No fifth D4 title for East Juniata
BLOOMSBURG – Millville’s Mitchell Watts scored a goal with 16:09 left in the first half that proved to be all the Quakers needed as they upset East Juniata, 2-0, in the first round of the District 4 Class A boys soccer tournament.
The loss ended East Juniata’s string of four straight District 4 Class A titles and cut short the 2013 campaign much earlier than the Tigers would have liked.
“Some nights it just doesn’t happen,” East Juniata coach Don Troutman said. “This was one of those nights.
“I think we had a very good season,” he continued. “We were very young. We had low numbers this year. We were struggling with some injuries. I think the boys had a great year. We won the TVL. The last four years … This is a really early out for us.”
East Juniata had its first great opportunity with 19 minutes left in the opening half when Zane Lauver had a chance from around the 10-yard marker, but fired it just over the goal.
The Tigers were the much quicker team and controlled the ball for the most part from the beginning.
Millville took advantage of the chance it did get though.
Watts sprinted down the middle of the field and went one-on-one with East Juniata goalkeeper Clay Sheaffer.
Sheaffer came out to contest the shot but Watts was able to bounce it off and over Sheaffer and into the net for the game’s first goal, giving Millville the 1-0 lead.
The Tigers had another chance to score when Trevor Goodling had a shot on a header, but two Millville defenders knocked the ball free.
“It’s one thing we tell the boys all the time. You may get into a game when you only get two or three good chances and you have to make sure to bury those,” Troutman said. “We had a lot more than that and we didn’t take advantage of those. They took advantages of two opportunities they had and that was the ball game.”
Millville had a chance to extend its lead when midfielder Kenny Cowperthwait made his way up the sideline but waited a bit too long to center the ball to a cutting teammate.
East Juniata broke it up and got the ball out of the zone to keep the deficit at one goal.
With 24 minutes left in the game, Goodling was on a collision course with the Millville goalkeeper, Britton Kittle, for a free ball in the offensive end, but Kittle grabbed the ball right before Goodling could get to it.
Jake Sankey had his first real scoring chance of the night with 20:39 left in the game, but instead of launching toward the goal, he elected to center a pass that none of his teammates could get a foot on.
For the Tigers, it was threading that extra pass to Sankey that gave them trouble.
“It seemed like that last pass we needed to make to make him dangerous. We just couldn’t make it,” Troutman said.
Millville tacked on its second goal with 19:06 left in the game when Chase Laubach scored from the right hash, making it 2-0.
The loss ends East Juniata’s fifth Tri-Valley League championship season at 11-5-3.
“I think we have a lot to look forward to next year,” Troutman said. “I think we surprised some people. We didn’t surprise ourselves. We had some guys that stepped up in positions they didn’t play last year. We had some younger guys step up that came in as freshman.”