MILLERSTOWN - Throughout the first 15 minutes of the second half Tuesday, one of East Juniata's assistant coaches could be spotted taking cell phone pictures of the scoreboard at Dar Roush Memorial Field.
Call it documentary evidence of a moral victory - to that point, the Tigers hadn't allowed Greenwood a goal, so the two lighted zeroes meant that the visitors were at least holding off the defending Tri-Valley League champs.
There weren't many opportunities for pictures after that - Taylor Tompkins smacked a corner ball delivered by Katie Barton to break the stalemate, then Barton assembled a natural hat trick to finish off the win for Greenwood, 4-0, in the TVL opener for both clubs.
Sentinel photo by LARRY?YOHN
Greenwood’s Lauren Fried (22) fights for possession against East Juniata’s Alleighcia Hepner Tuesday afternnon in?Millerstown. Greenwood rattled off four goals in the second half to take the win.
The tiebreaker proved to be a back breaker for East Juniata, which had been stopping Greenwood's offense - when the Wildcats weren't stopping themselves - without doing much when it had the ball. In fact, to that point, the Tigers crossed the midfield stripe only once in the second half, after challenging Greenwood offensively for about a third of the opening stanza.
The first goal came on the ninth of 11 Wildcat corners, and it couldn't have been set up much better. When Tompkins swiped the ball with her stick, it made a resounding thunk on the back of the cage before the defense could do a thing.
Three minutes later, Barton pretty well iced the game with a pair of unassisted tallies just 90 seconds apart. She landed the first of her goals on a rebound off the goal post; the second was just walked into the front of the goal and buried. It was the first time in the game East Juniata's defense had been so easily outmaneuvered.
"What a spark. We needed somebody to make something happen and she came in and did that for us," Greenwood coach Kent Houser said. "It was a nice night for her."
Barton scored her third with 5:30 to go in the game, this time coming out of a scrum in front of Tigers keeper Lydia Strawser, who had earlier in the game made some stunning pad saves as Greenwood went for the top of the goal as often as it stayed on the ground.
Houser said it was no surprise to him that East Juniata made it difficult for his team to score.
"EJ is a very, very good one-on-one defensive team. They're in the right place, their positioning is good, the sticks are down - you're not just going to put the ball through their stick. You've got to get around them," he said. "Their kids are very strong. They don't have a ton of kids over there, but the ones they have can play."
That, and Houser admitted his team was off its game in the first 30 minutes, so much so that you'd have thought the Wildcats were trailing by a dozen if you heard his halftime speech.
"The first half was a completely different story," East Juniata coach Billie Haines said. "We played our game, we played on our strong side and you could see when they came out in the second half they played on their strong side. We had trouble getting it back over to our side and playing our game."
But the Tigers came up short offensively in both halves. They managed only two penalty corners, and Greenwood goalie Katie Osborne didn't see a shot all night.
Both teams are back in action Thursday. Greenwood (4-0-1, 1-0) heads to Lancaster Country Day, while East Juniata (1-1, 0-1) visits Line Mountain.