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MCCA falls in home opener

SHINDLE – To be the best you have to play the best. That was the philosophy that Mifflin County Christian Academy head coach Craig Todd took when he scheduled the more experienced, larger and bigger team in Lebanon Christian. Todd was wanting to use it as a measuring stick on where he team is going into the Eagles’ first game of the 2014 season. It was a growing experience for MCCA as they gave up four goals in the first half then regrouped and hung with the Panthers by stepping up their game both offensive and defensively. Lebanon’s Craig Griffith finished with a hat trick on the day en route to the 4-0 victory. It was the first visit by Lebanon Christian to the Eagles’ home field. Mifflin County goalkeeper Brad Smith frustrated the Panthers on their breakaway attempts collecting 16 saves on the afternoon. “I thought we played a better second half. We were out manned in a lot of positions. We knew that going into it. We just wanted to play the best we could For our first game we saw some things we need to work on so we have a game at Centre County Thursday and will try to get things ready for Thursday,” Todd said. Smith was very active the first few minutes of the game as he was tested numerous times, collecting four saves in the first five minutes. Highlighting Smith’s night was diving and snagging a sizzling shot by Nate Martin. The Panthers offense started smoothly working with precision passes and quick steps to the goal. However as the game went on, the Eagles were up to catch some Panther offensive possessions by keeping the pressure off of Smith. But Martin found his way to the goal area and pushed it past Smith, making it 1-0. With the lead and the momentum, Craig Griffith hit his first of three with 19:44 left in the half. Less than a minute later, Griffith got another open look at the goal and sent his second goal home, upping the Panthers lead to 3-0. As the first half began to wind down, Griffith ended the first half scoring by breaking free and sending yet another goal to the back of the goal, ending the scoring at 4-0. At the half, Lebanon Christian out shot Mifflin County Christian 17-7. The Eagles held the advantage in corner opportunities 1-0. In the second half, the Eagles’ kept up with the pace of the game and went toe-to-toe with the Panthers. They stepped up their defense and were able to keep the Panthers off their game. MCCA refused to quit and played to the very last second of the game. The Eagles will be back in action Thursday when they go up against Centre County Christian.

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