Wellsboro wins first-ever state playoff game.

By: Coy Gobble | Towanda Daily Review | November 8, 2017

 

WILLIAMSPORT — The Wellsboro Green Hornets defeated the Greenwood Wildcats, 1-0, in the first round of the PIAA Class A boys' soccer tournament on Tuesday for their first ever boys' soccer state playoff win in school history.

"It's amazing," Wellsboro coach John Shaffer said after the game. "It honestly takes our program to a whole new level. The district championship did that too, but this win — for all of the underclassmen, for all of the middle school kids and the youth teams — winning a state game changes everything. It sets the bar so much higher. Whether you're a third-grader or a eighth-grader, your expectation is now to win a state playoff game."

Wellsboro's Noah Fitch broke the 0-0 tie with 13 minutes left in the first half. Off of a counter-play, Fitch initially lost the ball to a Greenwood challenger. Wellsboro's Brett Rudy blocked the defender's pass upfield and deflected the ball into open space just outside of the Greenwood box.

Fitch collected the ball, touched it twice and sent a perfect shot to the top right corner of the goal to take the 1-0 lead.

Greenwood held possession for most of the game and mounted shot after shot at the end of the second half, but couldn't get past Wellsboro's defense and keeper, Nate Redell.

"All of our defense's hard work has paid off," Shaffer said. "We were winning some games this year, 14,13-0, and everyday I would hammer the defense. We kept training and training and training. I kept telling them that, in the end, defense was going to be the key.

"We scored a lot of goals this year, but in the end, not giving up goals is going to be key. So all of their hard work throughout the summer and the season when we were winning games when I was stressing about getting shutouts really paid off.

"We talk about having artists and soldiers on our team. The artists are our attackers, they have a little more creative freedom, and our defenders and our mid-fielders are our soldiers. They're expected to not do anything flashy and they're not going to get much credit. They're going to fight and put their bodies on the line and man, did they do that tonight. They were soldiers for the team tonight."

Wellsboro edged Greenwood in shots on goal, 11-10, and Greenwood held the edge in corner kicks, 8-3.

Wellsboro keeper Nate Redell finished the game with seven saves.

"I'm exhausted," Shaffer said. "And I wasn't even playing! I guess that's what happens when you're under the stress of a state game that you know you have a chance to win. I'm just so happy for the boys, they worked so hard against a really good Greenwood team."

The Green Hornets advance to the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class A playoffs to face Masterman on Saturday. The location is to be determined.