CRVS Has Great Start To 2016 Spring Season (04/23/16)

The Clarion River Valley Strikers had a fine start to the 2016 Spring Soccer Season. Matt Lerch and Mindi Verdille provide these accounts:

Clarion River Valley Strikers U12 Girls Win with Shutout in Season Opener (By Matt Lerch)

The Clarion River Valley Strikers U12 Girls started the Spring 2016 season with a shutout at Shenango Valley and scored eight goals for emphasis.

With temperatures in the low 80’s, the Strikers were disadvantaged from the beginning with only one substitute on the bench.  The heat played a factor but the Clarion team persevered through the difficult conditions, especially when the opposing team substituted in fresh legs for the whole team.

New Head Coach Kevin Griffin stated, “the girls passed the ball to perfection, the defense was extremely solid and the goaltenders did everything you could ask of them.”  With seven games left, Griffin now knows how this seasoned group of girls can operate and the deck of cards he’s been given…..and the girls responded.  Coach Griffin’s past includes many sports, soccer being one of them, playing on many of Eastern Pennsylvania’s elite soccer squads.  He is currently a Junior at Clarion University.

The scoring in the first half of the game began with right wing Liv Weckerly taking a pass from Parker Boyden to start the scoring for the season.  Part of the twin sister combo, the Pack Attack, Reagan Pack scored the second goal again, with an assist from Boyden and also Joyce Kim.  The first half saw 3 shots on goaltender Evelyn Lerch, one of which was bobbled but then safely secured by Lerch after a pinball effect in the crease.

Then, a new offensive star showed her true colors.  Defender Anna Gribik, who normally secures the left side of the tightly wound defense, was moved up by Coach Griffin to right wing where she zipped by two defenders and scored unassisted.  Gribik then scored a second time, this rush starting from a beautiful steal of the ball midfield by Shawna Pack who brought the mail up the right sideline seeing midfielder Korrin Burns who crossed back to Gribik who then found the back of the net.  It was only halftime…. and Clarion was clearly dominating.

The heat was becoming a factor, but that didn’t deter Reagan Pack from making her second score of the day with a booming assist from center defender Riley Burford.  Shawna Pack had assumed goaltending duties and Lerch found herself on the right wing with very fresh legs.  Lerch took a pass wide from Burns, turned on the after burners and buried the ball past the Shenango keeper.

Determined center midfielder Burns was not going to go the whole day without a goal.  Burns took a pass from Lerch and she took the ball and shot the ball from the 18, easily beating the goaltender on the weak side.  Weckerly then made an assist to forward Joyce Kim who split the defense and shot the eighth and final goal of the day.  Shawna Pack had more saves than Lerch, tallying 8 saves during the second half, one of which was against the post at the last second.

With the shutout preserved, the Strikers found new energy from their passing game as this elevated the play of the whole team.  Though the grass was high, the passing was impeccable with many of the opposing offense unable to capitalize on their own strengths.  Coach Griffin now has Grove City on his sights awaiting to take the Clarion win to the Grove City soccer pitch, tomorrow (Sunday, April 24th).

U12 Strikers Travel to Cranberry for First Win of the Season (By Mindi Verdille)

After being “snowed out,” last weekend, the U12 Strikers coed team traveled to Cranberry High School to meet up with Oil Region. The team picked up where they left off last fall! They came out strong on the first whistle with some amazing passing and teamwork.

The first goal of the game came off the toe of Bailee Verdill from a corner kick. The Strikers kept the pressure on ORSA when the second goal was scored off a pass from Lexi Coull to Bailee Verdill.

The Striker defense of Keagan Phillips, Charlie Franchino, Kaleb Wolbert and Bailey Snowberger did an amazing job of keeping the ball off of their half of the field and allowing goalie Tyler Bingham only a handful of chances to make some saves. Max Southworth had a couple of breakaway chances, but was unable to connect with the back of the net.

The Striker’s third goal was made by Lexi Coull after she used her body to stop a shot by the Oil City team. The score going into halftime was 3-0, Strikers.

Coach Ben kept the momentum up in the second half with the team continuing their great passing. Nate Megnin scored the 4th goal off of a give and go from Verdill to Southworth to Verdill and then to Megnin. The defensive line up continued to keep the ball out of their own territory and to keep the pressure on ORSA. Keagan Phillips and Riley Milliron had a couple of good runs, but were unable to score.

Bailee Verdill had his third goal of the game to give the Strikers a 5-0 lead.

Coach Ben made some line changes to give some of the defensive players some time up front. Nate Megnin had a beautiful cross that Brett English was able to get past the goalie to make it a score of 6-0.

Goalie Tyler Bingham was able to get out of his usual role and get to the front line as Brett English filled in for goalie.

The Strikers final goal of the game came from a cross pass from Nate Megnin to Charlie Franchino who was able to boot it in. The final score of the game Stirkers 7 ORSA 0.

The U12 Coed Team will play at Home at the Clarion County Park, tomorrow (Sunday, April 24th ) at 1:00.

U14 Strikers get First Win of Season (By Mindi Verdille)

The U14 Striker started their season off with a close game against Oil Region. After being snowed out the previous Sunday, the U14 team traveled to Oil City High School to meet up with the Oil City Region team. It was a hard fought game that included some great passing from Coach Thomas’s Striker Team.

The first goal came from Striker Owen Kerle to make the score 1-0.

There was a lot of back and forth, from one end of the turf to the other, but the Strikers were clearly doing a great job of passing. The second goal came from guest player Bailee Verdill to make the score 2-0, Strikers.

Oil City was able to strike back and get one in, to make the score 2-1 going into halftime. The second half of the game was a volley from one end of the turf to the other. Striker goalie Chance Buzard had some great saves. It was a cross pass from Beau Verdill to Brody Coleman, who earned the next goal to make the score 3-1.

ORSA was able to score right before the final whistle to make the final score 3-2.

Coach Thomas was very pleased with the way his team passed the ball and switched the field over and over again.

The U14 Team will be playing two games this weekend at the Clarion County Park. A makeup game against Titusville will played today (Saturday, April 23rd), at 3:00 and the second game will be tomorrow (Sunday, April 24th), at 3:30 against MSA.

U14 Players: Beau Verdill, Trinity Thompson, Ryker Bingham,  Jordan Thompson, Koby Buzard, Austin Coull, Ali Clark, Owen Kerle, Jenna Miller, Max Thompson, Lucas Baker, Brody Coleman, Donald Cunningham, Chance Buzard, Wyatt Stimmell, Coach: Thomas Hummel.

(Thanks to Matt Lerch and Mindi Verdille for the articles. Great start, Strikers!!!!)