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Hoping for the best in a weird season

PHOTO PROVIDED Sullivan County’s Chloe Burke holds some balloons after scoring her 50th career goal. Burke is one of two active players for the Griffins with 50 career goals.

Around the area Saturday boys and girls soccer games were being played and it was great to see. In that sense, it was no different than your average September weekend each fall. But as we all know 2020 has been anything but normal.

We all hope this fall season gets to be played to its conclusion with postseason tournaments. The players, coaches and fans all want to see that happen.

But with the coronavirus pandemic, we have to remember nothing is guaranteed. In previous yours, you could pencil in the District 4 semifinals and finals for late October. Whether or not we get to that point this year, who knows?

For some players, just playing a game Saturday was something they didn’t think would happen.

“I never expected that I would experience playing soccer during a pandemic,” Sullivan County’s Chloe Burke said. “It means a lot to me to be able to play the sport I love, even if this season is far from normal.”

Let’s be thankful and grateful for whatever this fall season does give us. It could come to a screeching halt at any time this fall. That’s why it isn’t at all uncommon to see teams in the area doing senior day festivities in the first home game they have.

Lets hope the season goes uninterrupted and just be thankful for any and all games the players get to play.

50-GOAL CLUB

Burke had a solid day against Mid-Penn opponent CMVT, scoring four goals and becoming the latest Griffin to join the 50-goal club. She’s one of two 50-goal scorers currently on the Griffins, joining teammate Bethany Beinlich.

“It is a huge accomplishment for me to get my 50th goal. Over the years I have worked to become a talented player and I feel like the 50th only shows a little of the player I am,” Burke said. “Through my setbacks, including an ACL tear in eighth grade and a meniscus tear last year, I believe I have become a better player and getting my 50th goal is one measurement of that.”

Knowing that she was closing in on 50 career goals was something Burke had in the back of her mind as the game started. She admitted that she missed a few easy shots at the beginning of the game against CMVT.

“It was something that I stressed over too much and it threw me off as a player,” Burke said. “Now I can focus on the rest of the season ahead.”

A WALL IN GOAL

Jersey Shore’s Logan Bailey did everything he could against one of the district’s consistently strong programs in Midd-West on Saturday. Bailey routinely came up with huge saves and blocks to keep the game scoreless. The Bulldogs didn’t win — they ended in an exciting double overtime scoreless tie — but what Bailey did in goal was about more than wins and losses.

Bailey recorded 13 saves, many of which could have made a highlight reel against the Mustangs.

“Logan Bailey had an outstanding game against Midd-West. He has incredible soccer awareness and possesses the ability to maintain his composure in any situation,” Jersey Shore coach Mitch Cornelius said. “His calm, determined, single-minded focus is an inspiration to his teammates. I have coached Logan for many years in travel, he is the type of player every coach dreams of having: polite, well-respected and one heck of a soccer player.”

Bailey is entering his senior season with the Bulldogs (1-0-1) and that type of performance will only help instill confidence in his teammates as the season starts. The standout goalie leads by example on the field and opened the season with back-to-back shutouts, including a 2-0 win over Mifflinburg.

“Logan is a quiet leader. He may not be the loudest player on the field, but actions speak louder than words, and his action in the net is second to none,” Cornelius said. “A two-game shutout is a solid start to what we hope is a great season. Logan is not only a great goalie, he is a positive role model for our younger players.”

A STRONG SENIOR YEAR

Central Mountain goalie Cy Probst couldn’t do anything but sit and watch last year as an injury prevented him from being in goal with the Wildcats as a junior. After the season ended, Probst hoped he’d be back this fall in goal and playing.

Probst played well in his second game of the year against a very strong Williamsport team, and while the Wildcats lost Tuesday, 3-1, Probst showcased what he brings to the team.

“He’s come back looking pretty good. He’s really motivated to improve,” Central Mountain coach Billy Hook said. “He wanted to have one last season before focusing on baseball. He said he wanted to be the best he can be. He’s definitely improved a lot.”

Probst came up with some solid stops in Tuesday’s loss to prevent Williamsport from further increasing its lead.

In the second half, Williamsport’s Owen Kaar tried to sneak a shot inside the left post from outside the 6-yard box. That’s when Probst dove and got his fingers on it, deflecting it out of bound. It was just one example of what Probst can do in goal.

BOYS PLAYER

OF THE WEEK

Logan Bailey,

Jersey Shore

Bailey helped secure a 2-0 win against Mifflinburg on Saturday in the Midd-West Tournament before recording an impressive 13 saves in a double overtime scoreless draw with perennial power Midd-West. That type of performance, especially against a district title contender like the Mustangs, will give the Bulldogs a ton of confidence.

GIRLS PLAYER

OF THE WEEK

Piper Minier,

South Williamsport

Minier was clutch for the Mounties in a 2-1 win against Millville on Tuesday. Millville tied the game early in the second half. And with 10 minutes remaining, Minier scored again to put the Mounties ahead.

Jon Gerardi covers high school soccer for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached at 570-326-1551 (ext. 3127) or by email at jgerardi@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonGerardi.

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