Rice nails header in second overtime to lift Greenwood

COCOLAMUS — In the picturesque setting of the East Juniata athletic fields — a bucolic landscape draped by corn fields in their full early autumn glory — defenses reined supreme Tuesday night over more than 90 minutes of soccer before Greenwood finally ended the stalemate to claim a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Tigers in a Tri-Valley League boys game.

The winning — and only — goal was headed home by senior Glenn Rice off a corner feed from Isaac Myers 2:52 into the second overtime frame.

“We put in a good corner, and got a ball near side there for a surprise. Normally we are kind of on the back side, and we like to put those in as the keeper is going forward to track and then having to come back,” explained Wildcats coach Aaron Anstine. “But Isaac served a nice ball and Glenn got the head-ball in to finish off, so I was proud of that. That is our first header goal of the season, which is something (we have focused on achieving).”

The goal spoiled a top notch Tiger defensive effort that limited Greenwood to eight shot attempts and repeatedly stymied Wildcat attacks.

“The idea behind the defense tonight was to be a little more physical with players and close them down, I think they did an excellent job,” East Juniata coach Mike Ryan said. “Tyler Kerstetter had an outstanding game, I can’t say enough about him. We had to use him in a center back position and he did well there. He stopped everything and moved the ball forward well.”

The aggressive attacking Tiger defense allowed their offense to control much of the game and generate many opportunities, resulting in 14 shots on a relatively untested Greenwood keeper. However, none penetrated the plain as Aaron Bollinger pitched a shutout.

“Bollinger is a senior, but this is his first year playing soccer,” Anstine said. “He never played before, but he is a good hands basketball and baseball guy, and (his fall sport) was golfing up to this year, but he has made a commitment to come and we made a commitment to him, and he has worked hard. (He) has about 25 days of soccer under his belt, and I thought he played absolutely wonderful.”

The Tigers amassed 10 shots in the first half and had several fast break opportunities, but solid defense by Rice and Clay Gothel thwarted early chances. Quality opportunities off penalty kicks also went awry, including one from junior Cade Brubaker that just evaded the top right corner of the net by inches.

On the other end, Xavier Clement, Tim Black and Cy Fronk each made solid plays to deny decent first half scoring opportunities.

The second half was much of the same as missed opportunities to break the tie mounted. Another Brubaker free kick sailed high and wide of its target. Greenwood’s Daniel Capozzoli had a header go wide.

With under eight minutes to go, Tiger keeper Andrew Hunter made arguably the best of his seven saves when he snagged a ball Jackson Beaver redirected on a feed from Daniel Bellis. Later Brandon Marker turned away potential trouble in front of the Tiger net by clearing the ball well up field.

In the first overtime, a nasty collision between Tiger Coy Shaffer and Greenwood’s Samuel Myers resulted in a Tiger free kick from just in front of the goal. Bollinger was able to catch it with ease.

The missed opportunities haunted the Tigers when Rice’s header ended the marathon contest.

“This is only the second shutout of the season of the season,” Anstine said. “I don’t think we want to go double-OT every night, but we can grind out wins like this.”

Greenwood 1, East Juniata 0 (2OT)

Second OT

G–Glenn Rice (Isaac Myers), 92:52

Shots: EJ 14-8. Corners: G 3-1. Saves: G- 14 (Aaron Bollinger), EJ-7 (Andrew Hunter).