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South’s dynamic duo leads offense

South Williamsport’s Hayden Swinehart finished last season among the area’s leading scorers. A glance at this year’s leaders shows Swinehart hasn’t missed a step.

There’s just two players in the area with more than 15 goals this season: Swinehart and Wellsboro’s Will Poirier. The Mountie standout has already nearly matched his 21-goals total from last year. His 19 goals this season also leaves him just two shy of 50 for his career.

“It took him a little while to get going (last year) and to see him pick up right where he left off last year is great,” South Williamsport coach Chris Vanaskie said. “This year he’s been much more composed with his finishing. He’s used to trying to place every ball perfectly or just smash it as hard as he could. Now, he’s really picking out his spots and just finishing and scoring goals when he has the opportunity.”

That was on display last week when the Mounties beat Muncy, 8-1, and Swinehart found the back of the net four times. He has the ability to gracefully maneuver through defenders and fire a shot at the perfect time and it’s been huge for South Williamsport.

The Mounties have been excellent and are 5-1 this year. Swinehart has been a key to the offense. And it doesn’t hurt that he has Quaid Molino by his side. The duo have been playing soccer together for years and are in tune with one another. They know where they’ll both be on the field and it makes things tough on opposing defenses.

“They just have really good connections with each other, understand where everyone else is going to be and having the talent of Quaid and Hayden out there that can produce (is big),” Vanaskie said. “The way Quaid assists and Hayden finishes, they can produce a lot of goals out of nothing. They’re a lot of fun to watch.”

Fun to watch, indeed. Go to any South Williamsport game and keep an eye on the duo and you’ll see what Vanaskie means. While Swinehart leads the team with 19 goals, Molino leads the Mounties with 10 assists, second in the area behind only Wellsboro’s Will Poirier.

Offensively, South Williamsport is near the top in the area in goals scored with 37, trailing only offensive juggernauts Lewisburg (56) and Wellsboro (68). And the Mounties aren’t afraid to fire shots as South Williamsport averages 17.2 per game.

“They definitely have the connection that they’ve been playing together for so long that they know the runs that the other one’s going to make and the position’s they’re going to get into and they’re able to find those spots,” Vanaskie said. “The big thing is getting a good ball in and a good finish. They’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years and learned to be a little more composed and pick out the right pass and the right shot. They’ve been doing it every game so far.”

And likely they’ll be doing it for a few more games yet this fall.

50-GOAL CLUB

Wellsboro’s Will Poirier can do a little bit of everything on the field. He can dish assists left and right, and when it comes to scoring, he has no problems. So it was no surprise Saturday when Poirier made history by becoming the first Wellsboro player in program history to have 50 career goals and assists. Poirier reached the assist milestone last year and he recorded his 50th goal in Saturday’s 10-1 win over Williamson.

“Will puts in the work 12 months of the year and this is his return on that investment,” Wellsboro coach Todd Fitch said after Saturday’s win. “He’s an example to future players on how to do things.”

Poirier’s performance Saturday — three goals and three assists — put him at 50 goals and 72 assists. And given the season’s not yet over, expect Poirier to add to those milestones before the Green Hornets’ season wraps up.

Poirier wasn’t the only player to hit 50 career goals this past week. Hughesville’s Nick Trevouledes scored a goal in a lopsided 14-2 loss to Warrior Run on Monday afternoon, but the goal put him at 50 for his career.

GETTING EXPERIENCE

It’s no secret that Muncy’s boys soccer team doesn’t have a ton of depth. If you glance down their bench, you’ll notice only a handful of players there while a game’s in progress. The Indians are young and don’t have many reserves.

But the Indians have more players on their roster this season than they did last year, and Karchiner knows getting freshmen experience will be beneficial moving forward. Last week’s 8-1 loss to South Williamsport was Muncy’s fifth game where it had between eight and nine freshmen playing.

“It’s hard because we have 18 kids on the roster, but today with everything going on, we’re down to 15 and a couple kids get injuried in the game and the bench is gone pretty quick,” Muncy coach John Karchiner said.

This season’s been a bit bumpy for the Indians as Muncy has just one win, but the experience the freshmen gain by playing in 2020 will help the team in the coming seasons.

Top 5 girls soccer rankings

1. MONTOURSVILLE (7-3)

The Warriors had back-to-back losses for the first time against Lewisburg (1-0) and state-ranked Bloomsburg (2-0), but have bounced back since then with shutout victories over Southern Columbia (2-0) and Central Mountain (3-0). The Warriors are young, but coach Vic Gorini does an outstanding job of rotating in numerous players to get plenty of girls experience on the field, and that will pay dividends down the road.

2. SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT (7-2)

After a tough loss to Benton, 2-0, the Mounties rebounded with an 8-1 win over Mid-Penn League opponent Montgomery. While the loss to Benton isn’t ideal, consider that South Williamsport was crushed by Benton to open the season, 9-3. The Mounties have done an excellent job learning from that loss and working toward getting better, and it’s showed. The Mounties offense has been spakred this year by leading scorer Piper Minier (11) and Elizabeth Manning (10), who are forming a solid 1-2 duo up top.

3. SULLIVAN COUNTY (6-3)

The Griffins aren’t at all afraid to put up shots. Through nine games, Sullivan County has recorded 161 shots on goal and Bethany Beinlich and Chloe Burke are doing majority of that work. The duo have combined for an impressive 36 goals. The Griffins hit a bit of a bumpy patch recently, going 2-2 in their last four games after starting the year 5-1. The Griffins pummeled CMVT, 12-1, last Wednesday before falling to Northumberland Christian a day later, 7-1.

4. LEWISBURG (6-3-1)

Lewisburg had a nice win Tuesday night against an always-solid Midd-West team. Makayla Long scored off a free kick to put Lewisburg ahead, 2-1, with five minutes and the score held. Ella Reish scored earlier in the game. Since a 1-0 loss to Selinsgrove on Sept. 16, Lewisburg has gone 5-0-1. The Green Dragons are clicking at the right time as districts aren’t far off.

5. MILTON (5-1)

The Black Panthers are having a tremendous year and are coming off two nice wins against Loyalsock, 2-0, and Warrior Run in an overtime thriller, 2-1, as Alaura Foust scored the game winner. Milton held Loyalsock to just three shots on goal as Janae Bergey and Mackenzie Lopez both scored. The Black Panthers have plenty of weapons to spread the ball around.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Kerrah Clymer, Wellsboro

Clymer has been a scoring machine lately for the Green Hornets. She posted five goals in a 14-0 rout over Williamson, four goals and two assists in a 7-0 win over Towanda on Monday, and a goal in a win over Towanda on Saturday. Clymer leads Wellsboro with 23 goals this season and 12 assists.

Top 5 boys soccer rankings

1. LEWISBURG (9-0)

The Green Dragons absolutely crushed rival Midd-West on Monday night, 10-1. It was just the second loss this season for the Mustangs (7-2-1). Lewisburg is firing on all cylinders right now and is easily the favorite to win yet another District 4 championship. In the past week, Lewisburg went 3-0 with wins over Danville, Hughesville and the Mustangs, and outscored those opponents, 27-1, in that span.

2. WARRIOR RUN (10-0)

The Defenders have an offense just about as potent as Lewisburg. Warrior Run cruised past Hughesville, 14-2, Monday and also had wins against Loyalsock (3-1) and Southern Columbia (4-0) in the past week. Warrior Run has a ton of playmakers who can score and it’s showing as the Defenders have outscored their opponents, 53-6. Against Hughesville, Alex Hazzoum scored six goals.

3. WELLSBORO (6-0)

After a statement win over Northern Tier League rival Athens, Wellsboro rattled off three more wins against Sayre, North Penn-Liberty and Williamson, and won those games a combined 32-1. Much like Lewisburg and Warrior Run, the Green Hornets can score fast and frequently. That’s attributed to Will Poirier, Jack Poirier, Joe Grab and others who can dish the ball around and make things happen.

4. MILTON (9-1)

I don’t think many people would have envisoned Milton getting off to this type of start and sitting 9-1. Milton is playing well. The offense is able to put up goals — every win except one has been a multi-goal performance by the Black Panthers — and the defense is doing an excellent job limiting opponents. Of Milton’s nine victories, six are shutouts by Tyler Flederbach.

5. LOYALSOCK (6-5-2)

The Lancers have suffered a few losses recently, dropping consecutive games to Warrior Run and Selinsgrove before getting back into the win column with a 2-1 victory over rival Montoursville on Monday. The Lancers have Lewisburg looming on the schedule Saturday in what will be a tough test for the Lancers.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Trace Neary, Sullivan County

Neary showed how dangerous and explosive a player he can be in Tuesday’s 7-1 win over Montgomery. Neary was constantly in the attacking third and it resulted in four goals and an assist as he routinely peppered Montgomery’s goal. Montgomery coach Mike Sherman said that Neary is “tough to keep up with.” That’s no exaggeration.

Jon Gerardi covers high school soccer for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached at 570-326-1551 (ext. 3127) or by email at jgerardi@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JonGerardi.

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