Chucks notch another win, blank St. Marys

ST. MARYS — The Punxsutawney Chucks boys' soccer squad shutdown the St. Marys offense and posed a 2-0 shutout to improve the season record to 7-1.

Despite the win, Punxsy head coach Phil Shenkle still said there were some things he was not satisfied with.

"We didn't play at as high of a tempo as I would've liked," Shenkle said.

St. Marys has a short, compact field, and Shenkle said his team had a hard time adjusting to that situation.

"St. Marys does a nice job shutting down the middle, so some of the things we worked on on offense, we struggled with," Shenkle said. "But the guys just kept plugging away and found a way to score."

The game was scoreless at halftime, but it didn't take long for the Chucks to take the lead.

Just 7:18 into the second half, sophomore Kevin Hughes scored, and Trevor Peace was credited with the assist.

The Chucks continued to dominate the offensive side of the field when three minutes later, Tyler Pressloid shot the ball, and it deflected off the keepers' hands into the goal. Although it was technically an own goal, Shenkle said Pressloid set up the play nicely to find the back of the net.

Shenkle said the defense played really well, and keeper Dan Tripony was a good second line of defense.

"There were two times where I was nervous, thinking (St. Marys) might score," Shenkle said. "My goalie had a few really nice saves in that game."

Shenkle said it was a more physical game than he expected, as St. Marys does not typically play that style of game.

But Shenkle said the Chucks stepped up well to the physicality and are used to playing in that type of game.

The biggest disappointment for Shenkle was the slow tempo, and he hopes for that to improve as the season continues.

"We're capable of playing at a very fast tempo; we just don't always do it," he said. "We'll sit back and wait and just play good enough, which is not something I want them to do."

The Chucks are looking at another busy schedule this week, beginning with a home game at 4 p.m. Tuesday against Curwensville.

Punxsy has already faced Curwensville once this year, and the Chucks came out on top in a convincing 9-0 win.

Punxsy will then travel to Knox to take on Keystone, which the Chucks have not played yet this season, at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Shenkle said he was not too sure about how his squad will match up with Keystone, but he seemed confident.

"I don't know much about them this year, but we've traditionally done well against them," Shenkle said.

The week will wrap up at noon Saturday when the squad will host Elk County Catholic. This will be the Chucks' first meeting with ECC this season also, and last year, they split the two-game series.

As the season reaches its midpoint, Shenkle had both good and bad things to say about his team's effort thus far.

"Our control is where I want it to be, and they're playing very intelligent soccer," Shenkle said. "It's just not fast enough or hard enough. ... They've got the capability to get ahead of teams quickly. Often they're satisfied with winning but not winning defiantly."

Over the second half of the season, Shenkle said he will be looking to make continued improvements, but he said overall, he is satisfied with how well the Chucks have played this year.