Boys' soccer sends seniors off right at home with 3-2 win

PUNXSUTAWNEY — "You're going to see a barn-burner here. Eighty minutes up and down the field is what we need."

That's what assistant coach Kevin Hughes said before Punxsy took on Brockway for their final home game of the season.

With a 2-0 lead with about three minutes left in the first half, Hughes looked over and said, "See, this is exactly what we were looking for."

Head Coach Phil Shenkle agreed that his team laid it all out on the line en route to a 3-2 victory over the Rovers.

"The kids don't quit. They just don't," Shenkle said. "When you play against Brockway, you have to play all 80 minutes. If you don't, they'll find a crack. The score was closer than it should have been, but all credit to them. They just kept working and working and working."

Not only were the boys fired up due to the 3-0 loss suffered at the hands of the Rovers last time the two teams faced each other, but for a senior-heavy team, it was the last time they'd ever take the field at home.

"It's one of those things where we told them to drink it in. It's the last National Anthem on this field, and the last time your name will be called on this field. This is it," Shenkle said. "They've have four years here, and it just flies by. We told them enjoy it, but leave it all on the field. And they did just that."

Shenkle talked to his team prior to the game, but instead of giving his pregame speech, he handed the duties over to senior Kevin Hughes.

"I told them that we need to pay these guys back for the loss, and
leave everything we have out on the field," the younger Hughes said. "This is the last game we'll ever have on this field, and I told them we have to make sure that we have no bad memories or no regrets."

Helping to ensure that there won't be any bad memories was senior Tanner Evans.

Evans struck first at 21:20 to put the Chucks up 1-0, before tallying another goal just a few minutes later.

"It felt awesome. Coming here the last time, we were pumped before the game. That got us going," Evans said. "We came out with so much energy, and played as a team. It felt really good."

Evans said that a win would've felt nice regardless, but getting retribution on the Rovers made it that much sweeter.

"Especially from the last game, losing 3-0 at their place, it definitely felt good," Evans said.

Brycen Lunger would add another goal in the second half, which would turn out to be the game-winning goal.

The Chucks were fired up and excited before the match, but as Shenkle told them to, the guys embraced the moment of their final game at Jack LaMarca Stadium.

"Just thinking about it before the game gave me the goosebumps. It was rough," Evans said. "To know that I won't come back here to play anymore on my home field felt nice just to go out there and play with the guys."

The younger Hughes also said that he couldn't ask for a better ending to his home career.

"From beginning to end, it was an experience, knowing that this will be it for me," Hughes said. "I couldn't ask for a better night to play soccer."

While Shenkle is giving the guys the day off of practice today, and he's pleased with the way the are playing as a team, he knows they still have work to do.

"We need to get better. We have more room for improvement," Shenkle said. "We left several goals on the field with people wide open on the field."

The Chucks will return to action next Tuesday, as they travel to DuBois.

Along with Evans, Hughes and Lunger, the seniors who were recognized were Tommy Rennick, Nate O'Brien, Greg Wasicki, Joel Tripony, Ryan Presloid, Tristan Acre, Alex Farmery and Tyler Bauer.