COCOLAMUS - After 73 minutes of play Monday, it seemed as though Greenwood was going to snap its five-game losing streak to East Juniata.
After 74 minutes, it was a whole new ball game.
Jake Sankey had a timely header on a free kick, forcing an extra period. Spencer Reinford made it a short one, as East Juniata slid by the Wildcats 2-1 in their Tri-Valley League boys soccer match.
Sentinel photo by TIM?SHUMAKER
East Juniata’s Devin Goodling, right, goes up and heads the ball away from the goal as Greenwood’s?Tyler Fegley (2) looks on Monday evening. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
Sankey, the only freshman starter on a team dominated by seniors, was in the right place at the right time for the equalizer, a goal that seemingly deflated Greenwood. The kick - put into play by Zane Lauver, the lone sophomore in the starting lineup - sailed into a packed house in front of Wildcat goalie Ryan Kerstetter.
Kerstetter, who had been playing a career game, just couldn't find the ball in the crowd, but the ball found the inside of the goal.
Insult became injury in the sudden death overtime, when East Juniata had the first opportunity - a corner that was easily deflected - then Greenwood's Josh Ferguson had a straight break up the middle a minute later.
r East Juniata hosts Millersburg today
r Greenwood travels to Upper Dauphin today
Ferguson shot at the virtually unprotected net - Tiger keeper Adam Strawser slipped on the dewy grass, exposing Ferguson's left - but the Wildcats' senior forward went a bit too far to that side, slicing one by the post.
When the ball came back downfield, the Tigers got a delivery from one of their mainstays, Landon Sheaffer, and Reinford, who had moved into the forward spot midway through the second, was easily able to put it away to end the game.
Greenwood began to struggle when Troutman sent Reinford to the forward line, giving his team a distinct height advantage up front. And it worked - not only did Reinford score the overtime goal, but he had a role in the tying goal too: He was the one fouled when the free kick was awarded.
East Juniata coach Don Troutman said Reinford's move was timely and paid off.
"Just because of that - it adds a new element," he said. "It's easy for them to see him come in front, but it's not that easy to make that adjustment."
Troutman and Greenwood coach Tom Magill concurred that the tie at least was something both of them knew was possible - perhaps even expected.
"I was a little leery about their restarts all along. And they finally just packed enough bodies in the box," Magill said. "The kid won a nice head ball."
"I wouldn't say we panicked. But I think we were getting anxious," Troutman said. "You're down a goal, and it's against a good team, so you're pressing a little bit.
"The one thing we did do is we were playing pretty good soccer. I thought we controlled much of the play. I just felt like, eventually, we were going to get the tie."
All of that was a long trip from the first tally, in which Ferguson got behind Strawser, taking a feed from Jarrett Fortenbaugh and turning it into a 1-0 lead. That was barely two minutes into the game, and set of a 70-minute marathon of opportunities lost on both sides of the ball.
East Juniata played its typical game - good ball handling, a lot of passing and a driving ground attack - while Greenwood tried to finesse the Tigers with its speed advantage. The Tigers penetrated more than a few times in the first half, but found the door closed, between a packed box and strong play by Kerstetter.
"It seemed like there was a lid on the goal," Troutman said. "We were dangerous a lot. After they scored that first goal we had a couple chances right quick after that."
On more than one occasion, Kerstetter stopped would-be goals while he was on the ground, at least twice stopping a kick and a deflection try.
The Tigers also stopped a few of their own, sending balls off the post and the crossbar, and taking a few low-percentage shots.
But opportunity knocked for the visitors too - especially the dash in overtime that nearly turned this one the other way.
"They tended to possess better than we did, but certainly we had our chances," Magill said. "We had the best chance in overtime. We just didn't put it away. You do have to cash in when you get the opportunities, and we didn't."
East Juniata (3-1, 2-0) hosts Millersburg tonight, the second of four games the Tigers will play this week. Greenwood (3-1, 1-1) travels to Upper Dauphin tonight, the second of three road games the Wildcats play this week.