War­riors’ his­toric sea­son ends in state quar­ter­fi­nals

The Citizens' Voice - - LOCAL SPORTS - BY ERIC SHULTZ STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: es­hultz@cit­i­zensvoice.com; 570-821-2054; @Cver­ic­shultz on Twit­ter

DANVILLE — This year’s Wy­oming Area girls soc­cer team has gone fur­ther than any other in school his­tory — and most of the group isn’t done yet.

Coach Nikki Sitkowski was quick to re­mind the War­riors of that as she wrapped up their sea­son. She talked to some un­der­stand­ably de­jected play­ers — there’s no easy way to get bounced from the post­sea­son — but let them know how much there is to look back on.

Wy­oming Area, Dis­trict 2’s cham­pion, had qual­i­fied for its first-ever PIAA tour­na­ment and then won its states de­but ear­lier in the week. It took un­til Satur­day’s PIAA Class 2A quar­ter­fi­nals for the mem­o­rable run to end, 5-0, to an ex­pe­ri­enced and skilled Boil­ing Springs squad at Danville High School.

“This sea­son has been a pos­i­tive thing for us. No­body thought we would get here. We proved ev­ery­body wrong,” Sitkowski said. “We fell short here, but I’m not go­ing to be neg­a­tive about it.”

The Bub­blers (19-3) will play in Tues­day’s semi­fi­nals against Dis­trict 4 run­ner-up Lewis­burg.

Mad­die Hughes had three goals, and Jo­ce­lynne Kuhns scored twice for Boil­ing Springs. This has been a post­sea­son a few years in the mak­ing for the Bub­blers, whose last two sea­sons both ended in the state quar­ter­fi­nals.

Dis­trict 3’s sil­ver medal­ists looked ev­ery bit like a sea­soned play­off team Satur­day, hand­ing the War­riors (17-6) their worst loss of the year. Wy­oming Area had pre­vi­ously fallen 5-1 to Lake-lehman and Crest­wood — both top seeds in their re­spec­tive Dis­trict 2 tour­na­ments.

“You learn from this. This is new for us,” Sitkowski said. “(Boil­ing Springs has) been here be­fore. So, we’ll take it as it is.”

Hughes clinched the win not long af­ter half­time with her fi­nal two goals.

She got the Bub­blers on the board, too, with­out wast­ing much time. Her quick cut at the left wing let her split two de­fend­ers and score a 1-on-1 chance with the keeper in the game’s third minute.

A big play al­ways seemed pos­si­ble when the ball was at Hughes’ foot. She also set up Kuhns’ first goal, forc­ing the back line to col­lapse on her as she fol­lowed a deep pass down the left side.

Hughes turned and sent a cross right on the money to Kuhns, wide open in front of the net.

“(Hughes is) their play­maker. That team re­volves around her, and rightly so. She’s a good girl,” Sitkowsi said. “She plays well; very hum­ble. As soon as some­body fell down, she came and made sure they picked her up. Ku­dos to her.”

Kuhns made it 3-0 be­fore half­time on a tougher chance. A de­fender marked her as they en­tered the 18-yard box, but Kuhns still reined in a high-bounc­ing ball and found room to strike a low shot.

It capped a first half that saw Boil­ing Springs out­shoot Wy­oming Area, 10-2, and mostly play in the War­rriors’ half of the field.

“When we didn’t go to the ball, they started con­trol­ling the game,” Sitkowski said. “Once a team starts con­trol­ling a game like that, it’s very hard to come off your heels.”

The War­riors took a few more promis­ing shots af­ter the break, but couldn’t start a rally.

Nev­er­the­less, the shutout might not be one to forget. It marked the end of Wy­oming Area’s best sea­son to date, as well as the fi­nal game for only three se­niors.

Much like the Bub­blers, who have dealt with their own state tour­na­ment heart­break, the rest of the War­riors know what it takes to get to this level. Now, they look to take the next step.

“We tried to tell all of them, they did big things this year,” Sitkowski said. “All we can do is build on that.”

FIRST HALF: Mad­die Hughes (BS) unas­sisted, 37:25; Jo­ce­lynne Kuhns (BS) from Hughes, 26:20; Kuhns (BS) unasstisted, 11:43. SEC­OND HALF: Hughes (BS) from Kuhns, 35:52; Hughes (BS) from Chloe Hostet­ter, 31:00.

SHOTS: BS 14, WA 5. COR­NERS :BS 7, WA 2. SAVES: BS (Bekah Becker) 5, WA (Lau­ren Kelly) 9

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