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Southern Columbia shocks East Juniata for D4 girls title

By Kenny Varner

COCOLAMUS – Sometimes it’s just not your night.

Coming into Saturday afternoon’s District 4 girls soccer Championship game, East Juniata looked to have an advantage, coming in as the Second seed.

The road that the eighth seeded Southern Columbia took looked to be a challenging and  exhausting one. The team had to knock off number one seeded Benton and South Williamsport in order to reach the title tilt.

But the grueling schedule seemed to have little effect on Southern.

In a very physical and competitive game, Southern Columbia came out the victors, doubling up East Juniata 4-2 to capture the championship.

“They worked so hard and we are so proud of them,” said East Juniata coach Valeria Dressler. “There was nothing more we could ask for. It was just unfortunate that it just wasn’t our night. But there was nothing to say negative at all.”

Things didn’t quite start out the way Southern might have liked as East Juniata struck first.

Both teams had their chances early on as both were looking to take the early momentum.

East Juniata found an opening in the Southern defense and Amara Baker hit it i from close range.

Southern refuses to be phased by the goal.

A little less than 10 minutes later, it would be Southern putting its own points on the board when  Sophia Shadle was able to control the ball after some action in front of the goal, she was able to bust through to tie the game at 8:48 left in the opening half.

But minutes later, on a free kick, Southern Columbia scored again  when Loren Gehret pasted an unassisted goal at 6:21.

Both team’s defenses stood the ground in the final minutes giving Southern the one- goal lead.

Despite a spirited effort by East Juniata to start the second half,  Southern’s defense was up for the challenge. They cut down the breakaway opportunities and were able to double down on some of the EJ scorers.

It wouldn’t bother the number two seed as they took the challenge head on.

Southern padded its lead early in the second when Riley Reed posted an unassisted goal at 31:23 left.

East Juniata upped its speed game and its intensity, going right at the heart of the Southern defense.

But each time the Southern defense rallied to clear the ball out of the goal area, keeping the 3-1 advantage still in tact.

Almost putting the game out of reach, Southern Columbia added another goal.  Summer Tillett scored an unassisted goal off a corner opportunity at 28:59.

East Juniata also showed why they were the number two seed as it refused to never give up and gave their selves a chance.

Kierstyn Fogle posted an unassisted goal at 24:25 to cut the deficit to two.

Fogle and company continued to push the ball down in Southern’s end just coming up short numerous times.

But as the clock began to wind down, the defense continued to refuse East Juniata any penetration zones to run through.

As the buzzer sounded, both teams looked like they were put through the wringer and everything they brought to the game was left on the field.

So. Columbia 4,East Juniata 2

SC 2 2 – 4

EJ  1 1 – 2


EJ – Amara Brubaker unassisted, 18:28

SC – Sophia Shadle unassisted, 8:48.

SC – Loren Gehret unassisted, 6:21

Second half

SC – Riley Reed unassisted, 31:23.

SC – Summer Tillett unassisted, 28:59.

EJ – Kierstyn Fogle unassisted, 24:25.

Shots on goal – Southern Columbia 12, East Juniata 10.

Corners – Southern Columbia 5, East Juniata 3.

Saves – MacKenzie Palacz (SC) 6, Grace Hibbs (EJ) 7.

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