By Kenny Varner
WINGATE – The historical season for the Juniata boys soccer team came quietly to an end Tuesday as they fell to a very seasoned and talented Lancaster Catholic team 6-0.
“Congratulations to Lancaster Catholic. That’s the best side we’ve seen all year,” said Juniata Coach Jared Byler. “They’re going to do well in the state tournament. They’re going to do well.
But the Indians season was one that won’t soon be forgotten as the captured a DIstrict 6 title, it’s second in team history. It would be a team that played as underdogs throughout the season and succeeded into the PIAAs.
“I’m almost speechless when I think about this team. I couldn’t be anymore prouder in what they’ve done,” said Byler. “So many people had written this team off even before the season started and did not believe in this team. They accomplished a lot of things that nobody thought they could do this year. Nobody thought they could make a Tri-Valley playoff. They made the playoffs. Nobody thought they would make a District 6 tournament. They qualified.”
“Even when we got in, nobody thought we’d win a game in it. My goodness we’re District 6 champions.”
The Crusaders came out strong in its PIAA contest against a Juniata posting a quick goal.
Carson Spangler broke free from the crowd and blazed his way on a breakaway shot that was sent to the side of the net for the unassisted goal at 39:27.
Juniata’s back-third settled in and played tough as Lancaster Catholic continued to push the ball down into the Indians’ side of the field.
But as the first half clock wound down to 25 minutes, the Crusaders would go on a mini scoring run.
With 24.10 left in the first, Will O’ Malley picked up a pass from from Spangler and put it through, upping it to a 2-0 advantage.
Will Scott added to the visitor’s lead as he hit a diving unassisted shot at 21:16, making it 3-0.
Scott scored his second goal minutes later as he picked up an assist from Dawson Schreck at 18:46.
Schreck scored next as the clock wound down to under 10 minutes with a goal at 9:40.
As the first half was coming to an Leo Lambert scored on a penalty kick at 0:51.
Despite being down by six coming into the second half, the Indians defense continued to battle. It was also helped by an aggressive offensive attack that saw them out shoot the Crusaders 8-4 in the second half.
However, the Indians weren’t able to push any past Lancaster Catholic goalie Nathan Hummer who finished with six saves on the night.
Juniata goalie Wyatt Dessin was challenged numerous times in the contest as he was able to pick up 10 saves.
Despite the time running out on the Juniata season, there was still an air of pride in the Indians side of the field as they will go down in history as the team’s second District 6 champ.
“For these kids to deal with all the adversity this year, through injuries, the ups and downs of the season, what a great group of kids,” said Byler.
Lancaster Catholic 6, Juniata 0
LC 6 0 – 6
JU 0 0 – 0
LC – Carson Spangler unassisted, 39:27.
LC – Will O’ Malley from Spangler, 24:10.
LC – Will Scott unassisted, 21:16
LC – Scott from Dawson Schreck, 18:46.
LC – Schreck unassisted, 9:40.
LC – Leo Lambert penalty kick, 0:51.
Shots on goal – LC – 22, JU – 10
Corners – LC – 6, JU 2.
Saves – Wyatt Dessin (JU) 10, Nathan Hummer (LC) 6.