Oley Valley rallies to end Lewisburg's playoff run

Nov. 13—HUMMELSTOWN — Avery Mast gingerly walked off Kreiser-Hallman Field with a swollen ankle, an ice-wrapped wrist and a forced smile.

"Anything for my team," Lewisburg's junior midfielder said after a season-ending loss in the state quarterfinals.

The District 4 champion Green Dragons played even-up with perennial state power Oley Valley in the first half Saturday, but they fell behind during a crippling stretch of the third quarter and bowed, 5-1, at Lower Dauphin Middle School.

The District 3 runner-up Lynx (23-3-1), who have finished second in the state in two of the last three seasons, scored three times in a 6 1/2-minute span of the third to advance to the Class A semifinals. They will play District 2 champ Wyoming Area (21-2) in a semifinal rematch on Tuesday.

Lewisburg, which had won its previous six games while clinching division and district titles, finished 15-6.

"This whole journey has been incredible with this team. They've worked so hard all season long and it paid off," said Green Dragons first-year coach Tonya Berge. "These girls ... especially our seniors, who have had so much leadership over the season ... That's why we got this far."

Lewisburg was only four days removed from stunning another District 3 qualifier, Berks Catholic, with a pair of first-quarter goals that kept them in front through halftime. On Saturday, the Green Dragons jumped in front once again, and the early tally fueled their tremendous first half.

Senior forward Maddie Ikeler took away the ball from Oley's Olivia Scatamacchia near midfield and started a counterattack on the right flank. Ikeler quickly played the ball across the 25-yard line to junior Whitney Berge, who crossed the ball into the circle to Maddy Moyers in front of the cage. Moyers buried the 14th goal of her freshman season just four minutes in.

"I would have thought that would have given the girls a tremendous amount of confidence, knowing that we're going up against Oley," said Tonya Berge. "I was incredibly proud of them for their play in the first half."

Not a minute after Lewisburg's goal, the Lynx drew the first of four penalty cards in the game. Lauren Habakus went to the sideline for two minutes, and the infraction overlapped by 32 seconds with a yellow issued to teammate Alexandra Lopez. The player advantage didn't result in any scoring chances for the Green Dragons.

"They played a very physical game, which we've seen, but these refs called it which sometimes doesn't happen in games," said Mast.

"Actually I've never gotten carded before for being ... rough, I guess? So I was just shocked," said Lewisburg senior defender Livia Holthus, who was sent off for two minutes in the second quarter. "I wasn't that worried because we're normally not really a rough-playing team. I don't think it changed our mindset at all."

Oley converted it's first penalty corner to tie the score with 4:44 to play in the first. Morgan Snyder received the insert and sent a hard cross from the left side to Delaware recruit Taylor Vaccaro, who lunged to the turf for the deflection.

That was the Lynx' only corner of the half, which Lewisburg matched with a minute to play in the first. Mast's initial shot was slowed by Snyder's fly, and a follow-up shot cracked off Cenora Grim's pads.

Although the Green Dragons forged a 4-2 edge in first-half shots, the field began to tilt Oley's way in the second quarter and the Lynx' possession advantage was pronounced after halftime.

"They came back out with an incredible amount of intensity, and I just feel like our girls started to break down after they had scored the first two (of the second half)," said Tonya Berge. "I could kind of tell that mentally we were breaking down a little bit, but this is the toughest team we've seen all season. We were trying to adjust to their play, and we just weren't able to do that quick enough."

Oley's Abigail Thompson found room to run on the right flank and passed ahead to Lopez, whose cross came off Keeley Baker's pads to Olivia Thompson for a 2-1 lead. Soon after, Vaccaro got around a defender on the right side and sent a similar right-to-left pass into the middle where Isabella Buehler patiently collected and scored as Lopez made a diving attempt for the tip.

"We've never really played a team like theirs before, and I think their tactic was to tire us out and to pass a lot, which was very successful," said Mast. "I think trying to adjust to that was very difficult for us."

The Lynx made it 4-1 with 5:25 to play in the third on Olivia Thompson's second goal of the period. They added another goal early in the fourth on the first in a series of three corners.

"I think marking and being very aggressive — not too aggressive where they card — but we were doing well (in the first half)," said Holthus, whose strong defensive effort was bolstered by Carley Wagner and Lauren Hetherington, as well as mids Olivia Bartlett and Tia Berge. "Then (in the second half), I don't know. It just went downhill."

Mast, who led Lewisburg with 18 goals and 54 points, was taken out with an injured ankle to start the fourth quarter — the Green Dragons' first substitution of the postseason. She returned to the field with 8:45 to play, but late in the game returned to the bench after being struck on the left wrist.

"My team means the absolute world to me," she said. "I know a lot of people weren't expecting us to get this far, and I'm very proud of everybody. Everybody stepped up this year."



At Kreiser-Hallman Field, Lower Dauphin M.S.


First quarter

L-Maddy Moyers (Whitney Berge), 11:00; OV-Taylor Vaccaro (Morgan Snyder), 4:44.

Third quarter

OV-Olivia Thompson, 12:11; OV-Isabella Buehler (Vaccaro), 9:17; OV-Thompson (Buehler), 5:25.

Fourth quarter

OV-Molly Rothenberger (Snyder), 9:41.

Shots: OV 7-4. Corners: OV 6-1. Cards: Lewisburg (Livia Holthus, 2nd, 9:15, green); Oley Valley (Lauren Habakus, 1st, 10:03, green; Alexandra Lopez, 1st, 8:35, yellow; Karlee Howard, 2nd, 3:32, green; Lopez, 4th, 6:07, yellow). Defensive saves: None. Saves: Lewisburg 2 (Keeley Baker); Oley Valley 3 (Cenora Grim).