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IMG_9762BY JEFF FALK

PALMYRA – In one way, ‘finishing’ was the best thing the Palmyra boys’ soccer team did all evening. In another way, finishing was the Cougars’ most serious area of concern.

What will be interesting to see is how Palmyra finishes the rest of the season.

On Monday night at In The Net Sports Complex, the Cougars out gunned Shippensburg 7-3 in a high-scoring non-league affair. After Palmyra opened a 3-0 advantage in the game’s initial 19:51, the Greyhounds scored on their first two shots of the second half, and three times during the second 40 minutes of action pulled to within two goals of the lead, on three different occasions.

IMG_9714Though the outcome was never in doubt, Palmyra certainly didn’t finish the game the way it started it.

Five different Cougars tickled the twines, including senior forward Sean Bordner, who recorded a hat trick. Colin Wise contributed a goal and an assist to the Cougar cause, while Jared Bowman and Jacob Plato added a pair of assists.

Palmyra certainly made efficient use of its 20 shots.

Palmyra, now 4-5-1 overall, is at the top of the stretch of what it hopes is a run to the District Three Class AAA postseason. The Cougars are currently situated 14th in the latest District Three Class AAA power rankings.

IMG_9698Shippensburg slipped to 2-9 on the year.

“It was like two different teams,” said Palmyra head coach Andrew Hull. “In the first half, we were phenomenal. I’d say we controlled 70 percent of the play. In the second half, we let up a little bit. What we got away from was purposeful balls and speed of play. But we still made a lot of plays. It’s also a mental thing. This game is 90 percent mental and ten percent physical. We thought we were going to keep a clean sheet and score more goals.

“I think it’s a big maturity thing,” continued Hull. “What I like about this team is grade doesn’t matter. We have freshmen playing alongside seniors. When a team is down 3-0 they’re desperate. Some guys did a nice job of handling that, but it’s got to be a collective effort.”

IMG_9691Palmyra scored on its first two shots of the game, and 1:19 in, on a collaboration between Bordner and Sam Sheils. In the middle of the box, Bordner chested Sheils’ feed to his feet and slid a right-footer inside the left post.

Less than three minutes later, the Cougars were at it again, courtesy of a short corner play between Wise and freshman Matt Hines. Wise dribbled baseline and slipped a cross to Hines, who one-timed the ball into the upper portion of the net.

Palmyra completed the outburst with 21:09 of the first half remaining when Plato played a ball into the goal mouth and a scramble ensued. With the Greyhound keeper down and off his mark, the Cougars did a good job of keeping the ball alive before Luke Higgins deposited it into the open net.

“I think a lot of that was the spirit of the night,” said Hull of the Cougars’ start. “We had a lot of senior leadership stepping up and leading the team. It had that cohesion. You kind of get some complacency because everything was clicking so well.

IMG_9667“The message at halftime was, ‘You can’t let up and this team is going to come at you with fire’,” added Hull. ” ‘You must take it to them. You can’t be complacent.’ Good teams that go on are teams that don’t let up. Whenever you play against teams on that side of the river, they come out with that mentality. We just got caught.”

Seven minutes into the second half, Bordner made it 4-1 Cougars by blasting a feed from Plato low into the Greyhound net. It was Wise’s goal which upped the Palmyra advantage to 5-2, as he dribbled into the middle of the field and then smashed a left-footer into the left portion of the net.

“I would say playing those dangerous balls, those can pressure a defense,” said Hull. “We had a lot of tools in our shed. We had a lot of weapons in our arsenal. A lot of it stems from running off the ball and communicating.



“I think we have some players who have a lot of potential,” Hull added. “We struggle at times. We take extra touches. It’s a huge mental thing.”

After Shippensburg had pulled to within 5-3 with 16:25 to go, Bowman assisted on both of the Cougars’ final two goals.

IMG_9677First, Nick Jelliff got a head on Bowman’s long direct kick to the top of the box. Then, Bordner completed his hat trick with his head, off a corner insert from Bowman.

“We’ve played well,” said Hull. “Some of those losses, if you analyze them, were by one goal. You always look at it for what it is and find those learning experiences. Moving the ball is one thing, but it’s not everything.

“We have eight games remaining after today, and the goal is to finish the season in the top eight in the district, that way we would get to host a district game,” Hull continued. “We want to finish in the top four in our division (Keystone of the Mid-Penn Conference). We want to finish well above .500 and leave no doubt.

“Games like this are good learning moments. What did we do well? What are we going to take from it? What do we got to do to get to the next level?”

 

 

 

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IMG_9683To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-11/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_97642016 Palmyra Boys’ Soccer Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
09/02
Elco
1:00 PM W 2-1
09/03
@Donegal
10:00 AM L 1-2
09/06 *
Lower Dauphin
6:30 PM L 1-6
09/08 *
CD East
4:00 PM T 3-3
09/10
Manheim Central
11:00 AM L 1-5
09/13 *
@Mechanicsburg
6:30 PM L 0-1
09/15 *
Mifflin County
6:30 PM W 2-0
09/20 *
Harrisburg
4:00 PM W 5-1
09/22 *
@Hershey
4:00 PM L 0-1
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
09/26
Shippensburg
6:30 PM Palmyra High School
09/27 *
@CD East
7:00 PM CD East High School
10/04 *
Mechanicsburg
6:30 PM Palmyra High School
10/06 *
@Mifflin County
4:15 PM Mifflin County High School
10/08 *
@Lower Dauphin
10:00 AM Lower Dauphin High School
10/10
Carlisle
6:30 PM Palmyra High School
10/11 *
@Harrisburg
4:00 PM Harrisburg High School
10/13 *
Hershey
6:30 PM Palmyra High School
10/15
@Bishop McDevitt
10:00 AM Bishop McDevitt High School

 

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Mid-Penn Conference Keystone Division Standings
TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Lower Dauphin 6-0 11-0
Mechanicsburg 6-1 9-2
Hershey 4-2 6-4
CD East 3-3-1 3-5-1
Palmyra 2-3-1 3-5-1
Mifflin County 0-6 1-8
Harrisburg 0-6 0-8

 

 

 

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PIAA District Three

 Class AAA Power Rankings

AAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP
1 Lower Dauphin 11- 0- 0  0.844912  1.000000  0.655360
2 Susquehannock 10- 0- 1  0.792730  0.970339  0.575652
3 Gettysburg 8- 1- 0  0.722116  0.903226  0.500760
4 Hershey 6- 4- 0  0.687957  0.711538  0.659136
5 Daniel Boone 6- 4- 0  0.664583  0.702128  0.618695
6 Susquehanna Township 8- 2- 0  0.662347  0.803922  0.489312
7 Fleetwood 7- 2- 1  0.640836  0.762626  0.491980
8 Greencastle Antrim 6- 4- 0  0.628222  0.666667  0.581233
9 Lampeter Strasburg 5- 5- 0  0.599636  0.602041  0.596697
10 West York 5- 4- 0  0.596773  0.626374  0.560595
11 Twin Valley 7- 4- 0  0.596506  0.696970  0.473717
12 Muhlenberg 5- 5- 0  0.585818  0.563830  0.612693
13 Dover 4- 3- 0  0.582188  0.619718  0.536317
14 Palmyra 3- 5- 1  0.561392  0.471591  0.671149
15 Bishop McDevitt 6- 4- 0  0.557593  0.588235  0.520142
16 Manheim Central 4- 5- 1  0.557016  0.538835  0.579238
17 Donegal 6- 3- 2  0.548544  0.633028  0.445287
18 Hamburg 5- 6- 0  0.525328  0.476636  0.584840
19 Cocalico 3- 5- 2  0.524041  0.500000  0.553424
20 Garden Spot 3- 6- 1  0.521460  0.457895  0.599151
21 Berks Catholic 7- 4- 0  0.498780  0.533981  0.455758
22 Northeastern 3- 6- 0  0.481524  0.432099  0.541932
23 West Perry 4- 6- 0  0.472428  0.396226  0.565563
24 Spring Grove 3- 7- 0  0.472366  0.383721  0.580710
25 Northern York 4- 7- 0  0.461082  0.407767  0.526244
26 Shippensburg 3- 7- 0  0.449492  0.364583  0.553269
27 York Suburban 2- 5- 0  0.436784  0.318841  0.580936
28 Red Land 1- 7- 0  0.401924  0.209677  0.636893
29 Big Spring 3- 7- 1  0.401021  0.297170  0.527950
30 Conrad Weiser 3- 8- 0  0.395928  0.252336  0.571429
31 Kennard Dale 1- 5- 1  0.393684  0.198529  0.632206
32 East Pennsboro 2- 8- 0  0.384560  0.215686  0.590960
33 James Buchanan 3- 8- 0  0.382863  0.257143  0.536520
34 Milton Hershey 2- 9- 0  0.350034  0.176991  0.561530
35 Northern Lebanon 2- 8- 0  0.323188  0.176471  0.502510

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