MIDDLEBURG - After a 7-0 win over Galeton in the first round of District 4 Class A boys soccer tournament Tuesday, the East Juniata Tigers entered Saturday's match against Loyalsock looking to continue their winning ways. And that's exactly what the Tigers did.
With a 3-0 win, East Juniata not only notched its second shutout win of this postseason, but it also advanced to the semifinals of District 4. The Tigers will travel to Hughesville Tuesday to take on Bloomsburg for a shot to reach the district final.
Bloomsburg was a 7-1 winner over Liberty Saturday.
East Juniata's first opportunity to score occurred early in the game when the Tigers were awarded a free kick outside the right corner of the box after Devin Goodling was taken down by a Loyalsock player. Using one of their set pieces, Hunter Gingrich passed the ball to Zane Lauver, got in better position toward the middle of the field, took the pass back from Lauver and shot one past Loyalsock's keeper to put East Juniata on the board. It was East Juniata's first shot of the game.
After Gingrich's goal, Nick Stahr was the next Tiger to find the back of the net. At 29:25 in the first half, a group of Tigers got inside the box, drew Loyalsock keeper Louis Comfort out of position, then Stahr was there on the left side of the box to finish off the play.
The third and last goal of the game was again scored during a free kick, when Nick Lorenz took a nice pass from Gingrich to make it a 3-0 score going into the half.
*East Juniata plays Bloomsburg Tuesday in Hughesville
Although he was pleased with the win, East Juniata coach Don Troutman would have liked to see more from his team in terms of pressuring the opponent.
"We did not play high pressure today like we like to see," he said.
Troutman further explained that he felt his boys gave Loyalsock too many chances to set up passes and that he didn't see as much teamwork from his boys as he would have liked.
"We didn't do it as a team. At certain times we had certain guys who put a lot of pressure on, and when we did that we ended up getting dangerous off of some of that stuff, but when we play our high pressure we make it very difficult because we take away time and space. And we didn't do that today," Troutman said.
Two examples of this break in pressure occurred early in the match. In both examples, Loyalsock broke through East Juniata's defense and drew keeper Adam Strawser out of position. Loyalsock had the potential to score each time, but East Juniata's defenders were able to clear the ball before any permanent damage could be done.
One change the Tigers were dealing with the whole match was the absence of starting defender Baily Coder. Out due to injury, Coder wasn't there to fill his normal spot, and the Tigers had to adjust accordingly.
"It changed our look a little bit by not having Bailey in the back there, but we've just got to be able to work that out," Troutman said.
But despite a few frustrations, a win's a win, and with the 3-0 victory, East Juniata advances into the District 4 semifinals. As the Tigers advance, Troutman hopes to see them avoid making the mistakes with pressure that they displayed Saturday.
"So we move on, and like I said, we've got some things to work on," Troutman said.