Jersey Shore boys top Loyalsock in season finale

Loyalsock’s Ty Whitmoyer, left, and Jersey Shore’s Jacob Corson battle for control of the ball during the first half at Jersey Shore on Thursday. MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette

JERSEY SHORE — When Colton Miller got a breakaway, the Jersey Shore senior took it down as far as he could toward the end line. As Loyalsock goalie Matt Loeh came out to try to grab it, Miller saw Jacob Butzler running inside of the 18 and sent a pass to his right past Loeh.

Butzler took it and wasted practically no time in taking a shot, firing a great shot to the left post for the goal.

The goal gave Jersey Shore the lead again and shifted the momentum back to the Bulldogs. Perhaps it was only fitting two seniors connected on Senior Night at Jersey Shore for the go-ahead goal en route to the 2-1 victory.

“We know all their players, they know us. … We knew it was going to be a fun game, knew it was going to be tough,” Jersey Shore coach Cole Black said. “First half I thought we were a little laggy. … Just opportunities we had: boom, boom, boom, shot after shot. It’s like ‘we finally got one.’ Sigh of relief. You saw sidelines jump with joy, huge sigh of relief.”

After numerous chances, especially in the second half, Jersey Shore (12-5) finally put the go-ahead goal in with 15:16 to play and held off Loyalsock anytime the Lancers (4-11-3) got a look in Jersey Shore’s end.

Loyalsock goalkeeper Matt Loeh dives for the ball after it bounced out of his arms during the first half at Jersey Shore against the Bulldogs on Thursday. MARk NANCE/Sun-Gazette

The Lancers came out quickly in the second half and caught Jersey Shore slightly out of position. On the kick to start the half, Jersey Shore goalie Hunter Pfirman wasn’t quite back far enough toward the goal and Loyalsock’s Andrew Czap, who also kicks for the football team, took advantage.

Czap rifled a shot from midfield and Pfirman just missed the bounce as it went over his head and into the net for the tying goal with 39:54 to play.

“We told our guys to keep eye on goalkeeper, especially shorter fields, because a lot of times teams on defense won’t anticipate a shot off kick like that and because he was so far off line, all coach John (Karichner) had to say was ‘pay attention’ and Andrew Czap … sent it and keeper misread the bounce, bounced right over and went in,” Loyalsock coach Pete Ruhl said. “That was a huge lift for us. Just heads up play by Czap and our assistant for seeing it.”

The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead into the half. With 12:59 to play in the first half, Butzler took the ball and passed it to his left to Connor Anderson, who got it on the 18. He then fired a solid shot to the far post for the opening goal and lead.

In the second half, Jersey Shore peppered Loyalsock goalkeeper Matt Loeh repeatedly. In total, Jersey Shore held an 18-6 shots on goal advantage and 10 of those shots from the Bulldogs came in the second half. But Loeh and also Loyalsock’s back line played excellent in not allowing too many open looks and Loeh played as well as he could against the Bulldogs, giving up only that one second-half goal.

Loyalsock goalkeeper Matt Loeh dives for the ball after colliding with teammate Ilan Quintana and Jersey Shore’s Connor Anderson during the first half at Jersey Shore on Thursday. MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette

“I have to give the organization of our backline credit: Ben Wescott, Austin Martin, our center backs, and Matt Loeh. Loeh has worked countless hours putting in time with the goal keeping trainers, going to camp, getting a lot of action this spring and winter seasons. He earned every save he made tonight, unfortunately we came out on light end, but he definitely came out on top,” Ruhl said.

With 30:50 to play in the second half, Loyalsock’s Charlie Hunt had a great chance to add to Loyalsock’s lead and potentially put the Lancers ahead when he got the ball inside of the 18. Hunt got it past two Loyalsock defenders, but couldn’t quite catch up to it as Jersey Shore’s Calvin Lesser grabbed it before any type of shot could be attempted.

Czap also made some nice shots in both halves, firing three nice shots from outside of the 18 in the first half — just one on goal — and accounting for five shots in the second half — three on goal.

While the end result was a Jersey Shore victory, for the 13 Jersey Shore seniors who were honored, they were happy to have been able to play Loyalsock for Senior Night since Ruhl coached them when they were sophomores. Black was an assistant for Ruhl before he became head coach when Ruhl went to Loyalsock.

“It was (nice) because I just told my Loyalsock players, they’re my team. They’re the kids I coach now and kids I’m going to put all my time and effort into, but at same time as a coach, you look at not just team you coach for but all the kids you coached,” Ruhl said. “To watch that group of seniors and even some of juniors just to see them play as well as they did against our guys who played a phenomenal game tonight, it’s just nice to know that I have a little bit of a hand in their coaching.”

Loyalsock goalkeeper Matt Loeh, left, collides with teammate Ilan Quintana and Jersey Shore’s Connor Anderson during the first half at Jersey Shore on Thursday afternoon. MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette

“It’s definitely a little sentimental for all of us. Obviously I was an assistant when these guys were sophomores. Pete, a real good guy (and) loves these guys,” Black said as Ruhl was taking a photo with the seniors on the field. “These guys chose it to be Loyalsock because they wanted Pete to be part of the mix. We know Pete, he’s done a lot of things for them.”

Jersey Shore 2, Loyalsock 1

JS–Connor Anderson (Jacob Butzler), 12:59. L–Andrew Czap (Evan Painton), 39:54. JS– Butzler (Colton Miller), 15:16.

Shots: L 6, JS 18. Corners: L 1, JS 3. Saves: L (Matt Loeh) 13, JS (Hunter Pfirman 1, Calvin Lesser 4) 5.

Records: Loyalsock (4-11-3), Jersey Shore (12-5).