soccer and we did that.”
Defense stole the show in this one. Danville was held to just five shots on goal and Warrior Run was limited to four.
The Defenders put on a show that day in what ended up being Bastian’s final game as a coach as he ended his career 90-41-9. It was also the final game in a great career for Elias George.
Only fitting then he had the game-tying goal that got fans excited that night.