MIDDLEBURG - Many times there is a fine line between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. That was definitely the case Tuesday afternoon in Middleburg.
As Shikellamy's players and coaches rushed the field to celebrate a game-winning goal, heads dropped on the Midd-West sideline as the squad's season came to an end in the opening round of the District 4 Class AA tournament.
Only seconds earlier, the Mustangs were on the offensive trying to score the sudden-victory goal and punch their ticket to a match-up with top-seeded Bloomsburg.
Sentinel photo by ZACH KNEPP
Midd-West’s Tricia Martin, right, beats Shikellamy’s Alexis Reid to a ball during their District 4 Class AA play-in game Tuesday in Middleburg
Once the Braves cleared the ball from trouble, the team from Northumberland County quickly moved the ball the length of the field and scored the overtime winner.
Alexis Reid's winner came off a rebound after an initial save by Midd-West goalie Mikayla Freed to bring the final score to 2-1.
"In overtime it is a battle of attrition. Whoever has the legs left has the advantage," Midd-West coach Mandi Romig said. "I thought they were a little quicker in overtime than we were and the winning goal showed that."
Freed had a standout final game of her career in the cage. She made six saves and stopped a penalty shot while the game was tied 1-1 midway through the second half.
"She was huge for us," Romig said. "On the (winning) goal she stopped the first shot. That is all you ask of a goalie. We just couldn't clear it."
Shikellamy (10-8-1) beat Freed the first time with 13:34 remaining before halftime to take the lead. Cory Yerger blasted the ball into the back of the cage on an assist by Erika Rohrbach to silence the home crowd.
The first half was dominated by the Braves, who split their two regular season meetings with the Mustangs during Heartland Athletic Conference Division I play - including one other game that went to 7-on-7.
"I don't know if was a case of nerves," Romig said. "We definitely came out on our heels at the start."
Midd-West (10-9) had a stronger effort in the second half as it tied the game on a goal by Candace Hackenberg on a corner. Tricia Martin was credited with the assist.
"That was a nice goal," Romig said. "We worked on adapting and thinking for yourself on corners all year. That goal was a result of that. They did what they needed to do to get that goal."
Despite the loss, Romig thought her team had a successful season.
"I think we improved on a weekly basis this season. We have a young team and this year will help greatly in the future," she said.
As for her seniors, Romig was happy with the class of 2012's season.
"I can't say enough about our seniors. They were good leaders and helped this team greatly."