Jersey Shore boys clinch playoff spot

In the past, Jersey Shore wasn’t known for producing good soccer teams, but things are changing fast for the Bulldogs.

The Jersey Shore boys soccer team clinched a spot in the district playoffs for the first time in a decade with a 2-1 win over HAC-II power Montoursville.

“This win puts us in playoffs for the first time in nine or 10 years,” Jersey Shore coach Pete Ruhl said. “The boys have been working hard for that obviously. We worked hard over the past few years for this, we’re finally in.

“Not only doing that, but we’ve beaten teams like Loyalsock and Hughesville, tying Central and now beating Montoursville on their own field.”

Jersey Shore came out from the first minute on a mission. The Bulldogs executed their gameplan, connecting with short passes and maintaining possession.

“We have a small field up in Jersey Shore so I knew if we’re going to win games we gotta make short, quick passes,” said Ruhl.

The short, quick passing offense worked well as Jersey Shore scored two first-half goals. The first goal came at 7:05 as Evan Jenkins worked his way up the right side and made it all the way to the 6-yard box. The Bulldogs second goal came at 26:41 on a penalty kick by Clayton Newton.

The Bulldog defense played well, led by Carter Kaufman and Colby Koch. Kaufman and Koch kept the dangerous Warrior offense to just five shots on goal.

Keeper Matt Miller made multiple huge saves in the closing minutes of the game to ensure the Bulldogs spot in the playoffs.

Montoursville came out slow from the start and couldn’t get completly out of the 2-0 deficit. The Warriors looked a little off from their usual stellar play as they had some mistouches, whiffed kicks and off passes.

“First half we didn’t come out prepared,” said Montoursville coach Rich Marriott. “We were just kind of there and in the second half we came out harder, a little more physical, a little bit more manning up.”

Montoursville picked up the aggression and created more oppurtunites in the second half as it took seven shots and the defense began to play better.

Montoursville looked like it was going to make a comeback after Jonathan Rhodes scored with six minutes remaining but Montoursville couldn’t get a second goal. It had three great oppurtunities in the closing minutes but Miller wouldn’t let that happen.

Montoursville goalie Sawyer Bressler made eight saves.

“Sawyer is a consistent player for us,” said Marriott. “A little unlucky on that first goal.”

After multiple big wins over other great teams, this Jersey Shore team could do some damage in the playoffs.

“I don’t think we’re just winning games by luck here,” said Ruhl. “You know we’re making a statement.”

A statement that other teams might want to pay attention to.

JS – Evan Jenkins (unassisted), 7:05, JS – Clayton Newton (PK), 26:41; MTV -Jonathan Rhodes (PK), 74:08.

Shots on goal: JS-10; M-5. Corner kicks: JS-5; M-7. Saves: JS-3; M-8. Goalies: Jersey Shore (Matt Miller); Montoursville (Sawyer Bressler).

Records: Jersey Shore 9-5-1; Montoursville 12-3. Next game: Jersey Shore at Warrior Run, (Mon.), Montoursville at Hughesville (Tonight 7)