Persistent Wildcats power past Tigers

Sentinel photo by JEFF FISHBEIN
East Juniata’s Kaylyn Walters, left, and Greenwood’s Abigail Taylor go after a ball Tuesday in Cocolamus. Behind the play are, from left, East Juniata’s Kyla Swartz and Rylee Shearer.

McALISTERVILLE — Greenwood came out firing and kept East Juniata on its heels en route to an 11-1 victory in Tri-Valley League field hockey Monday.

Greenwood’s crisp passing and smooth transitional offense was too much for the Tigers to handle.

Early on, the Wildcats maintained control of the ball deep in Tiger territory. Tiger goalie Emily Carolus was able to deflect.

The Wildcats got on the board off their third corner of the game. Leah Bryner put the ball in the net off of the pass. Hailey Womer scored. Grace Lesh added her first goal just 51 seconds after Womer’s. Lesh took the shot from just inside the arc and was able to get it through the Tigers’ defense and past Carolus.

Many of the goals scored by the potent Greenwood offense were due to the great ball control the team had. Passes found teammate’s sticks and evaded any Tiger defenders. Greenwood had a total of 16 corners in the game.

“That’s a big part of our game,” Houser explained. “When you’re playing good teams, it’s hard to score from the field. You’ve got to have a corner game to put goals on the board.”

The Wildcat defense wasn’t tested too often, but when it was, it found a way to stop any potential scoring opportunity East Juniata had. Every time East Juniata had the ball near the opposing goal, it was cleared.

The Tigers’ best chance to score in the first half came when they were down 6-0. The Tigers had the ball near the Wildcats’ goal for an extended period of time, but were unable to get the ball in the net.

With their best opportunity lost, the Tigers went into halftime trailing 7-0.

East Juniata coach Harley Straub made an interesting adjustment at halftime which seemed to stop the bleeding.

“We changed it so rather than just our defense staying back, the whole team was coming back to help and that gave us the opportunity to mark more people,” Straub said.

The Tigers’ defense held the Wildcats to two goals in the first 26 minutes of the second half, a vast improvement over the first half.

Karah Goss scored the only goal for the Tigers, which came with 11:03 remaining in the game. The Tigers had the ball near the net but couldn’t make anything happen. The ball trickled loose and a mob of Greenwood and East Juniata players gathered around trying to get possesion of the ball. Goss found her way into the mob, putting a shot on goal, and getting it past the Greenwood goalie.

Greenwood added two goals in the final minutes.

Straub acknowledged her team’s effort.

“The offense never gave up. The whole team never gave up,” Straub said. “We need to work on going to the ball a little more, working with each other and passing it.”

Houser saw some areas that still need to be improved.

“I thought we were turning over our free hits a lot. We were putting the ball down the middle,” Hauser said. “We’ve really be trying to get away from doing that, to try to make sure that we are keeping possession on our free hits. I didn’t think we did a real good job of that tonight.”

Greenwood won the JV game, 4-0.

East Juniata (0-3, 0-2) travels to Newport Thursday. Greenwood travels to Lower Dauphin Saturday.

Greenwood 11, East Juniata 1

First half

G–Leah Bryner (Grace Lesh), 23:22. G–Hailey Womer (Lesh), 22:05. G–Lesh (Bryner), 21:18. G–Lesh, 19:16. G–Womer (Abigail Taylor), 14:28. G–Cori Davis (Bryner), 9:43. G–Kinsey Flickinger (Jordan Stroup), 3:25.

Second half

G–Stroup (Emma Rolston), 21:58. G–Stroup (Womer), 17:25. EJ–Karah Goss (11:03). G–Flickinger, 5:50. G–Taylor (Riley Danko), 3:31.

Shots: G 37-5. Corners: G 16-2. Saves: EJ-14 (Emily Carolus), G-4 (Kelsey Sheaffer, Sarah Pennay).