BLOOMSBURG - McKayla Goodling scored in the 28th minute, the lone goal in a game that saw East Juniata get past Loyalsock, 1-0, in the first round of the District 4 Class A girls soccer tournament.
The Tigers will play top seed Southern Columbia in the quarterfinals; dates, sites and times for that round will be released by the district after the first round has been completed; several games are to be played today.
"Any time you play Loyalsock, it's always going to be a battle," East Juniata coach Lori Goodling said. "It helped knowing what they had. We knew it was going to be a tough battle."
Sentinel photo by SHAWN?WOOD
East Juniata’s Noel Smith, left, works the ball downfield against Loyalsock’s Hannah Zurich during the first half of Tuesday’s District 4 Class A?playoff soccer game at Central Columbia High School in Bloomsburg.
Lydia Hunter was perfect in net, stopping all four Loyalsock shots.
East Juniata had two corner opportunities in the opening seven minutes but couldn't get the ball into a good position for a quality shot.
The Tigers' best chance of the day came with 17:11 left in the first half when Brooke Marker fired from the left-hand side.
Her shot went over the head of Loyalsock goalie Lauren Rude and narrowly went over the goal, hitting the football crossbar and bouncing back into the field of play.
The Tigers struck for the only goal of the game with 12:55 to play in the first half when McKayla Goodling scored on a pass from Amber Knouse, putting East Juniata up 1-0.
Not long after the East Juniata goal, the Tiger goalkeeper was put to the test, stopping four shots over a two-minute period, including one where she came way out and picked the ball off the offensive player's foot.
"I think after the shots, we just relaxed and played our game," Hunter said.
Hunter, who came out more to defend shots on the turf playing surface than she would on grass, made another key play with 25:43 left in the game when she came out to challenge a Loyalsock shot.
"Lydia seemed like she had confidence today," Lori Goodling said of her goalie. "That's definitely what you need coming into a district game."
The offensive player got the shot off, but it went wide to the right of the goal, preserving the lead.
East Juniata had a chance to extend its lead with 22:18 left in the second half when Hannah Scholl had a clear shot from the 18-yard line, but Rude was able to snare the shot kicked right at her.
Hunter and the Tigers' defense held the next 22 minutes to keep Loyalsock off the board and earn the shutout victory.
East Juniata fended off two corners with around six minute left to play.
Hunter said it was the defense that did the job in keeping those corners from turning into goals.
On one corner she jumped and couldn't come up with the save, but the defense was able to get the ball cleared and retain the lead.
"We've got to hone in on our shots and keep working on defense," Goodling said. "It's just one game at a time. It's a privilege to be there."
Notes: Southern Columbia received a bye when Wellsboro pulled out of the tournament. That change - necessitated by a Wellsboro school district policy that prohibits teams with sub-.500 records from playing in the postseason - meant that Line Mountain moved from the No. 16 line on the bracket to No. 15.