All even between Tri-Valley League titans
COCOLAMUS – Albert King surely wasn’t thinking of Tom Magill when he wrote the blues classic “Born Under A Bad Sign.”
But Magill was probably thinking of the famous line from that song during Friday’s Tri-Valley League boys soccer match at East Juniata: “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”
Opportunities abounded for the Wildcats. But after 100 minutes, it was just one goal apiece, and that’s all there would be.
Four-time TVL defending champ East Juniata came into the season promising to play like the teams of the past four years, and Magill was the first to admit that, until someone knocked the Tigers off the pedestal, they were still the king. Any hopes of a coronation for the Wildcats will have to wait.
Magill, sporting his 2008 title jacket – the last time anyone not wearing a Tiger uniform was the champion – may have thought his team had the edge against the young, and much smaller, East Juniata squad. But the team wearing white played a whole lot bigger when it had to.
The first half was scoreless, but not for a lack of unfinished opportunities by the visitors., Greenwood was in front of Tigers’ goalie Clay Sheaffer a half minute into the game, and stayed there most of the half. But everything the ‘Cats tried was fruitless – balls deflected off defenders, bounced off the goal frame, ran wide – Greenwood even had a chance with Sheaffer on the ground late in the half, but had no one there to clean up.
“We can’t get that many chances and not score. It was frustrating,” Magill said. “They’re a quality side, but we had some really good chances. You just can’t squander those kinds of chances.”
As the clock ran, East Juniata improved. The Tigers, who had a few solid opportunities in the first half, all but owned the second.
Greenwood had the first chance – again, in the first minute of the half – but this time, East Juniata turned down field and turned up the heat. The result was the first goal of the game, and it was Greenwood goalie Noah Sheaffer who got burned.
Jake Sankey took a throw in down to the corner, sent a cross through the box to Darian Amendola, and he put it away.
The tying goal came off the foot of Tyler Fegley 15 minutes later, a blast from roughly 25 yards out, right in the middle, that grazed the post on the way into the net.
East Juniata’s Sheaffer kept his team in the game with a spectacular save in each overtime. In the first, he stopped a ball at the line while inside the goal, holding the ball to show that it was not a scoring play. The one in the second overtime wasn’t quite as athletic, but just as important.
“That was a great shot. He did a terrific job on their toughest shots,” East Juniata coach Don Troutman said. “That was point blank – six, seven yards.”
East Juniata (3-2-1, 2-0-1) travels to Halifax Wednesday. Greenwood (2-1-1, 1-0-1) travels to Halifax today.