Entering Thursday's District 6 Class AAA championship game with State College, the Hollidaysburg girls team was well aware of its opponent after falling to the Little Lady Lions in two of the last three district final matchups.
As frigid as the temperatures were at the games start, it was the heating up of the State College offense that spelled doom for the Lady Tigers.
Hollidaysburg (15-5) was held to just one shot on goal, as State College (15-5) overpowered the Lady Tigers to win its sixth straight District 6-AAA title, 5-1, at Mansion Park.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Hollidaysburg goalie Peyton Civils hugs teammate Madison Bernard after the Lady?Tigers’ 5-1 loss to State College in Thursday night’s district final.
"They didn't give us too many opportunities," Hollidaysburg coach Dave Soellner said. "We didn't stay calm like we usually do. We got nervous and started chasing them instead of playing our game and played right into their hands."
State College forward Haley Crawford missed a wide open net just over a minute into the game, but it was only a sign of things to come.
The Lady Tigers were able to withstand the pressure until forward Victoria Crawford split two Hollidaysburg defenders and found the top left corner of the net to give State a one goal advantage at half, despite posting ten shots on goal.
While Hollidaysburg goalie Peyton Civils had her hands full, State College keeper Caitlyn Fosnacht did not see a ball come to her until there was 11:40 just remaining in the half.
"Peyton was under a lot of pressure," Soellner said. "This is the first game this season that we've had someone put us under pressure like this."
That pressure only elevated in the second half.
In a span of just over 12 minutes, the Lady Lions netted four goals to run away with the victory, led by sisters Haley and Victoria Crawford.
Ten minutes into the second half, Sophomore Haley assisted Senior Victoria for her second goal, before adding a tally of her own just minutes later.
The Crawfords, along with fellow forward Robin Derr, compiled numerous scoring chances and their chemistry was evident with their display of passing and working the ball around the field.
"[Haley Crawford] is really quick," Soellner said. "We've run with three defenders all season, so there was no sense in changing that for the championship game. With the caliber of a team like State College that has three forwards that can attack like that, we were under pressure a lot."
Victoria netted her third goal of the game to continue the rout, and Molly Pete added State's last goal with twenty minutes still remaining on the clock.
"This might be our most prolific scoring season," State College coach Kevin Morooney said. "[Haley, Victoria and Robin Derr] are three very good athletes with different abilities. One has speed, one is physical and the other is a combination of the two. It gives us options to move side to side on the field and take advantage of matchups. They have been making defenders' lives miserable all season."
Emily Brown added Hollidaysburg's lone goal late in the game on a free kick from 20 yards out, as it was the Lady Tigers' only shot on goal.
Since State College moved to the Mid-Penn Conference, it has lost traditional matchups, but has benefited from playing a tougher schedule.
"With the Mid-Penn, it has been disappointing to lose the District 6 rivalries," Morooney said. "We don't know our own district as well. I felt confident the Mid-Penn would prepare us well for our district, with the brutal schedule it provides."
Hollidaysburg will end its season at 15-5, but Soellner couldn't be more proud.
"Our seven seniors all brought something to the table," Soellner said. "Id take those seven against anybody, anyday. They do the things that you want them to do. I'd go to battle for any of them."
SCORE BY HALVES
State College1 4 - 5
Hollidaysburg 0 1 - 1
First Half: SC-V. Crawford (unassisted), 18:18.
Second Half: SC-V. Crawford (H. Crawford), 49:15; SC-H. Crawford (unassisted), 54:54; SC-V. Crawford (Reid), 56:47; SC-Pate (unassisted), 61:30; H-Brown (unassisted), 64:46.
Records: State College (15-5); Hollidaysburg (15-5).