By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- When Selinsgrove scored on its first shot less than five minutes into Tuesday's game, the Seals had effectively turned the tables on rival Shikellamy.
It was nearly a month ago that the Braves took an early lead in the teams' first meeting and made Selinsgrove chase the goal right down to the final minutes of an eventual tie.
So it was Shikellamy's turn to chase the point, and that's exactly what the Braves did.
Through persistent mist and on the Seals' fast-playing turf, the Braves stood up to Selinsgrove's pressure without going into a defensive shell. They challenged several times in the second half but couldn't finish, taking a 1-0 loss in the "Pink Out" game for breast cancer awareness at Bolig Stadium.
"We didn't let our heads drop," said Shikellamy coach Holly Zimmerman. "In years past we would have let our heads drop. This year it's far and few between where (the opponent) has scored first and we've let our heads drop.
"We kept up with them."
Sophomore Brooke Zeiders scored the goal for Selinsgrove, which won for the seventh time in eight games. It was the Seals' fifth shutout in that span.
"We wanted to score early and I was pleased that we were able to do that," said Seals coach Cathy Keiser. "We wanted to get on the board again and get on again, but we weren't able to do that."
Selinsgrove (9-3-2) bolstered its HAC-I lead at 7-0-1, ahead of Mifflinburg (6-1). Shikellamy (6-5-1, 3-3-1 HAC-I) slipped behind Lewisburg (4-3).
The teams tangled between the 25s for the better part of five minutes before the Seals made a charge. Emily Klingler split a pair of defenders with a lead pass on the left side and bolted into the circle to catch up. Zeiders cut on a line from the left wing and got to the ball first, slamming it into the cage.
The Seals almost added on shortly after when a shot caught Shik keeper Jessa Houghton backing up and rattled off her pads. Then Klingler had a rip sail wide to the right.
The Braves had no first-half shots, though they only allowed two.
Selinsgrove had six corners in the first 10 minutes of the second half and Shik handled them all. Erika Rohrbach, who broke down no fewer than four Seals corners in the game, stopped the first two, and Houghton only saw one shot reach her pads.
"I'm very impressed with what we did defensively," said Zimmerman, "especially on the defensive corners."
Shikellamy had a spurt midway through the half that only lasted about four minutes, but it produced four corners and several chances. Cory Yerger sent one along the left side that got too deep and was rammed off the side of the cage. Megan Wetzel stepped up to snuff out a shot in the middle. And Rohrbach sent a cross from left to right that rolled tantalizingly in front of Seals keeper Courtney McCartney.
"Once we built up confidence in the back, we knew we could sent the ball up and we knew we'd have people up there to get the job done," said Rohrbach, a senior mid. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out."
Rachel Strohecker had a couple key clears in the final 10 minutes off Shik's bench. Houghton stoned rips by Zeiders and Geneka Mahan late.
Shikellamy was awarded a corner just before time expired. Rohrbach handled Kennedy Smith's insert and pushed left to Alexis Reid. A pass to Caroline Stepanik at the left post traveled too deep for a clear shot.
"They're good," said Keiser of the Braves. "They continue to work hard and they're determined to try to come back."
"We were able to move the ball much better (in the second half). There was a lot more communication," said Zimmerman. "Unfortunately we couldn't finish, but we kept it there and we didn't give up."