LEWISBURG — When Lewisburg and Dallas scrimmaged each other prior to the start of the 2019 season, the Green Dragons didn’t give the Mountaineers a very good first impression.
But boy, what a difference a month makes.
Lewisburg got seven goals from four different scorers in the second half to overcome a one-goal halftime deficit and pull away for a 13-11 nonleague victory over Dallas at Lewisburg Area High School.
“Yeah, it was (a very good win for us). We scrimmaged Dallas earlier and they had the better part of us,” said Lewisburg coach John Vaji. “The boys have been playing a lot better and they’ve been coming along since then.
“It was a very nice game, and I’m very proud of the win.”
Dallas (4-3) senior midfielder Hunter Landon scored four goals in the first half, including two in the second quarter to help give the Mountaineers a 7-6 halftime lead.
But when David Lipinski found the back of the net less than a minute into the second half to push Dallas’ lead to 8-6, Lewisburg (5-1) would respond in kind.
Collin Starr and Brett Newcomb scored roughly two minutes apart to tie the game at 8 for the Green Dragons with 6:14 remaining.
Both teams then traded goals in the waning minutes of the third with the Mountaineers’ TJ Herron scoring before Newcomb hit paydirt with 3:11 left as the game became tied again at 9.
In the fourth quarter, however, Ethan Spaulding scored twice to open the period and Lewisburg never trailed again, especially after Eric Starr and Newcomb followed with two more unanswered goals for the Green Dragons.
“We were down 8-6 after Dallas scored early in the third. We tied it up and then scored the first four goals in the fourth to get a very nice win for us,” said Vaji.
“In the second half we tightened things up on defense. We took away Dallas’ cutters and we took away some of the easy scoring opportunities they had in the first half.”
Getting four players involved in the scoring in the second half (and five overall in the game) was beneficial for Lewisburg.
“We moved the ball, played well in transition and got some easy looks. We shared the ball and played a good team game in the second half,” said Vaji. “Scoring just gives the guys more confidence. The only thing we were leery about was the turnovers, but we had an aggressive mentality and the players started feeding off each other — especially in the last two quarters.”
Spaulding finished with four goals and Newcomb also had four, including three in the second half, to lead Lewisburg on the day. In addition, Eric Starr and Gower added two goals apiece while Collin Starr tallied the other one for the Green Dragons.
“We’re spreading the ball around and we had a lot of input from a lot of people today,” said Vaji. “We’re starting to get a little more organized. We only had five or six practices (when we scrimmaged Dallas), so we’ve grown as a coaching staff and as a team (since then).
“It’s just been a very good effort to grow and mature together as a team and to keep improving.”
Defense also played a big part in the win, with longstick defenders Anthony Hibbert, Lucas Cease, Broghan Persun, plus longstick mid Joey Martin, leading the charge for the hosts.
“Defense was huge in the second half. They started communicating better and making their slides better — and the mids started contributing,” said Vaji. “It was a real group effort led by our three longstick defensemen back there, plus Martin won five ground balls to help us get the ball out of trouble at times.”
The buzz from the win will remain for some time — at least until Lewisburg hits the road to face Mifflin County today at 4:30 p.m.
“The guys were very excited after this win. They know how good Dallas is and how much of a quality win this is,” said Vaji. “The guys are making strides and improving game in, and game out.”
Lewisburg 13, Dallas 11
Dallas 4 3 2 2 — 11
Lewisburg 5 1 3 4 — 13
L - Ethan Spaulding, unassisted, 8:21.
L - Will Gower, assist Spaudling, 6:50.
D - David Lipinski, assist Danny Meuser, 6:27.
L - Brett Newcomb, assist Gower, 4:21.
D - Hunter Landon, unassisted, 3:51.
L - Gower, unassisted, 2:56.
D - Landon, Jacob Esposito, 1:04.
L - Eric Starr, unassisted, :23.
D - Meuser, assist Nick Solinsky, :16.
D - Landon, assist TJ Herron, 11:05.
L - Spaulding, unassisted, 6:07.
D - Solinsky, assist Herron, 4:49.
D - Landon, assist Esposito, 3:04.
D - Lipinski, unassisted, 11:41.
L - Collin Starr, assist Gower, 8:22.
L - Newcomb, assist E. Starr, 6:14.
D - Herron, assist Landon, 3:38.
L - Newcomb, assist C. Starr, 3:11.
L - Spaulding, unassisted, 11:24.
L - Spaudling, assist Newcomb, 9:15.
L - E. Starr, unassisted, 6:16.
L - Newcomb, assist Spaulding, 4:27.
D - Lipinski, assist Herron, 1:17.
D - Meuser, assist Landon, :20.
Shots: Dallas 34-28. Saves: Lewisburg (Connor McCollum), 15; Dallas (Balara), 7.