LEWISTOWN - The start of the 2012 soccer season hasn't been what Mifflin County coach Jared Byler envisioned heading into the Huskies' second season.
And with just seven games under their belts, the Huskies are still looking for their first win of the new campaign.
Mifflin County struggled to stay organized in the middle of the field and wasn't able to keep possession very long Wednesday against Hollidaysburg. That led to a five-goal performance from Chris Miller in Mifflin County's 5-1 non-league loss to the Golden Tigers.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Mifflin County’s Ben Kauffman (7) settles a bouncing pass away from Huntingdon defender Alec Menard Wednesday evening in Lewistown.?See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com.
"We stayed very disorganized in the middle of the field this evening," Byler said. "That's very unusual for us. That's one of the things I pride ourselves in. Tonight we were just a little scattered."
Just two minutes in, Hollidaysburg exploited Mifflin County's sloppy play in the middle of the field as Miller slipped past the Husky defense. He took a nice feed from David Katz and the ball slid past Mifflin County keeper Derek Heimbach.
Quickly, Mifflin County found itself in a hole. Throughout the season, the Huskies hadn't been able to rise from that hole. But Ben Kauffman had something to say about that in this game.
It wasn't quite five minutes later when Kauffman toed the ball about 22 yards from the net. And after a sweet bender that was just out of the reach of Justin Hann, Kauffman put Mifflin County on the board.
"We've been trying to challenge the boys with taking advantage of the opportunities they're given," Byler said of the open-space shot. "It was nice to see Ben bury a ball from that far out."
But over the next 74 minutes, it was mostly Hollidaysburg's game.
The ball movement from the Golden Tigers was something that Mifflin County just couldn't handle. In the middle of the field, Hollidaysburg was passing feet to feet at will. And that led to many scoring opportunities late in the first half and then the second half.
Following Kauffman's bender, the Golden Tigers rattled off two more in the first half to up their lead to 3-1 - each coming off the foot of Miller. And a lot of that had to do with the Huskies not playing the ball but being spectators when Hollidaysburg possessed.
"Our Achilles heel all season long is that we ball watch out of the back," Byler said. "We worry about what's happening on the strong side. If we could alleviate that problem we can eliminate a few goals."
Heimbach had another nice outing for Mifflin County in the net. The senior keeper sent away 11 Golden Tiger shots in the loss. But it was his play on many balls deep in the Mifflin County zone that kept the score close most of the way.
The Mifflin County keeper got his hand on the first three Hollidaysburg goals but couldn't stop them. He also got a piece of a deflection in the second half that found the net.
"His job is to keep us into the games as long as he can," Byler said. "He's been doing that all season long. We need to learn as a team to help him out and start scoring goals."
"He's been an absolute workhorse all season."
Miller added two more goals in the final 10 minutes of the second half to completely secure the win for Hollidaysburg.
Mifflin County (0-7) travels to Carlisle today.