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Johnson Motors - 877-816-0659
Golden Tide blanked by Punxsutawney
Friday, September 6, 2013
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
CURWENSVILLE - The Curwensville boys soccer team was simply outmanned and outsized by Punxsutawney Thursday afternoon at Curwensville High School.
The result was a 5-0 loss that dropped the Tide's record to 0-2 on the young season.
The Golden Tide played with only 11 the entire first half, falling behind the Chucks, 4-0, before reinforcements arrived fresh off the golf course.
Brett Gardner, who was the medalist for the Golden Tide golf team in a two-stroke win over DuBois at Eagles Ridge Golf Club, and Josh McGarry joined their squad at halftime and Curwensville surrendered only a last-second goal, literally, to set the final.
"We only gave up the one goal in the last second, so we definitely played better (in the second half)," Curwensville head coach Joe Palmer said. "It's just hard with some of those guys going to golf and trying to play more than one sport."
Gardner's arrival shored up a midfield that had trouble containing the Punxsutawney offense in the first half as Chuck midfielders ran free and moved the ball back-and-forth between each other and up top to the forwards with relative ease using a short, precision passing game.
The defense also had a little trouble finding their marks until McGarry took over in goal for Aryan Shearer and started directing traffic.
"When Josh came back in the second half, he was able to direct the defense around a little more than Aryan," Palmer said. "Aryan has had about 15 minutes in goal, so it was nice to have our regular goalie in there in the second half. But Aryan did well for never really playing the position."
As a whole, the team played with much more confidence and composure with Gardner and McGarry back in the fold.
"We were able to slow everything down and not play out of control and try to rush everything," Palmer said.
Punxsutawney opened the scoring at 2:16 when Tanner Evans' blast beat Shearer on the Chucks first shot of the game.
The Chucks' lead quickly swelled to 3-0 when a pair of corner kicks 39 seconds apart resulted in two goals.
Greg Wasicki netted the first on a well-placed header at 12:01, while Evans picked up his second goal with a header at the far post.
Both goals were assisted by Nate O'Brien, who took the corner kicks for Punxsutawney.
"It's hard when they have three kids that are 6-3 and we're trying to defend with three kids that are 5-7," Palmer said.
Evans notched the hat trick at 24:04, finishing off a two-on-one break by slotting the ball past Shearer after receiving a short pass from Wasicki.
But Curwensville withstood the Chuck pressure for the rest of the half, getting several well-timed clears from defender Jason Thorp, who also had the Tide's only dangerous scoring opportunity of the half when his direct kick from just outside the 18 went about five feet wide of the net.
Punxsutawney outshot the Tide 10-1 in the first half.
The teams each recorded five shots in the final 40 minutes of play.
Evan Martin slipped behind the Tide defense in the waning seconds and beat McGarry at 79:59 to thwart a scoreless second half.
Thorp posted two hard shots on direct kicks in the second half, and Gardner drilled another that Chuck keeper Tristan Acre tipped over the crossbar to keep Curwensville off the board.
Pat Shearer and Noah Strickland also registered shots for the Tide.
"They are going to be the best team we're going to see all season," Palmer said of Punxsutawney. "I was actually happy with the outcome."
Curwensville is back in action Monday, playing host to Brockway.

Punxsutawney 5, Curwensville 0
Scoring Summary
First Half
1. Tanner Evans, P, (unassisted), 2:16.
2. Greg Wasicki, P, (Nate O'Brien), 12:01.
3. Evans, P, (O'Brien), 12:40.
4. Evans, P, (Wasicki), 24:04.
Second Half
5. Evan Martin, P, (unassisted), 79:59.
Shots: Punxsutawney 15, Curwensville 6.
Saves: Punxsutawney (Tristan Acre) 4, Curwensville (Aryan Shearer, Josh McGarry) 7.
Corner kicks: Punxsutawney 6, Curwensville 1.

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