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Loyalsock beats neighboring rival Montoursville, 3-1

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Montoursville’s Luke Kirkpatrick (27) and Jacob Foster (8) try to block out Loyalsock’s Bradyn Gardner during the first half at Montoursville during Saturday’s game. Loyalsock won, 3-1.

Ian Scheller was blazing his own path in front of the Loyalsock bench. The flattened artificial turf made by Scheller’s black and white Adidas showed his frustration.

Loyalsock came away with a 3-1 victory over Montoursville Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, but Scheller knew his team left more than a few goals off the scoreboard.

The second-year Loyalsock coach screamed, jumped, chomped his gum and probably would’ve pulled his hair out if it already wasn’t shaved.

Connor Albaugh scored two first-half goals and Matt Barone added a clincher late when his free kick from about 25 yards out bounced off a Montoursville defender and in, but the Lancers had shots go just wide and a few even hit the crossbar and the goal post. If not for a second-half ankle injury to Montoursville leading scorer Angelo Silvagni, who scored his team’s only goal, those missed opportunities might’ve put a blemish on Loyalsock’s undefeated record.

“At the end of the day, we’re making the chances and as a coach you’re happy about that, obviously,” Scheller said. “But every time you hit the (post), we hit the (post) three times in the second half, and with this team being so dangerous going forward, you’re like, ‘oh if we don’t put one in the back of the net, the game is always going to be unbalanced.’ Luckily, we were able to get something to go our way there at the end. We tried to go quick, Barone made a good read and luckily it went into the back of the net. It’s frustrating but at the same time, you look at the guys and say there’s nothing more you can do. You just throw your hands up and say well, at least we got the result.”

Montoursville’s defense and goalie Zach Baylor, who made eight saves, might’ve had something to do with those missed opportunities. Due to an injury to sweeper Ian Plankenhorn, Montoursville had to shuffle its back line and throw sophomore Dominic Pulizzi in as the last defender in front of Baylor. It was Pulizzi’s first game playing sweeper and he showed a glimpse of what the future holds for a stingy Montoursville defense.

Pulizzi usually plays as one of the defensive backs when Plankenhorn is healthy, but he stepped in and did a workmanlike job and held his own against a speedy and skilled Lancer front.

“I think the last game we adjusted the formation a little bit because of Ian not being there and I feel like it confused the kids a bit with that so we went back to the diamond and we just continued to provide him with the confidence he needed to play there,” Montoursville coach Bryan Pauling said. “We know he’s a strong player. We were just hoping that he would stay home and be comfortable in the middle and he’d be able to use his speed to recover if he got out of position. He did a very good job back there.”

Though it played stingy for most of the game and really buckled down after Loyalsock took a 2-0 lead, the Montoursville defense, like every other defense, didn’t have an answer for Albaugh. The senior is off to a blistering start this season, posting six goals in five games. He scored both his goals within a two minute span in the first half and showed off his vast array of moves on both of them.

“It’s funny because I actually had a conversation with him the other day. I didn’t think he had been playing with as much confidence as he can because I know how good of a player he is,” Scheller said. “I went back and looked at the stats and the first four games, he had scored four goals. Three of them were game-winners and one was a game-tying goal against Selinsgrove. He’s been a big-moment player for us this season and big players step up in big moments. Tonight, he took the game by the scruff of the neck and put us up two so there’s another game-winning goal for him. Right now, you can’t question what he’s done on the field, but today, you saw the confidence from him; taking guys one on one and putting the ball in the back of the net. He makes everyone around him better.”

Loyalsock 3, Montoursville 1

L — Connor Albaugh (UA), 15:11; L — Albaugh (UA), 17:10; M — Angelo Silvagni (Colin Gorini), 32:14; L — Matt Barone (free kick), 77:53.

Shots: L 10, M 1. Corners: L 3, M 2. Saves: L 0 (Caleb Albaugh); M 8 (Zach Baylor)

Records: Loyalsock (5-0); Montoursville (1-4).

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