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BY JEFF FALK

ROBESONIA – There are countless special things about ‘the greatest season ever’. But the best thing about it is that it provides its own consolation.

On a breezy Tuesday night at Conrad Weiser High School, the Northern Lebanon girls’ soccer program’s best season ever came to a close with a 2-1, double-overtime loss to Wyomissing, during the Vikings’ first-ever appearance in the District Three Class AA championship game. The Spartans’ Hannah Hurleman netted the game-winner with 6:18 left in the second overtime session, off an assist from Isabel Marshall.

The result ended Northern Lebanon’s historic campaign at 16-2. Along the way, the Vikings captured their first Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four championship in program history and earned their first ever trip to the league playoffs.

But that’s just a part of it. The Vikings’ also set program records for most shutouts in a season and fewest goals in a campaign. In addition, senior Taylor Batz set the new standard for goals in a career – 57- senior Emily Hauck set a new program record for goals in a season – 21 – and head coach Jeff Snyder was honored as the Section Four coach of the year.

With the triumph, top-seeded Wyomissing improved to 19-1 on the fall and advanced to the PIAA Class AA playoffs.

“We did a lot of good things this year,” said Snyder. “Losing 2-1 tonight, that’s not bad. We would’ve liked to have gone to states, but Wyomissing had to work for the win. Yes, we did surpass my expectations, and I think the girls would probably agree with me. Things just fell our way, but we worked for everything we got.

“My personal goal coming into the season was to get the section championship,” continued Snyder. “I knew we’d be strong enough to get that. I was hoping to get our second district playoff berth in-a-row, but I wasn’t sure when I was told there were going to be four teams (because of COVID-19).”

Wyomissing had misfired on two previous, dangerous chances in overtime, before Hurleman ultimately connected. After accepting the feed from Marshall in close, Hurleman turned and fired a right-footer along the ground that just eluded Northern Lebanon goalie Ashlyn Messinger.

“Number 15 (Hurleman) is obviously their target player,” said Snyder. “There was nice rotation, and she turned and fired. If we could’ve gotten it cleared we might have been able to get to penalty kicks. But I do credit her. She got it in there. She had a person on her. She had good skills.

“We only got to see them (the Spartans) on video,” added Snyder. “We watched their Elco game. We knew they had fast runners on the sidelines. We knew (number) 15 would be someone to be reckoned with.”

Northern Lebanon had forced overtime on a goal from Hauck, with 8:39 left in regulation.

From the right side of the field, Sadie Baez found Hauck in front of the Wyomissing net. Hauck was able to turn, before ripping a low shot inside the far post.

“I thought we played well,” said Snyder. “We had our opportunities that we didn’t get. Overall, we held off the onslaught. They’re (the Spartans) a great team on corner kicks. We were hoping to get to penalty kicks. But I’m happy with the overall performance of my team. They (the Spartans) fought for their victory tonight.”

Wyomissing had grabbed a 1-0 lead 14:34 into the championship match off a corner kick from the left side of the field. Cadence Hoch took the corner for the Spartans and bent her kick into the upper short-side corner of the Northern Lebanon net, without any assistance.

“I think she had her hands on it,” said Snyder of Messinger’s attempt to save the shot. “Those types of things she usually knocks out. But it was coming in fast.

“In the first ten or 15 minutes of games, we’re usually nervous,” Snyder continued. “We’re afraid to make the mistake, and we make the mistake. As the game goes on, we settle down.”

In the final tally, Wyomissing out shot Northern Lebanon 14-3. The Spartans took 13 corner kicks to the Vikings’ two.

“They’re (the Spartans) really good,” said Snyder. “But I think the best team we played this year was Manheim Township (in the semifinals of the league playoffs). They won the better part of the play. But my girls played with heart. They knew they were the underdogs.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2020 Northern Lebanon Girls’ Soccer Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/24
4:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
1
4

League
9/25
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Oley Valley Area H.S.
7
0

Nonleague
9/30
4:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
0
2

League
10/05
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
1
0

League
10/07
4:00 pm
Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon
0
12

League
10/08
6:15 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Muhlenberg
6
2

Nonleague
10/12
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
2
0

Nonleague
10/14
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
1
0

League
10/16
4:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
0
1

League
10/17
10:00 am
Northern Lebanon
Williams Valley
at Spring-Ford
5
0

Nonleague
10/19
3:30 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
4
0

League
10/20
4:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
Postponed
League
10/23
4:00 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon
2
4

Nonleague
10/24
10:00 am
Northern Lebanon
at McCaskey
6
1

Nonleague
10/26
6:30 pm
Manheim Township
Northern Lebanon
at Lampeter-Strasburg
6
0

Playoff
11/03
12:00 pm
Schuylkill Valley
at Northern Lebanon
0
7

Nonleague
11/07
7:00 pm
Camp Hill
at Northern Lebanon
2
3

Playoff

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Four Standings

LeagueOverall
WLTPCTWLTPCTGSGA
Northern Lebanon7001.00015100.9386514
Annville-Cleona4300.5716500.5453418
Pequea Valley3400.4295510.5002916
Lancaster Catholic3500.3755700.4172422
Lebanon0500.00001000.000583

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