Juniata ends skid, tops Greenwood
Tad Shellenberger records hat trick in win
MIFFLINTOWN — Tad Shellenberger scored a hat trick to lead Juniata to a 4-1 boys soccer victory over Greenwood in a battle of the top two teams in the Tri-Valley League West division on Tuesday.
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the first before the Indians roared back with four consecutive goals to avenge a 2-1 loss earlier in the season to Greenwood.
“Adversity is a big word we preach to these guys. What are we going to do when we hit some adversity? We hit some this year and we handled it well. We challenged them when they gave up the first goal and you saw what happened,” Juniata coach Jared Byler said. “I’m very proud of the way the guys didn’t quit. They came back and got an early one. They stayed engaged the whole 80 minutes and I’m happy the way they played.”
Greenwood (12-4, 10-2) drew first blood when Grant Kauffman netted an unassisted goal with 18:50 to go in the first half. Kauffman took possession of the ball, dribbled to the front of the net and laid a shot into the right corner for the 1-0 lead.
Juniata (11-6, 9-4) answered a little more than two minutes later when Stuart Dare was in the right place at the right time. The Indians had a corner deflect off a Wildcat defender and onto the foot of Dare for the score at the 16:53 mark.
The Wildcats had a chance for a goal at the five-minute mark of the first half but a Dan Capozzoli shot hit the top crossbar.
Shellenberger scored his first of the game with 2:31 left until half. The Indian senior controlled the ball after it bounced off a Greenwood player and Shellenberger calmly put it into the back of the net to give the Indians a 2-1 lead at the break.
“We were off defensively and Tad was on. Right now, we have some chemistry things going on and we need some leadership to step up and help take control. We’re not playing with the speed we are capable playing with. Juniata is much improved from the beginning of the year,” Greenwood coach Aaron Anstine said. “Our target keeps getting bigger and bigger as we won games early in the year.”
Plus. he said, “Juniata played a phenomenal game.”
Greenwood came out in the second half much more aggressive. The Wildcats put up four quick shots but couldn’t get any past the stingy Indian defense.
“One of the the things we’ve been working on as a team is our defensive shape, working together as a unit, making sure we’re in the right positions and not getting off-balance defensively,” Byler said. “Tonight, our guys kept their shape and stayed organized defensively. We had a good all-around defensive effort.”
Juniata’s first shot of the half was the second goal from Shellenberger off a nice through ball by George Hazard with 9:47 left in the contest for the 3-1 lead.
“Our shape as unit is a little off. Juniata kept its shape a little better than we did. We had a practice in the rain yesterday and I thought that would lift some spirits and energy but it did not. It’s frustrating,” Anstine said.
The Indians scored an insurance goal when Shellenberger was brought down from behind in the box setting up a penalty kick. He scored the easy goal for his third of the night and 26th of the season.
“The crazy thing of it is, it’s a quiet hat trick. After the game I thought he had only two. Tad is one of those guys you love to have him on your team because he knows how to put the ball in the back of the net,” Byler said. “We are privileged to have a player like Tad, but we have a great supporting cast around him, so he can do the things that he does.”
Greenwood won the shots 12-11 and the corners 9-4. Jonny Dessin saved six for the Indians and Aaron Bollinger turned aside four for the Wildcats.
Greenwood travels to Millersburg on Tuesday and Juniata hosts East Juniata on Thursday.
Juniata 4, Greenwood 1
G–Grant Kauffman (unassisted), 18:50. J–Stuart Dare (unassisted), 16:53, J–Tad Shellenberger (unassisted), 2:31.
J–Shellenberger (George Hazard), 9:47, J–Shellenberger (penalty kick), 2:43.
Shots: G 12-11. Corners: G 9-4. Saves: G-4 (Aaron Bollinger), J-6 (Jonny Dessin).