Tigers top Eagles, stay in race

COCOLAMUS – After four straight scoreless periods between East Juniata and Line Mountain, the Tigers got a huge win in the Tri-Valley League championship race, beating Line Mountain 1-0 in their second field hockey meeting in as many days Tuesday.

Steph Dressler scored with 27:32 left in the game, to give East Juniata all the offense it needed.

“It was a relief (to score the goal),” East Juniata coach Billie Haynes said. “It was terrifying at the end knowing that if they scored, we would have to play overtime again.”

After playing Line Mountain to a 0-0 overtime tie on Monday, East Juniata got another opportunity to cement its place next to Greenwood atop the league’s standings; it did just that.

The win was crucial for the Tigers – it kept them in contention for the TVL title, and, while not completely eliminating Line Mountain, effectively put the Eagles in a position where a lot of help would be required for anyone other than East Juniata and Greenwood, which has the lead by virtue of Monday’s tie between these two teams, to win it.

Interestingly, East Juniata needs a bit of help, and Line Mountain is the team in the best position to offer it.

The Tigers are now 4-1-1 in the TVL (7-3-1 overall); Greenwood, after a win against Lancaster Country Day Tuesday, is 5-1 in the league. Line Mountain dropped below .500 overall and its conference record to 2-2-1 after the loss to East Juniata.

“Playing them yesterday definitely did (help),” Haynes said. “The girls knew we had to win today to have a chance at the TVL title. They were hungry. They knew that had to come to play and we saw that from the very beginning. We were ready to play tonight.”

Line Mountain has several opportunities with less than three minutes remaining in the game, but just as they did the previous 132 minutes against East Juniata goalkeeper Lydia Strawser, the Eagles came up empty.

“She did really great,” Haynes said. “She has her angles down and she was on her post. She was amazing.”

Line Mountain had two opportunities with about 22 minutes remaining in the first half and East Juniata was able to fend off both threats to keep Line Mountain scoreless. East Juniata had a chance to score when a centered pass found Dressler’s stick, but she couldn’t find the back of the net.

Line Mountain came right back with another chance with 11:13 remaining in the first half. Line Mountain executed a give-and-go on a corner, but East Juniata’s Strawser sniffed it out to keep the game at 0-0.

“Defense was really important,” Haynes said. “Our girls were tired today. They had to play with composure. We had them moving their feet and playing the strong side. You could tell today we played two games in a row.”

Shortly after the intermission Dressler struck for the deciding goal.

Line Mountain had several opportunities in front of the East Juniata cage following one of its 13 corners with 2:25 left in the game, but again, couldn’t cash in.

Depth was a key for East Juniata, especially playing two games in two days.

“We tried to use more of the girls off the bench tonight,” Haynes said. “We tried to use fresh legs today, especially in the second half. We were rotating girls in and out to try to keep our legs fresh.”

East Juniata took control with 37 seconds left and kept the ball until the clock ticked away.

The Tigers return to the field today when they welcome York Country Day.