MIFFLINTOWN — Juniata’s girls soccer team is no stranger to what Millersburg brings to the field, but the visitors topped the Indians, 5-2, on Wednesday.
Juniata (3-5, 1-2 Tri-Valley) scored first with a goal from Mylee Landis as Regan Lowery provided the assist.
“I think we moved the ball really well. We were down a starter going into the game and we lost two in the middle of the game to injuries we’ll say,” Juniata coach Garrick Paden said.
“So playing with three starters down we got some great minutes out of the younger girls that really stepped up and showed they’re ready to go.”
Later in the opening half, Millersburg’s Danna Strait used a header to get the ball into the net, which knotted the score at one goal apiece.
But, in the second half it was Millersburg (7-1-1, 3-0-1 Tri-Valley) who capitalized on offensive possessions inside Juniata territory.
Millersburg’s Katelyn Leaman and Ava Matter each drilled a shot in-between the pipes, making it 3-1.
Later Gracie Griffiths connected for a goal for the visitors, but Juniata would answer with another goal from Landis, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
Matter would tack on another goal for good measure for the maroon and white. But, Millersburg brought plenty of physicality to this contest, which was a new challenge for Juniata to contend with.
“We just talked through it. We needed to play physical and play clean. We don’t want anyone getting hurt like we saw today. But, we need to move the ball quickly so there’s less time to receive that contact. I think we adjusted to it well in the second half,” Paden noted.
Before the game the Juniata Indians won three of their last four games.
“We were playing teams that maybe weren’t as physical or providing high pressure,” Paden said.
“We were picking good shots and we were putting them away whereas today we didn’t have as much time to judge that. We were kind of rushing our opportunities a little bit.”
Juniata has split the last four meetings with Millersburg. However, in 2019, Juniata swept Millersburg in the 2-game series.
“They’ve improved a lot and I know they’ve combined with Upper Dauphin. So, they’ve increased the size of their team, which helps create that competitive spirit to get out there and work,” Paden said.
“It’s nice for us to have these competitive battles… it toughens you up mentally and makes you fight through the whole 80 minutes.”
Juniata hosts East Juniata on Saturday at 6:30 p.m
Millersburg 5, Juniata 2
First half scoring
J-Landis (Lowery), 23:25
Second half scoring
M-Griffiths, 5:15 p.m
J at Landis, 3:30 p.m