Thunder makes mark in first league season
MIFFLINTOWN — Belleville Mennonite struggled to hold the Northumberland Christian offense in check but found the top team in their commin division was too much as the Warriors won 5-0 Friday in the semifinals of the Allegheny Christian Athletic Association boys soccer tournament.
Belleville Mennonite (11-8) will face host Juniata Mennonite today for third place at Cedar Springs Park. It may or may not be the end of the season for the Thunder, who are PIAA members and are waiting to see if a District 6 berth is in the offing.
It didn’t take long for the Warriors to get on the scoreboard — in fact the Warriors had three goals from three different players within a three-minute span of time.
“We knew coming in that we were going to have our hands full,” Thunder coach Brian Renno said.
It started with Cole Krauss, who found an open Donnie Rager to score. Then Krauss got some help from Aaron Krauss to add on the second goal before Henry McElroy made it a 3-0 game for Northumberland Christian.
The Thunder looked to answer near the end of the first half as freshmen midfielder Mitchell Kauffman launched a direct kick that was just tipped over the net by Warrior keeper Justin Ross.
“In the first half Northumberland had a three-minute stretch where Northumberland had momentum and put three in the back of the net real quick,” Renno said. “Other than that in the first half I thought it was very evenly played. We hung with them, worked the ball to the wings and we gave ourselves some opportunities to get on the board but we weren’t able to finish.”
The Warriors added two more goals in the second half thanks to a cross pass from Jack Garvin to McElroy and then a Cole Krauss corner kick that turned into a header by Aaron Krauss.
Belleville Mennonite continued push as the game wound down with multiple chances to score, including a pair of corners, but failed to capitalize.
“Second half I felt like we gutted it out, we played with pride which is what I asked the players to do at halftime, to give their best efforts regardless of the outcome,” Renno said. “Whenever you face adversity you have a choice to make. You either drop your head or you just dig in a little bit deeper and you go harder so I was pleased with our hustle and our effort today. We didn’t drop our heads.”
Northumberland Christian 5,
Belleville Mennonite 0
N — Donnie Rager (Cole Krauss), 33:33; N — C.Krauss (Aaron Krauss), 31:35; N — Henry McElroy (Rager), 30:26
N — McElroy (Jack Garvin), 21:35; N — A.Krauss (C.Krauss), 20:21
Shots: N 11-4. Corners: N 10-4. Saves: BMS-6 (Rhiley Parks), N-4 (Justin Ross)