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Tusing powers Lions past Thunder

JCS defense holds BMS off the board

Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Belleville Mennonite’s Quinn Renno, left, attempts to win the ball away from Juniata Christian’s Abraham Dressler in an ACAA soccer game on Thursday in Belleville.

BELLEVILLE –Juniata Christian made the most of its opportunities in a 3-0 victory over rival Belleville Mennonite in an Allegheny Christian Athletic Association boys soccer game on Thursday.

“I’m proud of the boys,” Lions coach Dave Portzline said. “No matter what, they worked hard–they worked hard through this. Just all of the problems that could have gone wrong, they fought through them and they did well.”

In the first twenty minutes of the opening half Belleville Mennonite and Juniata Christian traded blows. Colton Sunderland for the Thunder made an early run toward the net, but his shot went wide.

Then it was the Lions turn as Trey Tusing launched a shot on goal which was tipped over the net by keeper Aiden Freed.

Josh Sunderland for Belleville Mennonite had his opportunity to score, but his shot curved wide right.

The Thunder had possession of the ball on the Juniata Christian side of the field for the majority of those twenty minutes into the game, but could not get on the board.

“The first twenty minutes was a glimpse of what we are capable of,” Thunder coach Brian Renno said. “I don’t know if its the young players that are up and down through out the game, but we have to maintain that level of play for 80 minutes and we haven’t. You saw them score and we kinda put our heads down a little bit.”

But Juniata Christian turned it up with just under 19 remaining the half as Abraham Dressler sent the ball well over the head of Tusing who snucked his way by the Belleville Mennonite defense and knocked one in to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.

“It was a sigh of relief,” Portzline said. “Playing against the wind, we were okay once we got that first goal go in.”

The Lions pounced the Thunder’s net with a pair of chances in an attempt to extend the lead further, but failed to capitalize, going into the half leading 1-0.

The wind really picked up in the second half, causing a bit of a struggle for both teams setting up its respective offenses.

After ten minutes had past, Anson Portzline took advantage of a mishap by the Thunder and blasted one into the back of the net to make it 2-0 Lions.

Josh Sunderland looked to respond with a goal of his own for Belleville Mennonite but his shot was knocked away.

As time contined to tick away, Tusing showed up again, scoring his second goal of the game to extend the lead to 3-0 for Juniata Christian.

“It was good,” Portzline said. “It’s just a relief whenever you see a couple more goals being scored, you know you’re not just sitting on a 1-0 lead. It was good we were able to get that.”

Along with the wind, the Thunder had not only a tough time with scoring opportunities, but struggled to get into its offense thanks to the Juniata Christian defense, as well as the efforts of goal keeper junior Jorge Flores De Valgaz.

But Belleville Mennonite refused to give up, continuing to push forward until the clock hit zero, including a chance from Josh Sunderland, but again his shot went wide.

“(In the) second half, we couldn’t get ourselves back–number one: because we didn’t play to feet,” Renno said. “You know the wind was a factor today, but under the circumstances, you got to play small out of the back and we were attempting to play big out of the back. We just were getting it stuffed down our throats again.”

With this win Juniata Christian improves to (10-3-1, 7-1-1) and will travel to face Columbia County Christian today.

Meanwhile Belleville Mennonite falls to (6-6-1, 5-4-1) and will look to rebound on Saturday at St. Joseph’s.

Coach Renno hopes to get his team back on track and playing winning soccer as a team.

“(We have to) try and figure out where our chemistry (went) and to bring back some team confidence,” Renno said. “These kids are good players and if we play confident, then we play well. We lost three games in a row and our confidence level isn’t real high right now. So tomorrow at practice, we’re going to work on some off the ball movement, initiate play through the midfield cause that’s something we’re struggling right now.”

Juniata Christian 3, Belleville Mennonite 0

JC 1 2-3

BMS 0 0-0

Goals: Trey Tusing 2, Anson Portzline. Assists: Abraham Dressler. Shots: JC 6-4. Corners: JC 4-2. Saves: BMS-3 (Aiden Freed), JC-4 (Jorge Flores De Valgaz)

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