LEWISTOWN - Mifflin County senior midfielder Megan Becker has seen a roller coaster ride in her final year as a Husky.
The school went to one of most powerful conferences in the state with the Mid-Penn, leaving the Mifflin County girls in a tough spot under first-year coach Steven DeArment. But as the saying goes, winning cures everything.
Becker tallied all three goals, all unassisted, for the Huskies, and the Mifflin County defense pitched its first shutout of the season in a 3-0 non-league bout against Altoona Thursday.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Mifflin County’s Megan Becker (1) takes a shot on goal past Altoona defenders Morgan Chathams (12) and Ashlyn Shaffer (14) Thursday in Lewistown.
It was senior night for eight Mifflin County players. And nothing was more fitting than to see them work together to put some goals on the board and finished with a shutout, DeArment explained.
But in many cases, sometimes senior night could cause problems. The girls could come out not focused and emotional. That wasn't the case for Mifflin County.
Becker scored just over two minutes into the game and the Huskies were off and running.
"It was a fantastic game," DeArment said. "Everyone was excited to come play. A lot of times you get all the pomp and circumstance at the beginning and no one is ready to actually play a soccer game."
It was evident the Huskies weren't about to have a let down in their final regular season game. And thanks to a group of seniors including Becker, Erika Shawver, Olivia Carter, Kiara Noland, Ellee Harpster, Rene Zimmerman, Brooke Wilson and keeper Halle Fisher, the Mountain Lions didn't stand a chance.
"They came out hard and the seniors did a nice job in the beginning," DeArment said. "To be able to pull them all off as a group - that's the way you want it to end."
Becker's first goal can be attributed to luck, but it can also be attributed to pure hustle.
Sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Eckley, who was all over the field Thursday, found the ball on a clean breakaway and sent a shot screaming toward the net. She was just wide - the ball bounced off the post - and Becker was there to finish.
And then Mifflin County's defense stood tall and Altoona had no answers offensively. Led by Shawver and Breanna Cline, the Huskies' two catalysts on defense, the locals stopped every Altoona chance before it got started. DeArment attributed that to the play of his seniors.
"It's really important with a senior goalie," DeArment said of the shutout. "Erika Shawver has been fantastic all year. For them to get a shutout in the final game - that's the defensive equivalent to a hat trick."
The two squads went into the intermission with just a goal separating them, but the second half once again belonged to Becker.
As Mifflin County progressively began to take complete control of the game, the offense was starting to find its stride. Coming into the game, the most goals Mifflin County scored in a game was two. That marked its only other win of the season, a 2-1 double overtime victory over Chambersburg.
But this game was different.
Becker added two more goals in the final 30 minutes. The first one came after a scramble in front of the net and the senior found herself in the right place to put home the first insurance tally.
Then, with 15 minutes to play, Becker once again was in the right place at the right time. Cline sent a ball on goal and Becker was there to clean up.
"We've been in a gigantic scoring drought," DeArment said. "For someone to go get a hat trick was great. Especially on senior night."
With the loss of eight players to graduation, DeArment said there are only one or two positions that he is really going to have to work to fill. But he made it clear that this group could have easily packed it in after a very tough start to the season.
The type of leadership the Huskies got out of the senior class was something DeArment was proud of.
"In a year like this, where the record was not there, they were always positive and always worked," he said. "We made a lot of strides to this point. It would have been easy for them to put their heads down. They kept the team on the course and we were better because of it."
Mifflin County won the JV game 1-0. It was the Huskies first win of the season. Kelsie Kennedy scored the only goal in a winning effort.