Rice is nice for ’Cats with two goals
Tigers’ Hunter stops 18 tries in TVL loss
COCOLAMUS — Greenwood controlled the ball for majority of the game and came out with a 3-0 win over Tri-Valley League foe East Juniata in boys soccer Tuesday evening.
The score doesn’t quite reflect how dominant the Wildcats were with the ball, but much credit goes out to the Tiger defense in forcing Greenwood to adjust its offensive scheme.
The biggest problem of all was the Tigers couldn’t adjust offensively.
The Wildcats were within the final two minutes of the first half when they struck for their first goal.
It was then that Greenwood was shortening up its passing game and really put pressure on Tigers’ goalkeeper Andrew Hunter.
It was a perfectly angled kick from Luke Myers at the right side of the field, hitting top shelf on the left side of the goal. There wasn’t anything a defender could do on it.
“We had to concentrate on just playing small ball coming across and sharing it on both sides,” Greenwood coach Aaron Anstine said. “We were either going down the right side or the left side and we wanted to spread that attack out. We don’t want to be a one-dimensional team, but rather, look at it from three sides and come down the middle, right and left sides.”
Glenn Rice assisted on the game’s first goal and played a role in all three of the Wildcat goals, accounting for both of their goals in the second half.
His first came with just under 10 minutes of play when he sidestepped Hunter and put the ball on the right side of the goal. Mason Kauffman was credited for the assist.
Then with fewer than eight minutes to play, he caught Hunter playing up to make a play on the ball and the Tiger defenders not close enough to help out for the game’s final score. Avery Morder assisted on the goal.
If there’s one thing the Wildcats (3-0) will look improve on as the season unfolds, it’s accuracy with their kicks.
The team took 35 shots on goal with majority of them going far too wide or too high and each bringing a team-wide frustration with them. Anstine, though, said the results will show with time and to be pleased with the effort.
“We’ll take that knowing we were relentless,” he said. “We want to continue to go after players in numbers. … I think our accuracy will improve once we get more a negative ball back away from the goalkeeper because he got a lot of touches on our crosses and such. Early on, we stood where we wanted to be and we need to hold our runs and remain a little more patient. Once that happens, our accuracy should work it outself out.”
For most of the first half, the Wildcats couldn’t sustain much of an inside game. They were often seen taking shots from far out, allowing the Tigers (0-1) to easily close in on the ball and help Hunter out.
There was no bigger example of such as with the game still scoreless, Greenwood made a rare charge in midfield and got a shot off.
Hunter was playing up because of a previous shot taken seconds before and didn’t quite have the time to get back into a set position in front of the goal and as the Wildcats got another shot off, it was Tim Black who made a heads up play – literally — by jumping in the way of the shot and having the ball bounce off his noggin and well over the goal.
Hunter had 18 saves in the contest and made a number of in-game adjustments.
“It’s that competitiveness in him. I’ve coached him since he was little and so it’s easy for him to respond with what I need him to do,” East Juniata coach Mike Ryan said. “He responds really well and there’s no issue he and I can’t fix. He’s excellent as evident by his 18 saves.”
Black, Ethan Roe and Cade Brubaker were always seen putting pressure on the Wildcats in a game that just wasn’t in favor of the Tigers.
But it was Cy Fronk who got the higest praise from Ryan.
“I tasked him with marking a player — Luke Myers — and that matchup was perfect,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked a young player (freshman) to cover Luke. Luke’s an excellent player and he knew I’d be on him. … He knows that was a difficult game for him, but it was too for Cy. That was the matchup of the game because you didn’t a lot of plays there because there weren’t any.”
The Wildcats outshot the Tigers, 35-2 and had held an 11-1 advantage on corner kicks.
Greenwood won the JV game, 5-0.
Both teams are back in action later this week as East Juniata travels to Line Mountain Thursday while Greenwood travels to Halifax Saturday.
Greenwood 3, East Juniata 0
G — Luke Myers (Glenn Rice), 1:45
G — Rice (Mason Kauffman), 30:09; G — Rice (Avery Morder), 7:35
Shots: G 35-2. Corners: G 11-1. Saves: G-0 (Bryce Dalpiaz); EJ-18 (Andrew Hunter)