LEWISTOWN - Sometimes you lose by a lot, and sometimes you lose by a little.
For the Mifflin County boys soccer team, both types of losses have been the story of the season thus far.
Coming off a 2-0 loss to Central Dauphin East on Tuesday, the Huskies couldn't get the bitter taste of defeat out of their mouths on Thursday, as the boys took a 9-1 loss to another Commonwealth Division opponent, Cumberland Valley, in Mifflin County's home opener.
Sentinel photo by MATT STRICKER
Mifflin County’s Ian McGinnis (5) body blocks a shot by Cumberland Valley’s Connor Greiss Thursday in Lewistown. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
The game started on a high note for Mifflin County, as senior midfielder James Wilburne notched the first goal of the game on a penalty kick awarded when Cumberland Valley was called for a hand ball in the box.
But after that initial strike from the Huskies, the rest of the game was Cumberland Valley's, as the Eagles scored nine unanswered goals during the remainder of the game.
"A lot of people wrote us off - didn't think we could score against Cumberland Valley," Mifflin County coach Jared Byler said. "But we scored first, we had a lead for a little bit, and that's a small victory that we can build off of."
Mifflin County hosts Red Land Saturday
Small victory or not, as the score indicates, the Huskies struggled against Cumberland Valley, and most of these struggles began in the last five minutes of the first half.
By that point in the game Cumberland Valley led 2-1 - a deficit Mifflin County could have easily overcome - but with fewer than five minutes left in the half, Mifflin County gave up one goal on a breakaway from Cumberland Valley's Jesse Zimmerman, and then less than a minute later gave up a second easy goal when the defense failed to clear the ball from in front of the net.
By that point in the game, the Cumberland Valley boys clearly had the momentum, and they weren't going to give it up any time soon.
This inability to stay strong defensively throughout the entire game is a weakness Byler has noticed with his team.
"We had them really frustrated the first 35 minutes of the game," Byler said. "And then we just kind of had a letdown in the last five minutes and gave up two easy goals. That kind of is a trend for us. We've got to figure out how to not give up goals in the last five minutes."
As Mifflin County moves further into the season, Byler hopes that the defensive prowess his team displayed in the first half of the game will be something the boys can learn to keep up all game long, but he's not afraid to give Cumberland Valley credit for a game well played.
"(In the) second half we just got a little bit tired. It's hot; it's humid," he said. "And you've got to give Cumberland Valley a lot of credit. They're a quality team, and they just wore us down in the second half."