Grudge match turns on Tigers
Camp Hill stymies East Juniata’s potent offense
BOILING SPRINGS — In sports, the payback factor can be a powerful motivator.
On Tuesday, defending state runnerup East Juniata found out just how powerful that motivation can be as the Tigers were knocked out in the opening round of the PIAA Class A boys soccer tournament by Camp Hill, 2-0.
Camp Hill saw its season end at the hands of the Tigers in the state semifinals last year.
The Lions roared early, grabbing a quick lead when sophomore Amias Colestock drove home a header off a throw-in from sophomore Matthew Little just 4:14 into the contest.
“We knew it was going to be a scrappy game,” Camp Hill coach Justin Sheaffer said. “We took advantage of our early chances. (The early goal) helped us settle in and put (East Juniata) under pressure-having to play from behind. I felt they rushed their chances because they were trailing.”
The Tigers’ chances were quite limited as they spent much of the time defending their own goal, and managed just a pair of shots all night.
“We didn’t have our mojo tonight,” East Juniata coach Don Troutman said. “We did not do a good job possessing the ball. We were trying to attack quickly and knock it in behind their backs, but we didn’t (do a great job of execution).”
After the first goal, the defense held the fort for awhile.
East Juniata senior Trevor Goodling made a top notch stop directly in front of the goal, and keeper Clay Sheaffer (eight saves against 13 attempts) made a superb diving save a few minutes later.
The dam could only hold for so long, and with 12:55 remaining in the half it broke. A shot from senior midfielder Noah Resuta drew Sheaffer out of position and Chris Poole redirected it in for a 2-0 advantage.
The Lions had chances to expand the lead before the half, but once again the Tiger defense rose to the occasion.
First, junior Adam Finkbiner made a nice block using his chest to repel a Lion opportunity, and then Noah Brackbill and Jonathan Nace teamed up to stop a Camp Hill breakaway.
With time winding down, the Lions had another scoring chance, but Quinn Pickering’s free kick sailed high over the net.
The Tigers had a golden opportunity to rally early in the second half, but goalie Noah Smeriglio’s diving stop squelched it. East Juniata was limited to just three shots against the net Smeriglio patrolled.
The Tigers’ strong defense stalemated the Lions the rest of the way.
Brackbill alone blocked three Lion tries. Junior Tyler Feltman made a nifty play to stop Resuta’s shot and clear the zone following a Lion throw in near the goal.
“I thought we defended well,” Troutman said. “They have a great corner (and) throw-in game, and they are tall and dangerous. I thought we did a great job on defense tonight.”
Junior Seth Stawser had one last breakaway chance late in the game to prevent the shutout, but Andrew Sponic ran him down and neutralized the threat.
East Juniata, the eight-time Tri-Valley League champs, finish the campaign with a 17-3-1 overall record.