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Altoona tops hard luck Central Mountain girls in OT

By Kenny Varner
MILL HALL – The Central Mountain girls soccer team hosted a prime time  contest with visiting Altoona Thursday in a battle of the AAAA teams.
No fan leaving the field could be disappointed on the efforts of both teams.
It was a tale of two halves as in the first it looked as if the Altoona offense was to be stars on this night, scoring three goals in the first half.
However, a 3-0 run by Central Mountain helped the Wildcats get back into the ball game and into overtime.
But in the end, Altoona’s Julia Sunderland ended the contest, sliding one through with 1:58 in the extra period.
In the overtime period, three quick shots at the goal by Central Mountain were stopped by great defensive play by goalkeeper Alicia Carper.
Wildcat goalkeeper Emily Strouse was tested as well in the period.
With time running out Sunderland hit a side shot into the net to end the game.
“We are the most unluckiest team in the world. I told them that at halftime that out of their first three goals, one was a penalty kick, one bounced off our head and I forget how they got the first one,” said Wildcats coach Abe Stauffer. “I told them there are two times in a game where it’s very important to score a goal. One is at the end of the half and one is in the beginning of the half. I said we got a goal at the end of that half and that gives us momentum going into halftime, that made it 3-1.
“Then I used another famous soccer phrase. The most dangerous lead in soccer is a two goal lead because the team that is up two goals thinks they got it won, we score and now the momentum is on our side.”
But it wasn’t easy for the Wildcats as they came back from three down to close it to two in the early part of the second half.
Central Mountain started the game off with the first possession but it didn’t take long for Altoona to take the possession away and get it into the Wildcats back-third. With a wide open fast turf field both teams were able to get up and down the field quickly.
Central Mountain got the first chance of the game when Briana Brungard found a temporary opening and looked for the breakaway shot.
However, the Lady Lions got back into the area quickly and foiled the attempt.
Altoona made the most of its next possession when Julia Sunderland picked up a rebound off of her first kick and sent it home past Wildcat goalkeeper Emily Strouse, making it 1-0 with 33:19 on the clock.
The Wildcats tried to retaliate as it got the ball back down quickly in the ALtoona area but the stingy defense sent the Wildcats away once again.
Offensively, Altoona had the hot foot. With 25:58 still showing on the first half clock, Lynn Masser tickled the twine to give the Luons some breathing room at 2-0.
The Lions scored again at the 25:58 mark when Kierra Irwin smack a spinner that found its way into the goal, upping it to 3-0.
However, as the first half was coming to a close Central Mountain struck on a Sloane Tressler blast, cutting it to 3-1 with 18 ticks left.
At the intermission, besides leading 3-1, Altoona the advantage on shots on goal by a 9-7 margin and also led in corner opportunities 5-3.
Strouse shut down six saves in the half while Altoona got five from Alicia Carper.
In the second, Central opened the half with a bang!
Before the Lions knew what hit them Lydia McCalb came out of the middle with a goal of her own to close the score to 3-2 with 37:31 left.
“Bree Brungard playing in place of the injured Becky Piergallini has had two really good games,” Stauffer said. “She works hard and she’s not afraid to tackle. She makes things happen.”
At the 29:01 mark, the game was officially tied at three when Jamey Renninger got wide open and sent a shot to an empty goal.
With the game tied, both teams had their chances and looks.
But with
It wasn’t all bad news  at all for Central Mountain on the night. In the junior varsity game, Central Mountain shut out Altoona 2-0.

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