Loyalsock's Ryan Loeh was in an uncomfortable position on Tuesday afternoon against one of the area's top strikers, but one he has thought about recently. The Lancers' goalkeeper watched his defender misplay a ball that landed at the feet of Warrior Run's Elias George, resulting in a breakaway.
George, who scored earlier to tie the game, dribbled into the penalty area and Loeh knew he couldn't give Warrior Run's sharpshooter much time so he made a split-second decision. Loeh came off his line and swiped the ball from George, keeping the game tied and giving his team the opportunity at a much-needed home win against a team that swept the Lancers last year.
The Lancers rewarded the play of their keeper 4 minutes later when Josiah Covert split a pair of Warrior Run defenders and fired the game-winning goal into the net with just 10 minutes remaining.
Warrior Run goal keeper Jason McWilliams, middle, hauls in the ball between Matt Hibbs (7), left, and Brooks Durand (28) of Loyalsock for a save Tuesday at Loyalsock. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
Loeh and the Lancers (3-3) withstood some late pressure from the Defenders and picked up a 2-1 victory on their home field.
"I've been working a lot on trying to get breakaways and being more aggressive," Loeh said. "I know he is a great player and that I couldn't hang back and let him shoot. He's a great finisher and I needed to get out and stop the play as soon as possible."
Loeh, who was credited with four saves, didn't need to make many quality saves Tuesday as his defense marked well for the majority of the 80 minutes, but his save on George and another one after George slid a through ball toward the feet of Kiann Weikel before it was smothered by Loeh were two of his best and showed his willingness to be more aggressive.
After a scoreless first half, Loyalsock's Matt Hibbs finally found some open space in the second half and looked like a threat to score each time he possessed the ball. He chipped a shot high and fed a pass to a teammate who also shot high before breaking through for the game's first goal. Hibbs, who spent the majority of the second half attacking the right sideline, scored his goal from the left side of the goal with 24:12 remaining.
"He is so talented and I've always been amazed by him," Loeh said. "It's great having him at practice to push me because I don't know if I will ever find a striker that good on another team around here."
George tied the game after an Alex Wehr indirect kick landed in the box and in and out of the hands of Loeh. The Lancers' defense came a little unsettled after the goal, surrendering George's breakaway and leaving Aaron Buck wide-open for a header that sailed wide of the goal, but they rebounded well and gave its offense the opportunity to pull out the win.
"I felt like we were in control of most of the game, but that shock of not being in control kind of fazed us a little bit, but just after that I think things went back our way," Loeh said.
Loyalsock will attempt to get above .500 on Thursday at Shamokin. Warrior Run plays at Mount Carmel.
"This was a big win," Loeh said. "We really wanted this one because they beat us two times last year and we were coming off two losses to Danville and East Juniata, so we needed this win a lot to get some momentum going again."
L - Matt Hibbs, 55:48; WR - Elias George (Alex Wehr), 62:13; L - Josiah Covert, 70:00.
Corners: WR - 5, L - 5. Shots: WR - 9, L - 22. Shots on goal: WR - 4, L - 17. Saves: WR - 14, L - 4. Goalies: Warrior Run (Jason McWilliams), Loyalsock (Ryan Loeh). Fouls: WR - 3, L - 7.
Records: Loyalsock 3-3, Warrior Run 3-3. Next: Loyalsock at Shamokin, Thu.; Warrior Run at Mount Carmel, Thu.