MIDDLEBURG — Nick Ritter scored four goals — all in the first half — to
lead second-seeded Selinsgrove to a 7-0 win over third-seeded Athens in
the semifinals of the District 4, Class AAA boys soccer playoffs here
Saturday afternoon at Midd-West High School.
“We knew (Ritter) was a great goal-scorer, and he proved that today,” said Athens coach Jake Lezak. “We knew he was a good player, and we didn’t take care of business.
“We gave him too much room to play,” noted Lezak. “He stayed off our line, and created his own space. He did what a great goal-scorer does.
“I just don’t think we played against enough dynamic players like him to have been really prepared for that.
“And, once we got down, it was all uphill from there,” added Lezak.
About 4 11/2 minutes into the game, Ritter made a strong run down the left wing, and scored his first goal to put the Seals up 1-0.
About four minutes later, Ritter struck again. Six minutes after that, he headed in a corner kick for his hat trick to extend Selinsgrove’s lead to 3-0 with 25:20 left in the first half.
With 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Ritter collected a through-ball and deposited a shot into the back of the net to make it 4-0.
The Seals tacked on three goals in the second half — two by freshman Jace Diehl and one by sophomore Jake Keeney. Ryan Mangels had two assists.
Selinsgrove had a 21-3 advantage in shots-on-goal.
The Wildcats wrap up the season with a 12-7 record.
“I’m really proud of the boys for the season we had,” said Lezak. “We lost a lot of games, but it was a really tough schedule.
“We bounced back and won the league this year. The guys can hang their hat on that,” noted Lezak. “And, we had some non-league wins they can be proud of.
“Some of the other games gives us something to work for next year,” he added.
For the third year in a row, the Wildcats will graduate a large group of seniors.
“We have 11 seniors — it’s a really big loss for us. .
“I think they had as big of an impact off the field, as they did on the field for us,” said Lezak. “These guys do a lot of great things for the school and the team, and provide a lot of leadership.
“It’s definitely going to be tough to fill those shoes,” he noted. “They’ve had great careers.
“Last year was a down year for us in a sense, but we bounced back this year,” added Lezak. “I don’t think teams thought we’d be at this point this year, having to replace so many guys three years in a row.”
EAST TROY — Athens scored two quick goals, and cruised to an 8-0 win
over Troy here Thursday afternoon to clinch the NTL boys soccer title.
For the Wildcats, who posted a 9-1 mark in league play, it is their seventh league title in eight years, after being displaced from the top spot by Wellsboro last year.
“It feels good to be back on top,” said Athens coach Jake Lezak. “We gained a lot of perspective after last year. I think it leveled the players to know they had to fight for it, and work for it.
“It means a lot to these guys,” noted Lezak. “To lose at home (to Wellsboro), then to have to beat Wellsboro there, and win out the remainder of the season … the guys talked about having to win out, and getting one step closer with each win.
ATHENS — Athen scored three goals in less than 10 minutes early in the
first half in a 6-0 win over Galeton here Thursday afternoon in NTL boys
The Wildcats dominated play, outshooting Galeton, 20-1. They also had a 9-0 edge in corner kicks.
Junior Levent VanHolden scored about four minutes into the game to give Athens a 1-0 lead, and senior Nate Quinn, off a feed from senior Mason Hughey, scored 3 1/2 minutes later to make it 2-0.
With 26:34 remaining in the first half, Hughey scored an unassisted goal to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
Senior Daniel Horton capped the first-half scoring with 12:30 left int he first half to make it 4-0.
Quinn scored 2 minutes into the second half to extend the lead to 5-0.
Sophomore Korey Miller finished off the scoring with 8:30 remaining in the game, off an assist from senior Jason Gao.
Athens, now 10-6, improves to 8-1 in league play, and can clinch the NTL title Thursday with a win at Troy.
WELLSBORO — Senior Mason Hughey drove a shot from the left hash into the
net inside the far post with 60 seconds remaining in the game to lift
Athens to a 2-1 win over Wellsboro here Tuesday afternoon in NTL boys
The win put Athens in sole possession of first place in the NTL with a 7-1 league mark, while Wellsboro falls to 6-1-1.
The Green Hornets got the better of play in the first half, but the Wildcats, thanks to the play of senior keeper Levi Kuhn and the defensive back line, spearheaded by sophomore Alex Campbell, kept them off the board.
“(Wellsboro) put us under a lot of immediate pressure, but the guys made some great plays,” said Athens coach Jake Lezak.
“Levi’s been flying all over the place,” he noted. “We’re pleased with what’s going on there, and definitely with our back line.
“They had a lot to deal with. Wellsboro is tough up top, they’re very physical and quick,” added Lezak. “It was nice to get out 0-0 at the half.”
With 27:48 remaining in the contest, Hughey took a feed from senior Nate Quinn, and made a run down the right hash. He was tripped up in the box, and drove home the resulting penalty kick to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
“Nate (Quinn) played a beautiful ball in, and I just took it line,” noted Hughey. “I beat the defender, and had an open lane to the goal … and he tripped me from behind.”
“I was just focused on burying it in the goal,” said Hughey of the penalty kick. “The Wellsboro kids were talking around me, trying to get in my head, but I just had to tune them out.
“I saw the goalie go one way, so I went the other,” added Hughey. “He went to the left, which is where I was going to go, but I saw him move, so I went right. It was a last-second switch … I was a little scared I was going to pull it right.”
With 10 minutes remaining, Wellsboro’s Peyton McClure headed a shot past Kuhns to tie the game at 1-1. The goal came off a corner kick, and was the third header in a sequence which the ball never hit the ground.
The Green Hornets pressured the Athens goal for several minutes, but were unable to get the go-ahead score.
With a little more than a minute to play, the Wildcats countered and Quinn found Hughey open down the left hash.
With a defender a half-step behind on his right hip, Hughey ripped a shot with his left foot that crossed the goal mouth and ripped into the net just inside the far post with 1:00 left on the game clock.
According to Lezak, the goal was the result of a halftime adjustment.
“We talked about some things at half, and shuffled a couple of guys around,” said Lezak. “We moved Mason (Hughey) back to the left-side to put pressure on there.
“We were working with the guys on pressing in the corners, and taking the corners — getting it deep in the 18 and doing those things,” added Lezak. “It paid off.”
“Originally, I was going to go right wing, but there was a last-minute switch to the left,” said Hughey. “The guys had been playing balls in all day, and I was barely missing them.
“That one from Nate was perfect, and I took it line, and went across my body (with the shot),” he added. “The keeper made a good effort, but it was just out of his reach.”
Lezak was impressed with the game-winner.
“That was a great goal,” he said. “That’s what we look to do, we force the issue in training. It was a great series.
“We yell at the guys in practice to keep the ball rolling. We need to look fast,” noted Lezak. “You take guys with average pace, and some quick guys and you make them look faster because the ball continues to roll.
“It disorganizes a defense. … it was the quick combination we’ve been hoping for,” he continued. “We’ve done it in a lot of games.
“We were finally able to catch (Wellsboro) in transition, where we were able to slide it behind, and Mason was able to get the corner, and get deeper into the 18. And, it was a great finish,” Lezak added. “He’s got a great left leg.”
In their first meeting this season, Wellsboro ripped the net for five goals in a 5-3 win at Alumni Stadium.
Lezak said his team has put in a great deal of work since then to ensure there would be no repeat performance by the Green Hornets.
“We’ve been working, and changing a lot of things,” he said. “We’ve been working on a lot of things defensively to lock down the mistakes we were making.
“We’ve caused ourselves a lot of headaches in the back. I think the boys have worked really hard for this.
“We’ve shuffled guys around — we’re a different team right now,” added Lezak.
Hughey was pleased to get a bit of redemption.
“It feels amazing to come over here and win a game against a very talented Wellsboro team,” he said. “I’m sure we’re feeling the same way they did winning on our turf.”
The Wildcats, now 9-6 overall, can clinch the league title with wins over Galeton Thursday, and Troy on Oct. 23.
“(This win) has to feel great for the guys, but it’s not over yet,” said Lezak. “We still have two more league games before we lock anything down.
“Hopefully, we build off of this, and finish the season strong heading into the postseason,” he added.
ATHENS — Junior Brayden Post scored gave Athens the lead midway through
the second half, and the Wildcat defense made it stand in a 3-2 win over
Williamsport here Saturday in non-league boys soccer action.
Senior Nate Quinn scored in the 5th minute to give the Wildcats a quick 1-0 lead. Senior Daniel Horton was credited with an assist.
In the 24th minute, Horton scored off an assist from Quinn to put Athens up 2-0.
The Millionaires scored two goals in 76 seconds to tie the game at 2-2.
Owen Kaar scored the first goal off an assist from Angelo Kasas with 9:10 remaining in the first half, and Jimmy Pombor netted an unassisted goal with 7:54 left.
After more than 17 minutes of scoreless action in the second half, Post scored an unassisted goal with 22:48 remaining in game to put the Wildcats up 3-2.
Athens had an 11-7 edge in shots-on-goal, and a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Senior Levi Kuhns recorded five saves in net for the Wildcats.
Athens, now 8-6 overall, travels to Wellsboro Tuesday. Wellsboro is unbeaten in league play, but has one tie, while Athens has just one loss in NTL play.
ROME, Pa. — Neither team was able to get off many shots, but Athens made
the most of theirs in a 3-0 win over Northeast Bradford here Wednesday
afternoon in NTL boys soccer action.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 6-1 in NTL play, and remain just 1/2-game behind first place Wellsboro (6-0-1).
Senior Daniel Horton scored in the 10th minute of the game — on the Wildcats’ third, and final, shot-on-goal of the first half — to give Athens a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats only managed three shots in the second half, too, but senior Nate Quinn found the back of the net with the last two — in the 60th minute and the 68th minute — to extend the lead to 3-0.
Northeast Bradford only got off three shots-on-goal — two in first half, and one in the second — in the 80 minutes.
NEB had a 7-6 edge in corner kicks.
Senior Levi Kuhns had three saves in net for Athens, while Garrett Cooper had three for the Panthers.
Athens, now 7-6 overall, returns to action Saturday when it hosts Williamsport.
ATHENS — Athens scored three goals late in the game to pull out a 3-0
win over North Penn-Liberty here Saturday morning in NTL boys soccer
action at Alumni Stadium.
With the win, Athens (6-6 overall) improves to 5-1 in league play, and trails Wellsboro (5-0-1) by 1/2-game.
After nearly 69 minutes of scoreless action, junior Brayden Post found the back of the net with 11:04 remaining in the game to put the Wildcats up 1-0. Senior Mason Hughey was credited with an assist.
With 7:22 remaining, senior Daniel Horton scored an unassisted goal to give Athens a 2-0 lead.
Hughey finished off the scoring three minutes later.
Athens had a 14-1 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 10-2 edge in corner kicks.
Senior Levi Kuhns had one save in net for Athens.
Athens returns to action Wednesday at NEB.
ATHENS — Athens played state-ranked Maine-Endwell even for nearly 47
minutes, but the Spartans scored three goals in a 10-minute span on its
way to a 4-1 win here Thursday night in non-league boys soccer action at
William Napierala scored about seven minutes into the game to give M-E a quick 1-0 lead, but the Wildcats kept the high-scoring Spartans, ranked second in Class A in New York state, off the board for the remainder of the first half.
With 6 minutes remaining in the first half, senior Mason Hughey made a strong run down the left flank, and fired a shot to the far post that eluded the keeper and found the net to tie the game at 1-1.
With about 33 minutes left in the contest, Jack Colling gave M-E a 2-1 lead with a penalty kick, and 5 1/2 minutes later, Naperala scored again to make it 3-1.
With 23 minutes remaining, Justin Coleman added an insurance goal to provide the final margin.
M-E had a 14-3 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
Levi Kuhns registered seven saves in net for the Wildcats.
Athens, now 5-6, returns to action Saturday morning when it hosts NTL rival North Penn-Liberty.
CORNING — Corning scored 49 seconds into the match, and cruised to a 6-0
win over Athens here Tuesday night in non-league boys soccer action.
Carter Rosno, off a feed from Jaylen King, gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the first minute, then scored about three minutes later, on an assist from Aidan Crane, to make it 2-0.
Luke Johns, off a feed from Rosno, made it 3-0 midway through the first half.
Crane finished off the first-half scoring late in the first half, off another assist from Rosno.
Lenard Jensen and Micah Cornfield added second-half goals for the Hawks. rosin recorded his third assist on Jensen’s goal, and Johns had an assist on the final goal of the game.
Corning had a 19-2 advantage in shots-on-goal, and an 8-0 edge in corner kicks.
Junior Grant Liechty registered 11 saves in net for the Wildcats.
Athens falls to 5-5 on the season.
The Wildcats host powerhouse Maine-Endwell Thursday.
ATHENS — Athens scored four goals in the second half to pull away from
Northeast Bradford in a 5-0 win here Monday afternoon in NTL boys soccer
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 4-1 in league play, and knock the Panthers, now 3-1-1 in the NTL, from the ranks of the unbeaten. Wellsboro leads the league with a 4-0-1 record.
After more than 28 minutes of scoreless action to start the game, senior Daniel Horton put the Wildcats on the board with 10:30 remaining in the first half.
Senior Mason Hughey made it 2-0 with 27:10 remaining in the contest, and junior Brayden Post scored to up the lead to 3-0 about eight minutes later.
With 14:05 remaining, senior Tucker Brown gave Athens a 4-0 lead, and Hughey capped the scoring with 9:23 left in the game.
Athens had a 13-4 advantage in shots-on-goal, and a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.
Grant Liechty recorded three saves for the Wildcats.
Athens, now 5-4 overall, travels to Corning Tuesday.
TIOGA JUNCTION, Pa. — Junior Levent Van Holden netted a hat trick, and
Athens scored five second-half goals in a 6-0 win over Williamson here
Thursday afternoon in NTL boys soccer.
“It’s a good win after Tuesday,” said Athens coach Jake Lezak in reference to the Wildcats’ 5-3 home loss to Wellsboro.
“We know we need to win out (in the league),” he added. “I hope this (win) helps the guys settle down, and get focused.”
Van Holden’s first varsity hat trick made for a “good birthday present for him,” said Lezak.
“It was a Sweet 16,” said Lezak.
“He definitely gave us a spark,” noted Lezak. “We know he’s capable of doing just what he did tonight.
“He very much doesn’t give himself enough credit,” continued Lezak. “Before the game we talked about what we needed him to do.
“In the first half, it was a different position for him, we didn’t train him there, but he has a high soccer IQ, he understands the game very well,” added Lezak. “We talked at the half … getting him to make adjustments, and he went out and did it.”
VanHolden scored midway through the first half to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead, which it would take into the half.
The Wildcats put the game out of reach quickly in the second half. Van Holden scored another unassisted goal two minutes after the intermission, then scored again about four minutes later, off a feed from senior Mason Hughey, to make it 3-0.
Sophomore Korey Miller scored twice in a 2 1/2-minute span to give Athens a 5-0 lead with 26:06 remanning in the game. The first goal was assisted by junior Brayden Post, and the second by Hughey.
With 17:04 remaining in the match, Hughey capped the scoring, off an assist from Van Holden.
The Wildcats were playing without their leading scorer, and Lezak said that played a part in their slow start.
“We didn’t have Nate Quinn tonight, so we shuffled a couple of guys around,” he said. “It took them a while to get settled in, in the first half.
“We were putting some good pressure on, but we weren’t being really dangerous,” Lezak noted. “We were taking a lot of shots, and they were all on target … we had some good chances in the first half.
“We talked about what we needed to do at halftime, and the guys adjusted … and they responded the right way,” Lezak added.
Athens had a 22-3 advantage in shots-on-goal, while both teams had three corner kicks.
Grant Liechty had three saves in net for the Wildcats.
Athens, now 4-4, hosts Northeast Bradford Monday.
ATHENS — Four different players scored goals, including three in a 4
1/2-minute span, to lead Wellsboro to a, 5-3, come-from-behind win over
Athens here in NTL boys soccer action at Alumni Stadium.
“Truthfully, it is unacceptable on our part,” said longtime Athens coach Jake Lezak. “Mentally, the guys have to get it figured out.
“(Wellsboro) capitalized on some very poor team defending, and individual defending … and took advantage of miscues and bad plays.
“I mean, we gave up five goals, four in the second half — three within about five minutes, and it was 100 percent on us,” added Lezak. “The guys have to take ownership of it, and do a better job with the mental side of the game.”
Lezak said there was some good in the game for the Wildcats, but once it went bad, his team did not respond.
“In my opinion, we had the better of the play for all, but about 12 minutes of the game, most of that in the second half.
“We have all the tools to be successful. We had all the tools tonight to win, and we simply did not put it together for 80 minutes,” said Lezak. “It’s not like you have to play a mistake-free game, but you certainly can’t fold like that.
“We didn’t play a team game, and (Wellsboro) did,” noted Lezak. “When we started making mistakes, guys started standing and watching.
“You can’t win games with 11 guys working together,” he added.
Wellsboro’s Sam Rudy scored about 7 1/2 minutes into the game, and Green Hornets held the lead for more than 25 minutes.
With 6:38 remaining in the half, senior Nate Quinn, off a feed from senior Daniel Horton, found the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Three minutes later, Quinn, off an assist from senior Mason Hughey, ripped a shot into the net gain to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
About 4 1/2 minutes into the second half, Jacoo Abadi scored for the Green Hornets to tie the game at 2-2.
Hughey put Athens ahead 3-2 with a goal about 14 minutes later, but Wellsboro answered with a trio of goals in rapid succession.
With 19:03 remaining, Matthew Richards found the back of the net to tie the game at 3-3. Just 41 seconds later, Rudy gave the Green Hornets the lead for good, at 4-3.
Jack Poirer added an insurance goal less than four minutes later to put Wellsboro up 5-3.
“We created opportunities and finished our shots tonight, a combination we have been missing. The boys continue to play with great resolve,” said Wellsboro coach Todd Fitch.
Lezak, now in his 17th season, said he’s not sure the last time Athens gave up five goals in an NTL match.
“I would say you would have to go back to my first couple years, when Troy was dominating the league.”
Wellsboro had a 16-15 edge in shots-on-goal, while Athens had a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Grant Liechty had five saves in net for the Wildcats.
Athens, now 3-4 overall and 2-1 in NTL play, travels to Williamson Thursday.
MILLVILLE — Senior Nate Quinn scored two goals to lead Athens to a 2-1
win over Millville here Monday night in non-league boys soccer action.
Quinn opened the scoring with 4:28 remaining in the first half to put the Wildcats up 1-0. Senior Mason Hughey was credited with an assist.
It took more than 30 minutes for either team to find the net again.
With 12:48 remaining in the game, Quinn scored an unassisted goal to make it 2-0.
About 3 minutes later, Eli Klinger put the Quakers on the board, but the Athens defense stiffened and preserved the win.
Millville had an 11-7 edge in shots-on-goal, while Athens had a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Senior Levi Kuhn recorded nine saves in net for the Wildcats.
Athens, now 11-6, closes the regular season Thursday at Troy. A win will clinch the NTL title.
ATHENS — Senior Nate Quinn and sophomore Korey Miller scored three goals
apiece to lead Athens to an 8-0 win over Galeton here Thursday
afternoon in NTL boys soccer action.
Miller opened the scoring with an unassisted goal nine minutes into the contest. About 2 /12 minutes later, Quinn scored off a feed from Daniel Horton, to make it 2-0.
Just 79 seconds later, Horton and Quinn teamed up against to up the Athens lead to 3-0.
With 22:26 remaining in the half, Quinn, off another assist from Horton, completed his hat trick to increase the lead to 4-0.
The goals kept coming for the Wildcats as Miller scored with 17:06 left in the first half, and senior Mason Hughey capped the first-half barrage six minutes later to make it 6-0.
Miller finished off his first career hat trick five minutes into the second half to push the lead to 7-0, and Hughey tallied the game’s final goal 40 seconds later.
Athens had a 16-1 advantage in shots-on-goal, while Galeton had a 1-0 edge in corner kicks.
Athens, now 3-3, hosts Wellsboro Tuesday.
HORSEHEADS — Horseheads scored about eight minutes into the game, and
made it stand, topping Athens, 2-0, here Saturday night in non-league
boys soccer action at the school’s new multi-sport stadium.
Trevor Howard, off a feed from from Jimmy Haberstoh, found the back of net from a little less than 10 yards out to give Horseheads a quick 1-0 lead.
After more than 53 minutes of scoreless action, the Blue Raiders believed they had added an insurance goal with 18:59 remaining in the game. Athens keeper Levi Kuhn attempted to make a diving grab of a free kick, but the ball squirted loose, and Connor Benitez was there to punch it into the net.
The official closest to the play quickly waived the goal off, keeping it a one-goal game.
Horseheads kept the pressure on in the later stages of the game, and Haberstoh tacked on an unassisted goal with 4:45 remaining to provide the final margin.
Horseheads had an 8-3 advantage in shots-on-goal. Both teams attempted two direct kids.
Kuhns had six saves in net for the Wildcats, while Carson Smith had three for the Blue Raiders.
Athens, now 2-3, returns to action Tuesday at Troy.