H.S. GIRLS SOCCER: Southern Columbia routs Loyalsock
CATAWISSA RR - Southern Columbia's games the past four years with Loyalsock have been epic.
Those battles have also gone against the Tigers every time.
During that span there are regular season and playoff losses. ... And one of the Tigers' few blemishes this year was a 1-1 overtime tie with the Lancers.
All that is behind Southern now.
With a 6-1 Heartland Conference Division II victory over Loyalsock Tuesday afternoon, Southern Columbia, the newly crowned division champ, threw the monkey off its back, spanked it and sent it on a bus back to Williamsport.
Major pieces of those teams the last four years, Bailey Bzdak and Mackenzie Clark, scored two goals apiece for the Tigers.
"It's huge," Southern Columbia head coach Derek Stine said. "They haven't beaten them in four years and the girls wanted to send a message. They did a great job and the girls did well."
The message early on in this game for the Tigers was patience.
It took 15 minutes, 30 seconds to get the first goal on the board. After that, however, the scoreboard was ticking upwards at a furious pace.
Bzdak scored Southern's first goal on a ball she got from Haley Levan. Bzdak then turned around, sent a blistering shot at Loyalsock's goalie and the ball squirted past and into the net.
Less than five minutes later, Bzdak scored again.
Then, 2:30 later, Mackenzie Haladay lofted a shot that found its way under the crossbar. Sammy Thomas assisted on the goal.
Clark then scored her first goal and the rout was on.
Allie Pagana got the Lancers on the board, but the Tigers' defense did as good a job on their end as the scorers did on the other side of the field.
Southern's defense held Loyalsock to just three shots, and is doing its best to make the switch from Jess Watkins, a four-year starter at goalie who was injured earlier this season, to Abbey Herr, a sophomore with potential but not much experience, smoother.
"There's always concern when you lose your starting keeper, but the more you play, the more they get a little more comfortable with Abbey and then they can relax a little," Stine said. "Right now, they're working hard to help her and once they get a little more confidence, things will smooth right out."
The Tigers have one more game in the regular season to gel before they head into the playoffs, where they should be one of the top seeds in the District 4 Class A draw.
Seeding doesn't mean much to Stine, though. Two teams advance from the district to the state playoffs, and instead of thinking about the playoffs going through Southern, Stine is taking a harder line to keep his players in the right frame of mind.
"If you look at it the other way, we have to play through all them, too," Stine said. "In the postseason, you can't take anybody for granted."
Loyalsock (10-6-1) 1 0 - 1
Southern (15-1-1) 5 1 - 6