LEWISBURG — Sometimes the best defense is a great offense.
The Lewisburg boys varsity soccer team put on an offensive display during Monday’s HAC-II division match against Milton and controlled the play for nearly an entire 80 minutes in a strong showing against the Black Panthers.
The Green Dragons held a 27-1 advantage in shots when the final buzzer sounded and the scoreboard reflected that with Lewisburg laying claim to a 9-0 victory.
The home team was up 3-0 at the break, but the Green Dragons scored two goals in the first 1:12 of the second half en route to a six-goal outburst over the final 40 minutes.
“I would say in the second half, we came out and we had the energy, and in that first five minutes, we kind of set the tone,” Lewisburg head coach Ben Kettlewell said. “I told them that the last 15 or 20 minutes of the first half, we kind of looked slow, like we were just going through the motions. They kind of woke up in the second half and kind of went at it.”
The Green Dragons pressed the issue from the opening whistle and continually created chances in front of the Milton net. Lewisburg sophomore forward Philip Permyashkin got the home team on the scoreboard first when he was able to poke a loose ball past Loreman off a rebound following a well-placed cross by James Koconis.
The bang-bang play in front would represent a theme of efficient execution as the Lewisburg attackers were constantly looking for find their teammates on rushes instead of trying to individually beat their mark.
Ben Liscum scored his first goal of the afternoon at 32:58 of the first half when he took a nice feed from Anthony Bhangdia and dribbled to the top of the box and let loose a wicked left-footed shot which beat a diving Loreman to the lower left corner to give the Green Dragons a 2-0 lead.
Liscum would add another goal at 14:14 courtesy of a brilliant touch by Koconis which set up another excellent shot by the talented junior.
“I felt like the last couple of games, every team has played us differently defensively and we have to figure them out and how quickly we have to play and where our combinations come from,” Kettlewell said. “Whether it’s through Ben (Liscum) or playing James (Koconis) or Anthony (Bhangdia) through, or whether it’s shooting from the outside, sometimes it takes us a while.”
It certainly did not take the Green Dragons long to find that combination play as Lewisburg struck 38 seconds into the second half. Liscum hit a perfect cross through the box which found Cole Temple’s foot in front and ended up behind Loreman to put Lewisburg up, 4-0.
From there, it was off to the races for the Green Dragons. Bhangdia scored two goals and assisted on Alfred Romano’s marker while Liscum scored his third goal of the game at 27:54. Stephen Tiffin converted a penalty kick at 5:27 to finish the scoring and cap the win.
Loreman played valiantly in net for the Black Panthers in the face of a non-stop Lewisburg attack and made eight saves, several of them at point-blank range. Loreman also cut down quite a few Lewisburg crosses through the box to keep the Green Dragons’ score in single digits.
All told, it was a thorough performance by an offense which flashed some championship form, particularly in the final 40 minutes.
“We scored (in the first half), but I don’t think the goals were coming as easily for us as they were in the second half once we got going,” Kettlewell said. “Milton played us tough the first game so we expected them to come out harder and a win is a win and we got one today.”
Lewisburg (11-0-1) next plays at Shamokin at 7 p.m. tomorrow while Milton (8-4) will also be in action at the same time against Central Mountain.
Lewisburg 9, Milton 0
Lew—Philip Permyashkin (James Koconis assist), 36:56. Lew—Ben Liscum (Anthony Bhangdia assist), 32:58. Lew—Ben Liscum (James Koconis assist), 14:14
Lew—Cole Temple (Ben Liscum assist), 39:22. Lew—Anthony Bhangdia (Alan Daniel assist), 38:31. Lew—Anthony Bhangdia (unassisted) 30:42 Lew—Ben Liscum (unassisted), 27:54. Lew—Alfred Romano (Anthony Bhangdia assist), 25:13. Lew—Stephen Tiffin (PK), 5:28.
Shots: Lewisburg, 27–1; Corners: Lewisburg 6-0; Saves: Lewisburg, Tony Burns, 0; Milton, Colton Loreman, 8.JV Score: Lewisburg 6, Milton 0