Philipsburg-Osceola boys soccer shuts out Central, 5-0|
Thursday, September 20, 2012
By Andy Stine Sports Writer
PHILIPSBURG - With a stretch of seven games starting on Monday for the Philipsburg-Osceola boys soccer team, the objective of Wednesday afternoon's contest with Central was to play as many players as possible.
With the Dragons in the first season of their new program, Mountie head coach Shawn Inlow had no trouble finding time for his bench players.
A total of 21 Mounties saw action on the field after two quick goals from Alex Gray. Gray notched a hat trick on the day to help P-O defeat the Dragons, 5-0.
"I think we had five players making debuts that have never played varsity before," said Inlow. "That was a help to us and it gave those guys a chance to get their feet wet and not be nervous. When it comes crunch time, we're going to need every guy we have. I was trying to get everybody out of the game as quick as I could."
Just 2:28 into the game, Gray took a corner kick from Caleb Henry for his first goal.
Gray was positioned on the right side of the goal and hit a header past Central goalie Tristen Greenland. Just over two minutes later, Gray scored on a throw-in to give the Mounties a 2-0 lead. Lucas Kristofits was awarded the assist on the play.
"For a center-back, Alex has such great touch," said Inlow. "He's able to shield a ball, turn on the ball and keep the ball really close to his feet all the time. It's really hard to beat us in the back.
"We were playing Huntingdon the other day. He made a run from box-to-box and had a shot. He has the attacking instincts."
Despite the pair of goals in the first five minutes, the score stayed 2-0 until halftime. The Dragons had eight shots in the game, with many of them coming in the first half. Junior forward Daniel Clapper had four of the eight shots.
"I think our guys came in and we're a little bit lackadaisical," said Inlow. "We were trying to rest some guys, but we were playing a little lazy. This is a new team and the guys just weren't playing right after those first two goals. You can't play like that. I gave them a little bit of a talk at halftime."
The talk must've helped as the Mounties played with more energy and got more shots in the second half. Gray almost got his third goal in the opening minutes of the second half, but a save by Greenland off a header kept the score as it was.
Just a couple minutes later, Henry passed to Kristofits in front of the net, who nailed the kick for a goal.
Just three minutes later, Kristofits returned the favor to Henry to put P-O up 4-0. Kristofits and Henry each had a goal and two assists in the game.
After a Central shot, Mountie goalie Jay Prentice had a goal kick that was sent high to the middle of the field. Gray received the kick and sent it down further towards the goal.
A high bounce went over the Dragon goalkeeper's head and found its way to the back of the net to give Gray the hat trick. Prentice was credited with the assist on the play.
Prentice, who holds the Mountie record for career shutouts, recorded his fifth shutout of the season.
"In preseason, that happened a couple times," said Inlow of the goal. "We were taking balls direct from goal kicks. Those guys love that long ball. Gray just thrives on it."
"Jay has been a very special individual. When I first came back to coach, he was the first captain I picked as a 10th grader. That's how impressive he is. Any coach will tell you how delightful Jay Prentice is."
The Mounties improved to 5-0-1 on the season. They will be back in action on Monday at Hollidaysburg for their first of seven games in 10 days.
"That's going to be a test," said Inlow. "Hollidaysburg is always good. We want games like that. We want games against playoff-type teams."
Philipsburg-Osceola 5, Central 0
1. Alex Gray, (Caleb Henry), 2:28.
2. Gray, (Lucas Kristofits), 4:42.
3. Kristofits, (Henry), 49:29.
4. Henry, (Kristofits), 52:43.
5. Gray, (Jay Prentice), 64:00.
Shots: Central 8, Philipsburg-Osceola 23.
Saves: Central (Tristen Greenland) 15, Philipsburg-Osceola (Jay Prentice) 8.
Corner kicks: Central 4, Philipsburg-Osceola 7.