Athens falls to Mifflinburg.

By: Coy Gobble | Towanda Daily Review | November 2, 2017

 

LOYALSOCK — The Athens boys’ soccer team lost to Mifflinburg, 1-0, in the District IV Class AAA final on Wednesday evening.

Mifflinburg’s Gabriel DeFacis scored the game winning goal with five minutes remaining in the match.

In the first half, Mifflinburg came out strong and fast. After taking the ball from Athens, Mifflinburg kept the ball at the Athens goal for the first three minutes, but couldn’t muster a goal.

Athens recovered from their slow start and settled into the game, trading possessions for most of the first half.

Later in the first half, Mifflinburg connected on a through ball inside the Athens box. With wet conditions on the field, the ball bounced too far for Mifflinburg’s Mason Novobilski and Athens keeper Braden Priester ran through the ball. Unable to control the ball with his hands, Priester tried to clear the ball, but the ball slid off the side of his foot to a Mifflinburg player. With Priesterout of place, Mifflinburg sent a high looping shot to the goal but Athens’ David Sheftic leaped and got just enough of the ball with his head to skip the ball over the goal.

The first half ended 0-0.

In the second half, Athens almost took the lead with 19 minutes remaining. Ethan Lane won a 50/50 ball from Athens’ backfield, juked his defender and streamed down the middle of the field. In the box, Lane send a grass-burning shot to the left corner of the net, but the Mifflinburg keeper dove and stopped the shot.

With five minutes left in the match and all of the marbles on the line, Mifflinburg finally broke through Priester and the Athens defense.

Mifflinburg’s Elijah Yoder send a long, high-arching pass into the box from just ahead of midfield. Mifflinburg’s Gabriel DeFracis shielded his defender inside the five yard box and finessed the pass off the side off his foot into the back of the net as Priester was playing the long pass.

“We like to come out fast from the start,” Mifflinburg coach Dan Gehers said. “We had plenty of shots that it seemed like we would have put away easier and the one that went through was with a lot of finesse, and that kid can do that.”

Athens coach Jacob Lezak was disappointed after the match, but knows to look at the season as a whole.

“You’re either going to be the one team to win it all or your season is going to end in disappointment,” Lezak said. “Unfortunately, this was our stop. To be honest, they were the better team today. They controlled the ball and the field and did what we wanted to do. Looking back on the season, it was an incredible one. We played some fantastic games against some really good teams, our boys have a lot to be proud of.”

Mifflinburg out shot Athens 11-3 and held the edge in corner kicks, 6-4.

Priester finished his game with eight saves.