PUNXSUTAWNEY — When a team cannot put many shots on goal, it is tough to win. The Punxsy boys' soccer defenders were very successful at keeping visiting Karns City to six shots to record a 2-0 shutout on Senior Night at Jack F. LaMarca Stadium.
"That was District-IX caliber defense on the field all night," proclaimed Chucks coach Phil Shenkle to his players after the game.
The defense, led by senior Mike Pascuzzo on the backline, cleared away many Karns City advances. Pascuzzo helped send his six others fellow seniors of Trevor Peace, who had an assist, Ty Zimmerman, Brendan Knarr, Taylor Phillips, Lancee Deet and Pat Defelice away victors on Senior Night.
"It was a really nice effort, as the guys played a great game," said Shenkle. "They handled a very good Karns City team decisively on defense and were able to put in a couple goals."
The defense was able to play with the lead all night thanks to an early hometown goal. Only 6:32 into the contest, Tanner Evans took a pass from the midfield by Kevin Hughes. Evans dribbled twice and hit the ball from the left side, 10 yards across to the right side, and into the net for a 1-0 Chucks lead.
The Gremlins made one of what would be their best pushes of the night two minutes later. One of the Karns City forwards hit the ball from the right of Tristan Acre in the Punxsy goal across the goal crease, and Punxsy was just able to clear the ball. On the inbounds pass, the visitors had one more shot, but the Chucks backline defense booted the ball to midfield.
From the 28th minute, Punxsy (12-4) put together a hard run of seven rushes to the Karns City goal. Hughes connected on a ball that flew to the left of the net which was followed by two Peace offerings, one over the goal from the right and another that curved to the left and hit off the keeper's hands. Phillips had his own shot on a high kick from the point that looped into the Gremlin goalie's mitts. Evans accounted for the next two, and Peace one more, but none of the rushes were successful to keep the score at the same 1-0 tally for the half.
In the first 20 minutes of the second half, Peace belted a 45-yard free kick that the Karns City goalie leaped and was able to do just enough to corral the ball. The Punxsy forward came back to pass the ball to Brycen Lunger in the middle of the field in traffic, who dribbled twice and fired a right-footed kick to the left corner and into the net for the second and final goal of the night at 59:34.
Chucks goalie Acre laid out for a diving save on a Karns City shot from 10 yards with 18:22 left in the game for the final offensive try for the visitors. Punxsy kept the pressure on the final 15 minutes, which included a shot from 35 yards by Deet that slid to the right of the goal with the keeper out of the net.
The Chucks will have little time to relish in the victory as they will host soccer rival — the Beavers of DuBois — today starting at 4 p.m.