HAMBURG - The East Juniata girls soccer team knows how important just one goal can be.
It took one overtime goal from McKayla Goodling in the semifinal round of the District 4 Class A tournament to clinch the Tigers' spot in the state tournament.
But Tuesday, when the Tigers played Tulpehocken in the PIAA Class A tournament, it was the Trojans' one goal which eliminated East Juniata, 1-0, from the tournament and ended the Tigers' season.
"We couldn't seem to get anything going to get dangerous. It ended up being played in the middle of the field a lot of the times," East Juniata coach Lori Goodling said.
Goodling summed up the match well. A large portion of the match's 80 minutes were played between the 18s, as neither team found many opportunities to get in dangerous scoring position. But unfortunately for the Tigers, there was that one moment early in the game where Tulpehocken scored the only goal it would need to win.
Just over three minutes into the game, Tulpehocken's Victoria Stump buried one head on after Kailee Ziegler, who was near the baseline on the right side of the net, gave her the pass. And it was that one goal which was all the Trojans would need to shut out the Tigers. In fact, Tulpehocken, which was the District 3 Class A championship team, has shut out every team it has faced in the playoffs thus far.
The Tigers' last match was a 1-0 loss to Loyalsock for the District 4 Class A title a match which was determined in penalty shots after the game was still scoreless after regulation and two overtime periods. And Tuesday, with the exception of Tulpehocken's one goal, the state matchup was very reminiscent of the Tigers' last performance.
"If we could have those first 10 minutes back and not play sluggish, it probably would have went into overtime," Goodling said.
But Tulpehocken came out stronger than East Juniata did, and it was in those first few minutes of the Tigers' weakness that the outcome of the match was decided.
Although neither teams took very many shots throughout the entire match, it was East Juniata's lack of shots which was really crippling. East Juniata had just a handful of shots in the first half, none of which were very dangerous, and no shots in the second half.
Tulpehocken's defense was just too tough, meaning that East Juniata's usual scorers, Kayla Hoke and McKayla Goodling, had trouble finding any openings.
"We tried to move some around a little in different positions, but we just couldn't really get (Hoke and Goodling) the ball," Lori Goodling said.
Last year, East Juniata ended its season in the District 4 Class A quarterfinals, so despite the disappointment of Tuesday's loss, making it to the state tournament was an accomplishment in and of itself. The Tigers ended their season with a 16-5-1 record, and Goodling said she was proud of the way her girls played Tuesday night.
"You know, not a way you want to go down for sure, but I'm proud of the girls for what they did," she said.