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Countdown of best girls soccer games of the 2010s

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first part of a five-part series revealing the best girls soccer games of the 2010s.

The countdown of the area’s Top 15 girls soccer games of the past decade is underway. From district quarterfinals to state championships and everywhere in between, the 2010s were full of great games and moments in girls soccer.

The first installment features an unbelievable finish in a district championship, a state semifinal that came down to kicks and an upset in the first round of states that propelled said team to the state final.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

15.) Williamsport 1, Delaware Valley 0, 2019 DISTRICT 2-4 CLASS AAAA

CHAMPIONSHIP

Man, what a thriller this game was. To say it was exciting would be an understatement.

This game had overtime written all over it, and possibly a shootout. Neither Delaware Valley or Williamsport’s defense were yielding much and it looked like 80 minutes wasn’t going to be enough.

But Kailee Helmrich had other ideas.

The Williamsport sophomore took the ball to just inside of the 18 and angled a beautiful shot to her right, sending it over the head of Delaware Valley’s Brianna Matteson to score the go-ahead goal with 15 seconds remaining at Balls Mills.

Helmrich was instantly engulfed by her teammates as it went in and shortly thereafter, the celebration began as Williamsport won its fourth consecutive district championship that night by edging Delaware Valley, 1-0.

Matteson was a huge asset that night for Delaware Valley, blocking 14 shots. And Delaware Valley’s defense marked and limited speedster Katie Penman and didn’t let her use her speed.

While the win was not only dramatic and exciting with how it ended, it also was a special victory for seniors Lila Vogelsong, Abigail Berthold, Talia Lewis, Alexandra Lake and Angelina Morrone, who became the first class to win four straight district championships at Williamsport.

“We started this kind of legacy for the team and I think people will start to pay attention more,” Berthold said after winning the district title.

14.) Trinity 5, Montoursville 3 (SO), 2016 PIAA CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS

This won’t be the last time you see Trinity on this list.

Montoursville had an incredible team in 2016 that entered this quarterfinal contest undefeated at 21-0. It featured all-stater Gillian Mitchell, Lauren O’Malley, Lexi Marchioni, speedster Kyleigh Balint up top and a wall in goal in Marlene Bassett who could make tons of athletic plays. It was one of Montoursville’s best chance in the 2010s to make a run at a state championship appearance.

District 4 teams don’t seem to have much success against Trinity this decade, and Montoursville found that out.

The Warriors trailed in the shootout, 4-3, and Bassett made a great read on Trinity’s fifth shooter, but the ball got away from her and rolled just inches over the line to give Trinity the victory in penalty kicks, 5-3.

Montoursville was without its leading goal scorer Kyleigh Balint, who had put up an impressive 20 goals and nine assists entering the game. The junior suffered a concussion at the end of Montoursville’s first-round state game against Salisbury and wasn’t cleared to play.

Trinity had 15 shutouts entering that quarterfinal game and allowed just nine goals all year, so Balint would have provided a big boost to the offense as the Warriors ended with just four shots on goal.

“We knew when we lost Kyleigh that it was going to be more of a challenge to be offensive like we needed to be, and it was,” Gorini said.

The shootout was tied at 1-1 after Trinity’s Noelle Dominguez and Montoursville’s Bri Ulmer both hit their shots. Trinity’s Ana Dominguez and Montoursville’s Caroline King both converted the second shots to make it 2-2. O’Malley’s shot on Montoursville’s third attempt was blocked to allow Trinity to take a 3-2 lead. Theresa Durle converted the fourth attempt for Trinity and Schult followed with a conversion to make it 4-3 heading to the final round.

Underclassmen Bella Masias, Sam Huyck, O’Malley and Allyse Marchioni all anchored the Warriors’ defense that day and played outstanding against the Shamrocks, as did Bassett in goal who recorded 11 saves.

13.) Lewisburg 4, ELCO 3 (SO), 2018 PIAA CLASS AA PLAYOFFS

This reporter will be the first to admit that he didn’t expect Lewisburg to get past Eastern Lebanon County in the first round of the Class AA state playoffs. The Green Dragons just lost a heartbreaker to Midd-West in the district championship game in overtime a few days prior and ELCO was a very solid team.

But Lewisburg caught fire at the perfect time that season and the ELCO game was the spark that lit Lewisburg throughout the remainder of the state tournament.

In goal, Lauren Gross — who was just a sophomore during this state run — came up with nine saves throughout the game as ELCO dominated throughout regulation and both overtime periods with a 15-4 shots advantage.

After an opening miss in the first round of penalty kicks, the Green Dragons’ sank all the remaining four attempts as Cassia Kiepke, Chloe Michaels, Allie Reed and Ella Reish converted their attempts.

ELCO entered the game with a 21-0-2 record, but Lewisburg never backed down.

“They put on the pressure,” Lewisburg coach Jose Vega said after the game. “ELCO was a team that everybody favored to win the state title, and we took them out. We’re delighted.”

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