COCOLAMUS - In last week's Tri-Valley League loss to Line Mountain, East Juniata field hockey coach Billie Haines said her team spent too much time in front of its own cage, and if in future games her girls would take the ball up the field and into the opponents' cage, they would find a win.
Monday, when the Tigers hosted non-league foe Lewisburg, the girls did one of those two things, but unfortunately their time in front of Lewisburg's cage never came to fruition and it resulted in a 2-0 loss.
"We had nice balls laid across the field, and it's just we're not finishing, so it's something we'll be working on," said Haines, who had earlier remarked that in the second half of the contest her girls were getting many more looks at the cage than they had been able to manage in the first half.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
East Juniata’s Megan Hart, right, and Hunter Hepner, left, race Lewisburg’s Madison Scarr to the ball Monday evening in Cocolamus. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
However, even though East Juniata's offense looked stronger in the second half than in the first, the Tigers' woes started early in the match when at less than a third of the way through the first half, Lewisburg's Claire Lesher worked the ball in front of the cage, took a shot which deflected off East Juniata's keeper, and then took a second shot off the deflection for Lewisburg's first goal of the evening.
From that point on, both teams fought back and forth for possession of the ball until Lewisburg notched its second goal with 1:28 left in the game. Yet as far as Haines is concerned, her team looked much stronger in the second half.
"In the first half we were not marking, so that made it very difficult," Haines said. "In the second half we came out and were marking. We've started a new formation where we're kind of forcing our defense to push up, so they were a little uncomfortable with it. But, the second half looked much better. They were doing exactly what I wanted them to do."
IF YOU GO
* East Juniata hosts Lancaster Country Day today
Perhaps it would be accurate to say that both teams played stronger defense in the second half.
For the first 10 minutes of the second half, Lewisburg only had one shot on goal, and neither team had a penalty corner. Then, for a brief period of time, it appeared as if the momentum may have swung in East Juniata's favor. From about the 12 minute mark onward, East Juniata started spending a lot of time in front of Lewisburg's cage, but Lewisburg's defense was fast and every time East Juniata nearly had a nice shot lined up, Lewisburg would clear the ball from in front of the cage.
And in the end it was this inability to not only get the ball in front of the ball, but to also take shots that hurt East Juniata. The Tigers only had four shots on goal the entire game, and Haines hopes to see her girls learn to finish the offensive opportunities they create.
"I think finishing is the big thing," Haines said. "We have to finish in order to win games."
East Juniata (1-3) hosts Lancaster Country Day today.