COCOLAMUS - In a game where the shots were many and each one was fought for with the intensity only a rivalry game can bring, Wednesday's Tri-Valley League contest between the East Juniata and Juniata girls soccer teams was intense to the end, but was ultimately decided by what was perhaps one of the easiest shots of the game.
With the score at 1-1 in the second half, the Tigers got in trouble when they were slow to clear a Juniata corner kick, and the Indians' Micheh Horning was there to pick up the winning goal with 26:21 left in the game, when the ball idled too long in front of East Juniata's net.
It was the last goal in what ended as a 2-1 win for the Indians.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY?KREITZER
Juniata’s Janelle Swartz (5) kicks the ball past East Juniata defender Noel Smith Wednesday evening in McAlisterville.
Horning was building off the work of teammate Janelle Swartz, who had tied the game at 18:51 in the first half when some tough dribbling outside the Tigers' box resulted in an open shot that went past East Juniata keeper Lydia Hunter.
It was one of only two shots Hunter let by in what was a very busy night for both she and Juniata keeper Joelle Winey.
Throughout the game both teams consistently battled to earn shots on goal, and both Hunter and Winey came up with seven saves each.
IF YOU GO
Juniata hosts Oakland Catholic Friday
East Juniata travels to Line Mountain Saturday
The one that got past Winey included some beautiful teamwork from the Tigers' Amber Knouse and McKayla Goodling.
Knouse was quick on her feet to beat a Juniata defender down the left side and made a quick cross to Goodling who sunk it from directly in front of Juniata's net.
It was the first goal of the game at 28:51 in the first half.
"We had ten minutes of intensity where we scored and then after that we kind of shut down," East Juniata coach Lori Goodling said.
Goodling further explained that although the defense did a great job of shutting down Juniata's chances on direct kicks - a factor that played large in the teams' previous meeting - after the Tigers' initial burst in the first 10 minutes they couldn't bring the whole game together as a team.
"We just didn't play together as a unit. If you can't play together as a unit, we're going to have break downs and they're going to be able to penetrate," she said.
Juniata coach Brian Strawser gave his team credit for sticking to its passing game and remaining patient even though East Juniata scored first and took the first few minutes of the game.
"You're going to have that feeling out moment at the beginning," he said, explaining that this might have influenced the team's early passing troubles. However, he also thought the team displayed excellent job maintaining its composure and ultimately getting back on track for the win.
"This team really matured tonight because we saw some things that they did on their own," he said.
Juniata (7-5, 6-2) will host Oakland Catholic at 4 p.m. Friday.
East Juniata travels to Line Mountain Saturday.