MIFFLINTOWN - It was a rivalry game, there's no question about it.
And when East Juniata and Juniata hit the pitch Wednesday evening in Mifflintown, it was just what every one expected - a defensive struggle.
And with defensive struggles, it only takes on mistake on either side to decide the outcome of the game.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE?BOYER
East Juniata’s Autumn Dressler, left, tries to block Juniata’s Janelle Swartz from the ball Wednesday evening at Dietrick Field. East Juniata was able to win the Tri-Valley League defensive effort 1-0. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com.
That's exactly what happened when McKayla Goodling forced her way through the Juniata box and beat keeper Joelle Winey to tally the game's only goal and give the Tigers a 1-0 Tri-Valley League win over the Indians at Deitrick Field.
East Juniata led the TVL matchup with 13 shots to Juniata's four. But the chances Juniata had late were indicative of the way the Indian girls kept fighting, down by one.
"I was hoping we could stay more relaxed. But you know how these games go," East Juniata coach Lori Goodling said. "The rivalry gets them all fired up."
r Juniata hosts Selinsgrove Monday
r East Juniata hosts Upper Dauphin Saturday
The Tigers were poised to score early, and it looked like they would do that via a corner kick. On numerous occasions in the first half, East Juniata's corner play gave them opportunities to cash in. But it didn't.
East Juniata's Michelle Mease got her head on a few corner kicks from McKayla Goodling. Each of her chances went just wide, leaving the score knotted at one.
"They were so close," Lori Goodling said. "We have girls that can get their head on them but they went just wide."
Juniata keeper Joelle Winey was the reason the score was so close throughout the game. The junior net-minder made a few fantastic plays to keep her squad close with the visitors. She finished with 12 saves.
"She's been huge," Juniata coach Brian Strawser said. "Last year she had a senior-loaded defense in front of her and she still had to come up big. This year she's probably going to have more opportunities but she's so collected."
"You have to get a good ball on her because she's such a good keeper," Lori Goodling said of Winey.
In the final minute of play, the Juniata offense was beginning to press and found its stride.
Freshman forward Christen Baublitz had a pair of chances in the last 30 seconds to get Juniata on the board and send the match into overtime.
The first try came with 30 seconds to play. Baublitz kicked a high ball toward East Juniata keeper Lydia Hunter. Hunter was able to leap in the air and make a difficult play on the ball preserving the lead.
Twenty seconds later, Baublitz had another chance.
She had the ball on her foot on the left side about 20 yards from the net and fired a shot toward Hunter. This time Hunter didn't have to make a play as the shot went just wide and a collective sigh of relief rang throughout the East Juniata crowd.
"We had our chances there at the end," Strawser said. "We're having trouble right now putting two good 40-minute halves together. This was probably the best second half we've played."
The deciding goal from McKayla Goodling came with eight minutes gone in the second half. Some might call it a lucky bounce, but the speedy Goodling make a few mistakes hurt on Juniata's part on one play to cash in.
She footed a ball from Kayla Hoke deep in the Juniata zone. Winey came out to contest and after the Juniata keeper stoned the first try from Goodling, the East Juniata forward was left open and was able to finish.
"We made two mistakes on that one play and they were able to put it in," Strawser said.
East Juniata (3-1, 2-0 TVL) hosts Upper Dauphin Saturday. Juniata (3-1, 2-1 TVL) hosts Selinsgrove Monday.