Wellsboro no match for EJ boys
ALMEDIA — East Juniata has put its foot on the gas pedal to start the postseason, and it did not relinquish that pressure in the District 4 Class A semifinal’s game against Wellsboro.
For the second straight game, the Tigers scored five goals in a 5-1 win.
East Juniata will play Millville Thursday in the District 4 Class A championship game at Midd-West.
Gabe Coder got the scoring going for the Tigers in the game’s fourth minute when he got behind the ball with a great kick that just made it through the small window Green Hornets’ goalkeeper Casey Hoover allowed on the right side.
The Tigers remained in control of the ball for the majority of the first half, but didn’t get another score until 30 minutes later when Evan Watts found got a breakaway and become one-on-one with Hoover and got off a strong kick that Hoover couldn’t play.
“Everything was working well except for finishing,” East Juniata coach Don Troutman said. “We got one in I think the first 10 minutes there, and then we just had a lot of chances, and some really good chances that we should have finished, and we didn’t.”
Wellsboro faced a two-goal deficit entering the second half, and things got far worse for the Green Hornets.
A minute and half after a yellow card was issued to a Wellsboro player, the Green Hornets’ Gabe Leach closed the gap in half and got a ball past Clay Sheaffer to close the deficit to one.
The Tigers, led by Trevor Goodling rebounded and scored their last three goals in a 15-minute span to close it out.
Goodling scored his first goal with a strong kick from 35 yards out, but it was his second goal that made all the difference.
In an effort to prevent an East Juniata goal — actually, it looked more like a reflex reaction — Wellsboro’s Noah Fitch was issued a hard red card for intentionally blocking a score with his hands. That meant Wellsboro played a man down for the last 23 and a half minutes.
The penalty kick that resulted was good by Goodling, the the defending state runners-up were well on the way to another district final.
Goodling finished with two goals and two assists.
The Tigers out shot the Green Hornets, 29-8.
“We just kept doing a lot of the same stuff,” Troutman said. “You just continue to play the way you play, and the only thing that changes is the way they attack.”
East Juniata was able to get one last goal, putting up five goals for the second straight game.
Troutman hopes for the good things he saw in the second half continue for the Tigers down the road.
“It’s been a goal after the state final last year to win districts, and have a deep run in states like last year,” Troutman said. “I think our speed of play, and the way we possess the ball and finishing like we did in the second half is what we need to make that happen.”