WYOMING — Wyoming Area had about 45 seconds to regroup. Pittston Area just came back from four goals down to tie it up with less than a minute to play.
Caitlin Butchko made sure the Warriors wouldn’t let the Patriots get their revenge from a loss earlier in the regular season.
Butchko knocked in a rebound with 25 seconds to play to lift Wyoming Area to an 11-10 win and its second straight PIAA District 2 Girls Lacrosse quarterfinal appearance in as many years. This is just the second year Wyoming Area has fielded a girls lacrosse program.
Butchko was part of last year’s playoff win over Pittston Area – a 12-11 game that also featured a thrilling finish.
“Pittston Area is our rival,” Butchko said. “That’s always a big game, but in the playoffs it’s much bigger. It’s exciting that this is already our second playoff win.”
Wyoming Area will now play top-seed Wyoming Seminary on Thursday.
Butchko finished with five goals, as did teammate Jordan Kelly. On the final play, with about 20 seconds remaining, it was Kelly who was able to pull the trigger to get the Warriors over the hump.
Kelly’s shot rattled off Pittston Area keeper Brooklyn Pedana. Butchko, playing the center of the field, said she’s practiced getting that follow-up shot past the keeper.
“I saw the rebound and saw the opportunity,” she said. “Their hopes were up (when Pittston Area tied the game). We just knew we had to score.”
It was an up-and-down game for the Warriors, coach Carl DeLuca said. Wyoming Area led by four goals at two different points throughout the game, including with just 14 minutes to play. In the first half, the Patriots found themselves in an early 3-0 hole prior to senior Dana Zalewski notching the team’s first tally nine minutes in.
The Patriots finished the first half with three straight goals following a 6-2 deficit. Bianca Mattei-Miller, Haley Norwillo and Nina Cirelli each scored for the Patriots in the final nine minutes to make it 6-5 heading into the break. But much like the first half, Wyoming Area came out swinging to start the second.
Kelly, Lila Donnelly and Butchko scored quick to give Wyoming Area a 9-5 edge, but Pittston Area scored five of the game’s next six goals, capped by Bailey Jordan’s game-tying shot with 39 seconds left. Jordan scored following a Wyoming Area penalty.
Prior to that, however, Wyoming Area was playing keep away from Pittston Area, but an ill-advised shot gave the ball back to the Patriots.
“We tried to put it away early,” DeLuca said. “We took a shot with a man up and we were just trying to play keep away.”
Butchko and the Warriors didn’t have much time to think about the game-tying goal they just let in. Instead, Kelly won the draw and took the ball the length of the field prior to getting the shot on goal. Butchko made it count.
“She’s been making a living in the middle,” DeLuca said of Butchko. “That’s what we practice for.”
Zalewski and Jordan each finished with three goals for Pittston Area.
Crestwood 13, Hazleton Area 3
Natasha Koslop have five goals and two assists as Crestwood advances to the quarterfinals of the District 2 Girls Lacrosse Championship.
Hannah Ackers chipped in with three goals and one assist and Paige Zaleppa finished with three goals. Julia Filchak made three saves in the win.
Caitlin Ward, Lauren Bayzick and Celia Sokolofski each scored a goal for Hazleton and Jenna Corra made 13 saves in goal.
The Comets will face Coughlin on Thursday.
Wyoming Area 11, Pittston Area 10
SCORING — PA, Bailey Jordan (3g), Dana Zalewski (3g), Haley Norwillo (1g), Nina Cirelli (1g), Bianca Mattei-Miller (1g, 1a), Anna McDermott (1g). WA, Caitlin Butchko (5g), Jordan Kelly (5g, 2a), Lila Donnelly (1g, 1a).
Shots — PA 20; WA 25. Saves — PA 15 (Brooklyn Pedana); WA 12 (Jess Walkowiak).
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick