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BEA boys top Bellefonte for Mountain League title

By Kenny Varner

 

BELLEFONTE – From worst to first in just one year, the Bald Eagle Area boys soccer team ended its regular season on high note not only defeating rival Bellefonte but in the process winning the Mountain League with a 2-1 hard fought victory Monday night at Bellefonte’s Rogers Field.

In their first meeting of the year, the Eagles took the contest starting Bald Eagle down the right path, which led straight to the league title.

However, it wasn’t an easy task beating the Red Raiders at home on Senior Night. Two first half goals put the visitors ahead, 2-0 but going into the second half, the Red Raiders came out with a fury pace, cutting it to 2-1.

Before the game, Bellefonte honored its seniors. They were; Derek Fries, Matthew Modricker, Tyler Rudloff, Andrew Kaschalk, Mark Coll and Matt Feldman.

With the Red Raiders looking for a little redemption, Bellefonte took the opening possession and took it down into the Eagles back-third.

However, the run was a short one as the Eagles intercepted the ball and took it right down into the Red Raiders’ end.

Mitchell Taylor picked up the game’s first shot on goal when he sent a header flying at the Bellefonte net only to be stopped by a clutch catch by goalie Feldman at the 36-minute mark.

Both teams exemplified their vast ball control and passing skills as the ball stayed mostly between the 18s.

Luck would come to the Eagles early on as Gage Smocker-Hildebrand sent a shot from the fifty and blasted at Red Raiders’ goal. The ball was tipped in, giving Bald Eagle an early 1-0 lead with 24:20 left in the opening half.

As the clicked down to the 11-minute mark the Eagles struck once again.

With the action being fast and furious at the front of the Red Raider goal, Bald Eagle midfielder Mitchell Taylor picked up a rebounded ball and sent it home, upping the lead to 2-0.

“We had to hold on in the second half. Bellefonte put a huge push on us in the second. But sometimes being a champion doesn’t mean its going to be easy,” Bald Eagle coach Jason Bair said. “We would have liked to put one more in the back of the net but it just didn’t happen. Iam extremely proud of my kids, last year we were 2-14-2 and at the bottom of the league. This year, we are the league champs. What a story.”

In the second half, the Red Raiders stepped their game up to a feverish pace, matching the Eagles step for step, shot for shot and save for save.

After putting pressure down in the Bald Eagle Area goal area, Bellefonte pushed a goal through cutting the lead to 2-1.

On their second corner attempt of the second, Noah Gaus was at the right place at the right time when teammate Dion Furfaro sent a kick straight at the goal. Gaus lifted himself up and sent a header to the back of the Bald Eagle goal, adding to the tension in this rivalry.

“I want the just to come out tonight and play hard. We have a district game tomorrow and I told them I would bring them and rotate them in and out. I told them I need you guys to come out and play hard,” Bellefonte coach Scott Martz said. “I thought we were playing good soccer from where we were earlier in the year we just weren’t getting the shots. In the second half, we finally got a shot to go and a couple that almost went that we thought we would get the tying goals but it just didn’t happen tonight.”

However, the Eagles’ defense made the plays that it needed and was able to turn back the aggressive Bellefonte offense, ending the game at 2-1.

In the Junior Varsity contest, the Red Raiders posted two second half goals to defeat Bald Eagle, 2-1.

 

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