ALTOONA - It was a game of chances for the Indians.
They had many more shots than Bishop Carroll in the first round of the District 6 Class AA boys soccer game, and it finally meant something when Nick Gilbert scored in the 60th minute to notch Juniata's first goal in an eventual 3-0 win Wednesday.
"I just thought we had to step it up," Juniata coach Clint Brackbill said after a scoreless first half. "We didn't play a really good first half."
Sentinel photo by TAMI KNOPSNYDER
Juniata’s Nick Gilbert, left, defends against Bishop Carroll’s Dom Palguta at the District 6 Class AA boys soccer tournament Wednesday in Altoona.
But Matt Coldren was protecting Juniata from the net as the offense worked to kick in.
He was excellent in goal again for the Indians, stopping all seven Bishop Carroll shots, allowing Gilbert's goal to hold up in the win.
"Matt's been great for us all year," Brackbill said. "That's what we've come to expect from him. He's been solid back there for us. He was solid on those couple of opportunities for us today."
Juniata's first chance of the night came with 36:46 left in the first half.
The Indians got a corner and Wyatt Brackbill played the ball to the center of the field where Jose Lopez was there for the header.
Lopez's header was picked up off a bounce by Bishop Carroll goalkeeper Mitchell Hogue and the game remained scoreless.
With 24:40 left in the half, Juniata had another chance when Taylor Foster launched a free kick from 35 yards out that Hogue snared to keep the Indians off the board.
The best chance Bishop Carroll had in the first 20 minutes of the contest was a free kick from about midfield that Coldren came out to punch away.
With about 18 minutes to play came a nice play from the Huskies.
They lined up a free kick from the Juniata 22-yard line and it looked as if Matthew Karlheim was going to take the shot, but he ran by the ball and streaked out to the left as Alex Gruss fed him with a pass.
Karlheim got off a shot that went wide of the goal to keep the game scoreless.
Juniata had a golden opportunity with 10:05 left to play in the opening half.
Chantz Imes made a nice spin move to beat a defender and fed Ricky Heck III with a pass.
Heck shot and barely missed the left-hand side of the net past the Huskies' goalie.
Neither team could capitalize on any of their chances in the opening half, so they went into the break 0-0.
"We didn't have much intensity and play with a purpose on offense," Brackbill said. "We just had to regroup ourselves and get back to how we want to play soccer."
Juniata's first real opportunity of the second half came with 28:18 left in the game when Gilbert passed across the field to Imes, who headed the ball out of bounds.
Gilbert finally cashed in for the Indians when he dribbled in from 25 yards out to go one-on-one with Hogue.
Hogue came out to meet Gilbert but the Indian found the left-hand corner of the net with 20:23 to play in the game.
"That's kind of the nature of soccer," Brackbill said. "We kept pressing hard and pressing hard. I felt really confident that if we continued to get those chances, we'd be able to poke one through."
Heck added a second goal for the Indians in the 70th minute, giving the Indians a two-goal advantage with just over 10 minutes to play.
Heck then found twine again with 6:16 left to play, making it a 3-0 win for Juniata.
Juniata (10-7-1) advances to the second round and will play top seed Tyrone on Tuesday at a time and place to be determined.