Warriors’ Historic Season Ends In State Quarterfinals
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 out-shoot 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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