All the players on the field and on the sidelines seemed to take a collective breath, hanging on and waiting to see the call as the wind picked up slightly on a cold fall night. Milton’s fourth shot in a penalty shootout hit the top of the crossbar and was close to the line when Montoursville goalkeeper Anna Baylor quickly grabbed it.
It may only have been a second or two before the referee’s call, but to Milton fans, it felt like minutes.
The referee pointed out that it was not good, and Montoursville’s celebration began. The Warrior players stormed the field, celebrating together in a large group as Montoursville left Loyalsock with a thrilling 4-2 shootout victory to defeat Milton in the Class AA District 4 quarterfinals on Wednesday night. the night.
With the win, Montoursville (19-0) advances to face Lewisburg in the semifinals at a time and place to be determined as Milton’s (13-7) season comes to an end.
“This is exactly what we try to do. We plan it, we execute it now and now when we go out and win that game. I got my first five, I said it’s no different than practice.” Milton’s trainer, Rod Harris, said about getting into a shootout. “Keep calm, stay cool and do what you do in practice. That’s all you have to do. This is what we are prepared for. We prepare to win the match like this. It just didn’t happen.”
Milton and Montoursville made their first penalty kicks. Montoursville, who shot first in each round, made the second with a low shot to the left post, but Milton’s second attempt went two feet over the goal to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead. Both teams made their third shots, both hitting the right post. In the fourth round, Bryn Jacopetti converted his shot to the left, which Milton’s goalkeeper Mo Reiner read perfectly, but couldn’t reach as he dove. Leading 4-2, Milton’s season came down to his fourth penalty kick, but the shot hit the crossbar and bounced down but did not clear the goal line.
“I told my daughters to stay positive. I have a lot of seniors, they’ve been here before.” Montoursville coach Vic Gorini said. “They understand that they should not focus on the situation, but on their task and put a good ball in the frame and put it in the net.”
Both teams went into halftime scoreless, as Montoursville and Milton played great defense to keep the other from scoring. It wasn’t until there were 14 minutes, 4 seconds left in the game when Jillian Irion sent a pass to the left of her to teammate Emma Cline that Montoursville’s offense ignited. That’s when Cline put the ball at her feet and sent a jumper for a 1-0 lead late in the half.
However, Milton continued to fight and did not lower his head. The Black Panthers were given a penalty kick and freshman Sammy Roarty made the shot. Roarty had ice in his veins, absolutely drilling a great shot to the right post for the tying goal with just 5:09 left in regulation.
“Sammy is a phenomenal player. She’s a freshman and she’s a middle-of-the-road girl that we do everything with. She’s great with the ball on her foot and she stepped up, handled the pressure and drilled it, man. she was amazing,” Harris said. “Tie it up with five minutes to go? Something like that in the game, I did not expect. … I couldn’t be more proud of our girls.”
After Roarty’s equalizing goal, Montoursville kept up the pressure and kept firing to try and score the go-ahead goal again.
“Obviously we just needed one goal at that point and they collapsed in their own half so we were trying to push high up the pitch. Milton played very hard, very hard. They certainly gave us all we could take for the entire night.” Gorini said. “It seemed like we couldn’t buy a goal most of the night. We were pressing but they have a very good goalkeeper and they excel on the pitch and they kept us out of the net most of the time.”
Montoursville held a 13-4 lead in shots on goal and owned during both overtime periods, but Milton limited the Warriors to just two shots on goal during those 30 minutes before the shootout.
“Kind of pushing their strikers into their own half, which allowed us to at least stay in their half and try to keep disconnecting and hopefully score a goal.” Gorini said. “It didn’t happen, but obviously we’re happy with the end result.”
While the Black Panthers only recorded four shots on goal all night, it was Reiner’s stellar play on goal that helped Milton stay in the game. The Black Panthers goalie played exceptionally all night, including a key late-game save to deflect the ball over the goal in the final 10 minutes. Reiner finished with a 12-save performance.
“Mo is absolutely crazy. The one I thought was inside, she didn’t even see it coming and threw it away. The boy is amazing. I’ve said that since she was in eighth grade. Harris said. He has cat reflexes. You can’t train that, you can’t teach that. It’s just innate within her. She just reacts to anything that comes her way. She is an incredible, incredible goalkeeper. She is really good.
Montoursville came close to scoring in the final five minutes of the first half when Madison Moll had the ball at his feet from outside the 18 and was passed by a Milton defender. He had few seconds and a small window, but capitalized with an outstanding shot, but it went high out of bounds, narrowly missing a great goal.
Montoursville recorded 11 shots on goal during regulation, eight of which came in the second half. Throughout the first half, both teams played well defensively on limiting looks. Of Montoursville’s three shots on target in the first half, only one, Moll’s near miss via narrow clearance, was from inside the 18.
“Our game plan was to go into the break 0-0. We do that, we come out strong to start the next 15 minutes of the second half, we make sure it’s tied at the end of the game.” Harris said. “We PKed for two weeks against Montoursville, mentally and physically, in our heads. He just didn’t come out like we practiced. Unfortunately, we missed number 2, and that caused the train to go the wrong way.”
Milton and Montoursville played in last year’s District 4 playoffs in which the Warriors outscored the Black Panthers, 2-1. So it’s no surprise that the two played a Clasico on Tuesday night and Gorini knew it would be an uphill battle getting into the game.
“I know Rod is going to have his kids ready. They are going to play hard and physically and use good tactics against us.” Gorini said. “That is exactly what we saw. We saw Grade-A Milton. They gave us everything we could handle.”
While the loss hurt Milton, almost shocking the undefeated Warriors, Harris is beyond proud of what his team did Tuesday night in leading Montoursville to penalty kicks and giving it their all.
“So proud. That’s the best game we’ve played all season. We were prepared, we were confident, we came into the game to execute a game plan.” Harris said. “We did that. The best we played all season against an 18-0 team that was also pretty sure to get in.”
Montoursville 2, Milton 1
(Montoursville wins SW, 4-2)
Mo-Emma Cline (Jillian Irion), 14:04. Mi-Sammy Roarty (penalty kick), 5:09.
Shots: Mi 4, Mo 13. Corners: Mi 2, Mo 4. Saves: Mi 12 (Mo Reiner), Mo 3 (Kierstyn Dawes, Anna Baylor).
Records: Milton (13-7), Montoursville (19-0).