First half success carries JMS to victory

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
Juniata Mennonite’s Micah Reinford, center, scores a goal while DuBois Christian’s Shane McCabe (14) and Levi Thompson (6) attempts to defend Thursday in McAlisterville.

MCALISTERVILLE — Juniata Mennonite did its damage in the first half and never let up as the Lions took care of business against DuBois Christian 4-0 in a non-league boys soccer game Thursday.

“It feels great,” Lions coach Dave Portzline said. “All (credit) goes to the kids. They played hard. The beginning of the season, I said about them just buying into a system and they’re buying into it pretty quick. There are still times where they have lapses, where they break down and just kick the ball but, but overall they just played very well.”

The Lions got the offense going within the first five minutes of the game. Junior Jhon Matthews found freshman Jorge Florez De Valgaz to give Juniata Mennonite a 1-0 lead.

“It felt good. It helps you relax a bit,” Portzline said. “You get too long into a game where you don’t see a goal happen and you start getting stressed out and so getting that quick goal really helped with our stress level. I felt pretty confident at that point and I knew the boys were too.”

Then with 24:40 left in the frame, the Lions struck again. This time with Micah Reinford who hustled down the field and sent a shot right into the back of the net.

Juniata Mennonite did not let up as Anson Portzline had a chance but the shot went wide right. Not long after that Trevor Brubaker had a shot but this time it went wide left.

However, for a little while after that, the Eagles began putting the pressure on the Lions. Juniata Mennonite then seemed to have some problems with ball movement. That came to no avail as despite the opportunities, DuBois Christian just couldn’t get the ball in the net.

Eventually Juniata Mennonite was able to right the ship and with under 10 minutes to go in the half, a pile at the net occurred just as the ball got away from the pack. Josiah Courtney came up with it and launched a rocket right from the 18 yard line and into the net to give the Lions a 3-0 lead at halftime.

“It was good. One of the biggest things where I rely on young defenders,” Dave Portzline said. “We have a couple seniors back there but we also rely on some younger guys that don’t have a lot of experience back there. Again, they did very well back there. So we’re gonna gain some confidence with these games and hopefully as we move on, we get more confidence.”

Juniata Mennonite went on the attack throughout much of the second half. There was just one problem: the Lions were unable to get the ball into the net.

The Lions managed to get one goal in the second half as Anson Portzline fired one in with 7:13 remaining in the game.

“That’s one of the biggest things that we need to keep working on is our finishing,” Dave Portzline said. “We do have good control of the field and more control of the ball. One of the big things we are going to work on now and continue to focus on is finishing. We have guys who can finish. We certainly had chances, but we just aren’t going to the goal right now and that’s what we need to do.”

Juniata Mennonite (1-0) hosts Great Commission today.

Juniata Mennonite 4, Dubois Christian 0

FIRST HALF

JMS — Jorge Florez de Valgaz (Jhon Matthews), 36:18; JMS — Micah Reinford, 24:40; JMS — Josiah Courtney, 9:23.

SECOND HALF

JMS — Anson Portzline, 7:13.

Shots: JMS 16-2. Corners: D 3-2. Saves: JMS-2 (Trey Tusing), D-12 (Alex Hallowell).

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