WRIGHT TWP. – When a team enters a tournament as an underdog and keeps winning in the postseason, it normally gets the moniker of Cinderella.
Lake-Lehman, which entered the District 2 Class 2A playoffs as the No. 8 seed after winning a pair of play-in games, knocked off top-seeded Dallas on the road in the first round. With a win 1-0 in Thursday's semifinals over fourth-seeded Crestwood, also on the road, the Black Knights could be considered a Cinderella story.
But don't say that too loudly.
I don't feel like we're a Cinderella story. You could call us Cinderella coming out of two play-in games and getting to the championship. But we have as much a chance to win this championship as anybody, said Black Knight senior midfielder Chris Edkins, who was selected as All-State last week and scored the lone goal of Thursday's semifinal. I felt that having to play those play-in games was almost unfair for us. I felt that we did get gypped a little, but we played our games.
The Black Knights (14-5-1) got the No. 8 seed in the tournament despite playing in the competitive Division I all season. But they struggled towards the end, losing three times – twice to Coughlin and once to Dallas – to fall to the last seed.
Up next for Lehman is No. 2 seed Coughlin in Saturday's final at 5 p.m. at Wilkes University. The Crusaders defeated Scranton Prep 1-0 on Thursday in the other 2A semi.
The Black Knights have plenty of incentive against their opponent as they look for their first district title since 1998. They lost twice to the Crusaders by one goal in the season's last week, including a very intense game in Lehman Township.
It's awesome. Our guys have been so resilient at the end of the year, Lehman coach Mike Kostrobala said. I can't say enough about my guys with their pride and their resilience.
On Thursday, Edkins' goal came unassisted with 5:25 left in the first half when a cross passing was meant for Kenny Kocher but a Crestwood outside back got in the way and wanted to head it out of play. Instead, it went right to Edkins, who beat the keeper for the score.
After that, the Black Knights defense stepped up like it has all season with the quartet of Mike Novak, Mike Symeon, Cody Spriggs and Kyle Paulson. The Comets had opportunities with four corner kicks in the second half. But when they got deeper into Lehman's zone, the defenders were right there and didn't allow any quality, close shots.
All year those guys have been great and I think they're a little underrated, Kostrobala added. Especially the last two matches those guys have really showed up.
Crestwood, which ends its season with an 11-6 record, got another superb performance from keeper Steven Rerick, who stopped five shots and kept his team in the game.
First half: 1. LL Chris Edkins, 345h minute.
Shots: LL 12, CRE 12; Saves: LL 2 (Colin Masters), CRE 5 (Steven Rerick); Corners: LL 5, CRE 5
Justin Okun's first-half goal pushed Coughlin one step closer to its first district championship since 2010 as the Crusaders defeated Scranton Prep in a District 2 Class 2A semifinal.
With the win, the Crusaders advance to take on Lake-Lehman this Saturday at 5 p.m. at Wilkes University.
Joe Tona assisted on Okun's tally, while Josh Featherman's six saves in goal preserved the shutout.
First half: 1. Justin Okun (Joe Tona) 12th minute
Shots: COU 11, SP 6; Saves: COU 6 (Josh Featherman) SP 6 (Colin Moretti); Corners: COU 2, SPS 3.