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Penns Valley back at .500 mark with win against PO

Edging closer to post season play, the Penns Valley boys soccer team topped Philipsburg-Osceola Thursday 2-0.

With the win, the Rams improved to 7-7 on the year.

“Coming to P-O tonight we knew that with 3 matches left in the season every one is critical and has implications for potential post-season play. Our pre-game talk included the tactical components that we have been focusing on for the past month and improving on each match: win, control, and possess the ball; be patient and smart; challenge every ball,” said Penns Valley coach Ken Gore. “This is basic stuff – but when we execute it successfully, we win matches. However, the first fifteen minutes of the match were not in our favor as P-O settled into an excellent passing game and kept us chasing and off-balance. The tide began to turn midway through the half as we started to win balls and attack with more focus and intensity.

“After nearly 36 scoreless minutes, Michael “Dennis” Johnson served a long high ball out of the left midfield into the box and Aidan Culver brought a quick hard challenge off the right side to keep the ball out of the P-O keeper’s grasping hands and headed the ball over his head into the net. (And sent the Penns Valley bench and coaches into celebratory frenzy! :-). It was an important strike as it provided the momentum we needed to hold our opponent down late in the half. I told my guys on the field that we needed another before the half – and a little over 2 minutes later, Culver struck again as Zach Heckman served a ball from the striker position and Aidan buried it for his 2nd goal of the game. Although the scoring was done at that point, we came out ready to possess in the 2nd half and played – at times – a simply brilliant control and passing game that kept P-O chasing and weary. And to seal the deal, the Penns Valley backfield, anchored by exceptional defense from center Kyle Niewinski, held P-O to just a few shots and little possession in our half for the rest of the game. We are really focused now on our final matches vs Clearfield and Bald Eagle to finish strong and see where we fall in District 6 standings for the post-season.”

Penns Valley got started with an Aidan Culver goal thanks to an assist by Michael Johnson at 35:39.

Culver was at again minutes later as he hit a goal with an assist from Zach Heckman at 38:05.

Penns Valley outshot Philipsburg-Osceola 18-5.

In Corner Kicks, the Mounties led 3-0.

P-O goalie Caleb Pellerite had 15 saves while Penns Valley’s Dristen Wolfe had five.

Next game: Clearfield @ Penns Valley, Monday 10/14 6:00 pm

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