Mounties eke past Rams|
Thursday, September 06, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
PHILIPSBURG - Persistence pays off.
After peppering Penns Valley keeper Frank Randazzo with shot after shot throughout much of Wednesday's season opener, the hard work put in by the Philipsburg-Osceola boys soccer team finally paid off.
The Mounties and Rams were deadlocked at zero with time winding down when Caleb Henry's high, arching shot went over the outstretched hand of Randazzo and gave the hosts a 1-0 victory.
Henry, who had a shot earlier in the second half carom off the crossbar, buried the shot from outside the box into the opposite corner to give the defending District 6 runners up a win in their first contest of 2012.
"That was one of the worst angles, but Henry will bomb it from outside," said P-O head coach Shawn Inlow.
"He has a right-footed shot from the left (but) he'll turn and he'll rainbow one. He scored one in the preseason that way.
"He just got it outside the box at about 25 yards (out), and he arched it. If the goalie is too far up, he's a dead duck sometimes. He's hit that twice this season already after making one in one of our scrimmages."
Despite only having a single marker to show for their efforts, the Mounties dominated in all facets of the contest.
P-O attempted seven shots on goal - with many more chances off target - throughout the first 40 minutes of play and duplicated that number before Henry deposited his game-winner at the 71:10 mark.
Henry's shot off the crossbar preceded a free kick by Nick Boumerhi that was blocked by the Rams' wall to highlight P-O's second-half chances.
"Our strikers are new this year and I really think they wanted to do it," Inlow said. "They had some great opportunities, but they just (couldn't convert). I took them out a couple of times and talked to them. They'll be fine, plus it's hard to shoot on this pitch because the ball hops a lot.
"There's no reason we should take 40-some shots and have nothing go in. The strikers were playing right. There were holes in (Penns Valley's) defense, but our strikers just didn't finish. We're going to go over finishing. ... It really should have been about 5-0 in the first half. Most of our troubles were our shots weren't on frame. It's the side of a barn, and you've got to hit the side of the barn, I always say. We missed it."
While his work was minimal, P-O keeper Jay Prentice pitched his 12th career shutout to break Brian Bish's mark between the posts.
Prentice made just one stop in the contest against Penns Valley, which registered just two in the contest.
"Those guys didn't threaten us at all," said Inlow. "In three years, (Jay) has done a really good job. A keeper's shutout record is usually a function of a really good defense. Jay wasn't in trouble too much, aside from once when we almost scored on ourselves.
"By the end of this year, we expect Jay to have every major keeper record in school history. For our senior captain, that's a pretty nice thing to take away."
While Henry's goal gave the Mounties a seemingly insurmountable advantage, the Rams kept pushing the issue with less than 10 minutes to go.
Penns Valley registered their second shot with seven minutes to play and had their third and final corner kick two minutes later - neither of which was going to get past Prentice and his defense.
"I think, at that point, we were just trying not to make any stupid mistakes," Inlow said. "We get a little more conservative and we play back a little bit more so we don't get beat around the edge.
"Their guys didn't have very good touch, so for them to threaten they'd have to have a really good touch on a connection of passes and it wasn't going to happen. Our height on defense is really big. Taylor (Golemboski) is 6-foot-3, (Alex) Gray is 6-2 and (Jarrett Rockey) is 6-1. If you're going to send one in through the air, we're probably going to get to it before it hits the ground."
P-O is back in action when it hosts Tyrone on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Philipsburg-Osceola 1, Penns Valley 0
1. Caleb Henry, (unassisted), 71:10.
Shots: Penns Valley 2, P-O 15.
Saves: Penns Valley (Frank Randazzo) 9, P-O (Jay Prentice) 1.
Corners: Penns Valley 3, P-O 4.