MILLERSTOWN - A win by East Juniata Saturday would have made a commanding statement in the Tri-Valley League boys soccer race.
But Greenwood doesn't give up losses too easily. And the Wildcats weren't going to give one to the visitors without a fight.
For the second time this season, the battle between the TVL's top clubs was a push - Greenwood and East Juniata tied 2-2 - one that, at the same time, was more helpful to one team than the other.
Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
East Juniata’s Jake Sankey (14) heads the ball away from Greenwood’s Hunter Miller (18) Saturday in Millerstown. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
Thanks to an untimely loss earlier in the week by Greenwood, the Tigers now sit in the driver's seat in their quest for a fifth straight league title.
"We control our own destiny now as far as the TVL championship," East Juniata coach Don Troutman said. "We just have to come out and play."
And win - Greenwood carries just that one loss, which is the difference now between No. 1 and No. 2.
Jake Sankey scored both East Juniata goals; the first came in the 14th minute when Gabe Coder played the ball in, sent it to Sankey, who turned and struck to the right side.
The lead lasted until there were nine minutes remaining, when the 'Cats made the best of their own missed shot. A poorly played corner kick by Greenwood was not cleared well by the Tigers; Hunter Roth got a foot on it and passed to Seth Ferguson.
"He trapped the ball and turned and shot," Greenwood coach Tom Magill explained. "It was kind of a busted play"
Ferguson was the setup man for the third goal, which gave the Wildcats their first lead. He sent it on a long throw-in to Hunter Miller, whose first goal of the season couldn't have come at a better time.
"He got behind the defense on a through ball," Magill said.
It took fewer than 10 minutes for Sankey to be the hero. He scored on a set-play free kick as the second man to the ball.
Sankey, who's been quiet for a couple games, made a statement, but Troutman said the fact that he can count on several players is to the Tigers' advantage.
"I think that's one thing that has helped us," he said. "We've had different guys step up in the big games. It's been something that we didn't know we were going to have or not."
Magill said the game was intriguing because it was a mirror of the first meeting, which ended 1-1 in 100 minutes. In that game, homestanding East Juniata was slow to get moving while Greenwood set the pace; this time, Magill said, "It was a contrasting game in the sense that they came out and controlled the tempo for 25-30 minutes. We just absolutely refused to shoot the ball."
The league is only a part of this one for East Juniata, which also is seeking its fifth straight District 4 Class A crown.
"Wins and losses and ties mean a lot as far as your placement. I think it's a huge momentum builder for us," to get a tie rather than suffer a loss, Troutman said.
For District 3 Greenwood, not as much.
"Before this tie we were fourth in the power ratings. We may not move a whole lot," Magill said. "It will be interesting to see what transpires."
One thing's for sure: If the two end up squaring off a third time, there will be no tie.
East Juniata (7-2-2, 6-0-2 ) hosts Lancaster Country Day with a 5:30 p.m. varsity start. Greenwood (6-2-2, 5-1-2) hosts Line Mountain Tuesday.
Red Land 6, Mifflin County 0
LEWISBERRY - Chelsea Flower scored back-to-back goals early in the second to break open a scoreless tie as Red Land handled Mifflin County, 6-0, in a Commonwealth Division girls soccer game Saturday.
The Patriots tallied three across a 10-minute span to take control of the game.
"It was 0-0 at the half. The girls played really well," Mifflin County coach Trevor Eckley said. "But I can't get an 80-minute game out of them."
Mifflin County travels to Altoona Monday.
East Juniata 2, Loyalsock 0
WILLIAMSPORT - Amber Knouse scored a pair of late-game goals to give East Juniata a win over a key District 4 opponent Saturday as the Tigers topped Loyalsock, 2-0.
The first tally came in the 60th minute of play and was unassisted; McKayla Goodling had the helper on the insurance goal with four minutes left in the game.
East Juniata (7-4) hosts Juniata Wednesday.
Danville 1, Midd-West 0 (OT)
DANVILLE - Danville's Paige Harris scored the only goal in a 1-0 overtime win by the Ironmen over Midd-West in a Heartland Conference girls soccer game Saturday.
Harris broke the stalemate midway through the extra period.
"We had a really good first half," Midd-West Russ Goodling said. "We had several good opportunities we didn't cash in."
Midd-West (4-6, 2-5) travels to Lewisburg Tuesday.
Juniata 3, Millersburg 0
MILLERSBURG - Three girls, three goals and one Tri-Valley League soccer win were on the card for Juniata Saturday as the Indians blanked Millersburg, 3-0.
Lexi Zimmerman, Janelle Swartz and Micheh Horning each had unassisted tallies in the game.
"We played well. Both offensively and defensively we played good soccer," Juniata coach Brian Strawser said. "We're pleased with the result that we had."
Millersburg won the JV game, 2-0.
Juniata (6-4, 5-1) goes back across the Susquehanna to face Halifax today.
Halifax 1, Juniata 0
HALIFAX - Chris Paul took a feed from Robby Sacks and turned it into a win against Juniata, the only goal in Halifax's 1-0 Tri-Valley League boys soccer game against the Indians Saturday.
Red Land 8, Mifflin County 0
LEWISTOWN - Bryan Jackson and Willie Staz traded scoring as Red Land put up seven first-half goals on the way to an 8-0 win over Mifflin County in a Commonwealth Division boys soccer game Saturday.
East Juniata 8, Huntingdon 1
HUNTINGDON - Steph Dressler scored two goals and Lydia Koser had a goal and two assists as East Juniata romped over Huntingdon, 8-1, in a non-league field hockey game Saturday.
The Tigers (7-3) travel to Line Mountain today.