By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT -- Stephanie Clark lined up her free kick from just a few yards outside the 18-yard box. The sophomore nailed a shot that got Jess Lawton to dive the wrong way, and as it hooked into the back right corner of the goal, Clark simply turned around and embraced a teammate.
The rest of the Polar Bears flocked to Clark as Lawton simply pounded the artificial turf at Lancer Community Stadium in Loyalsock, knowing the shot all but ended Selinsgrove's chance to continue in the girls soccer PIAA Class AA tournament on Tuesday afternoon.
The goal, which came with less than three minutes to play, was Northern York's second unanswered one that propelled the Polar Bears to the 2-1 victory over the Seals.
"Obviously, that late in the game, it does make it hard (to comeback). I thought the girls responded with some energy, but you can see they basically dropped everybody back except a player to clog the middle," Selinsgrove coach Matt Metzger said. "They didn't give us any real good looks through that. They got the goal late and did like any good team does and clogged the middle and not let you get any good looks."
The Seals struck first when senior Jenna Fisher was fed a pass from Alli Cover that took a bounce roughly three yards from the goal. Fisher took it off the bounce and hit it to the far post past Northern York goalie Sara Yunez with 26:45 to play in the first half.
Unfortunately for Selinsgrove, the Seals couldn't convert great opportunities throughout the game.
Roughly 10 minutes after the goal, Fisher had a steal and passed it to Nicole Krebs who had a great look from the 18-line, but hit it just too high. Nearly a minute later, it was Grace O'Malley took a shot from just inside the left side of the 18-box that went just right of the goal. Those type of chances plagued the Seals.
"There were some like that where we had some we could've taken or we tried to settle it down instead of taking the one-touch shot," Metzger said. "I thought we still generated a chance (off Krebs' shot). She had a little bit of a closer look, but we still were able to generate chances. Just how the game goes sometimes."
Shea Regan tied the game up for Coughlin with 27:31 to go in the second half off a lucky chance. Maggie Frey took a shot about six yards, but it nailed the dead center of the cross bar and bounced back out. Lawton could not grab it the rebound and it bounced left to Regan, who fired a shot to the far post.
Selinsgrove's offense was held in check for most of the second half, having just two shots (neither on goal) compared to its seven (four on goal) in the first.
The Seals played solid defensively in the first half, giving up just one shot from about seven yards out. Despite the defensive advantage, the Seals offense couldn't convert their chances.
"I don't know if the ball got over our end really for much of anything, but we weren't able to generate any real huge opportunities off that," Metzger said. "We had a few decent looks, but we had the pressure on them. Second half, especially once they got that goal, we started to sag a little bit then we came back."