---- — By Todd Stanford
For The Daily Item
HEPBURNVILLE -- The celebration was premature. But thanks to Katy Burdett, Loyalsock's joy was only delayed -- not denied.
The Lancers defeated East Juniata for the District 4 Class A championship Saturday night at the Balls Mills Soccer Club. The game was scoreless after 110 minutes of soccer, but then the Lancers pulled out a 4-2 win in penalty kicks for their third straight district crown.
Burdett had the winning goal. It came just moments after some of the Lancers celebrated following a save by keeper Amanda Daneker. Due to some confusion, they thought they had already won. But they needed to get one more goal or stop one more shot by the Tigers. Burdett then buried the game-winner soon after.
"I'd rather see one of the teams win it on the field," said Lancers coach Ben Comfort, who has been the head coach for the past two district titles. "(But) you need to advance a winner (to states) based on seeding, so that's the way it goes. The girls played well: They took their PKs well."
Ashlyn Erhard and Kayla Hoke both connected in the shootout for the Tigers (16-4-1). But Daneker made the aforementioned save and another shot hit the crossbar.
Loyalsock (20-3) scored on its first three chances in the shootout, as Asia Ungard, Morgan Chambers and Allie Pagana all found the back of the net.
Saturday's final was a competitive, back-and-forth affair between the top two seeds (Loyalsock was No. 1) in the district. Both teams advance to the first round of states Tuesday. East Juniata's opponent, site and time will be announced today. The Lancers will play back at Balls Mills at 5 p.m.
"It's heart-breaking for these kids," Tigers coach Lori Goodling said. "They played hard the whole game, and so did Loyalsock. It was a very competitive game."
East Juniata had plenty of chances. Hoke hit the left post in the eighth minute. In the 75th minute, Hoke put a good cross into the box for Erhard, but Daneker intercepted it.
"We just couldn't get anything real dangerous down there," Goodling said. "And they have a good keeper, too."
The Lancers had a slight edge in shots for the night (9-7) and two more corners (5-3). Both keepers made some big plays. Tigers goalie Zetta Zettlemoyer made five saves, while Daneker had four.
"Zetta kept us in there," Goodling said. "She had a couple of big saves throughout."
"It would be nice to see us play again in the state semifinals," Comfort said, "and have one of us represent District 4 for a state championship."