Lions win opener with balanced play
Hoover, Martin each score pair of goals
McALISTERVILLE — Juniata Mennonite was lights outs offensively in the first half which helped carry the Lions to a 6-0 win over DuBois Christian their girls soccer season opener Thursday.
“I think we play real well tonight. They did some things that we have asked them to do (like) move the ball around, play the ball wide,” Lions coach Todd Taylor said. “I think defensively, we played really well. Our goalie had a pretty comfortable night in goal. We got a lot to work on yet but it’s still early in the season. For the first game, I’m really proud of them.”
The Lions came out the gates swinging as with just 20 seconds into the first half Juniata Mennonite got on the scoreboard when Autumn Martin found Reanna Hoover who proceeded to send the ball to the back of the net giving the Lions a 1-0 lead.
“That’s what we worked on — moving the ball in and out and we just opened them up and exposed them right away,” Taylor said. “I’m very proud of them.”
Anna Taylor kept the pressure on the Eagles when hustling up the middle but her shot went wide. But then Taylor had another opportunity. In fact, she had two as her first shot bounced off the Eagles goalkeeper Emily Deitch right back to Taylor who extended the lead.
Juniata Mennonite had several more chances to score but either failed to execute or were stopped by the DuBois Christian defense.
However, with 15:21 left in the half, Annika Martin blasted one over Deitch’s head to make it 3-0 Lions.
Martin did not stop there as about three minutes later a scramble ensued near the net where the ball bounced back to Martin who drove it in giving Juniata Mennonite a 4-0 lead going into the break.
“We felt comfortable with it. I know that a couple of their girls up top really put some pressure on us and our girls handled it well,” Todd Taylor said.
Things started off a little different in the second half as the Eagles brought the pressure on the Lions, creating several opportunities to close the gap but their efforts were thwarted by the Juniata Mennonite defense.
Once the Lions got things settled down, they went on a tear themselves as Martin looked to add on to the lead but missed the shot.
Not long after with 34:04 remaining in the game Hoover fired a rocket past the keeper to extend the lead to 5-0.
Hoover contributed another way later on in the second half as she moved the ball over to Halle Brown who scored the Lions final goal of the game. Hoover led the Lions with two goals and a assist.
“I think we tried to move the ball around a little more. We really used our width well in the second half better in the first half even,” Taylor said. “I think that they were a little more organized as well. They kind of figured out what we were trying to do.”
One of the biggest things that Juniata Mennonite wants to work on this season is its new defensive gameplan. It certainly looked as if the team responded well to it as the Lions kept goalkeeper Rachael Delancey extremely relaxed in the net only having to face four shots on goal.
“There is a zero and that’s the biggest thing,” Taylor said. “Four shots and no goals we will be able to build on it the next couple games and go from there.”
The Lions had 20 shots on goal in the contest.
Juniata Mennonite (1-0) will look to keep the winning ways going as the Lions host Great Commission today.
Juniata Mennonite 6, Dubois Christian 0
JMS — Reanna Hoover (Autumn Martin), 39:40; JMS — Anna Taylor, 33:24; JMS — Annika Martin, 15:21; JMS — Annika Martin, 12:40.
JMS – Hoover, 34:04; JMS — Halle Brown (Hoover), 10:53.
Shots: JMS-20, D-4. Corners: JMS-6, D-2. Saves: JMS-4 (Rachael Delancey); D-10 (Emily Deitch)