Clarion River Valley Strikers U15 Team Defeats Previously Undefeated Meadville (Posted 10/12/20)
(Article and images by Matt Lerch) Above: Thomas Uckert
The Clarion River Valley Strikers U15 squad hosted Meadville, on a brisk fall afternoon at Clarion County Park, extending their winning record to 4-1 this fall 2020 season. With 2 more home games left and the last game of the season to be held in Warren against Kinzua, Clarion Coach Matt Uckert has his team gelling at the correct time.
Undefeated Meadville showed up with a deeper bench, taller players and optimism that the stat sheet should work in their favor, taking on Clarion’s Strikers squad. With only 20 seconds expiring off the clock, right wing Thomas Uckert hastily brought the ball down the right side of the field and shot on the Meadville goalie. The ball had enough heat that the goalie was unable to maintain control and an advancing Wyatt Boyden successfully picked up the rebound with his right foot into the back of the net for a quick 1-0 Clarion lead. Thalen Allison soon after took a feed from Quinn O’Neill taking a shot on goal only to be stopped by the nimble goaltender.
Working hard to even the score, Meadville’s midfielders gummed up the midfield finding their forwards to take shots on Clarion’s goalie Logan Bish, who saved 7 shots on goal in the first half. Defender Emilie Best switched the field, finding fellow defender Noah Baumcratz on the right side. Baumcratz carried the ball up the sideline and found right wing Isaac Lerch, who sped down the sideline with two defenders in pursuit and quickly got off a side shot on goal with another rebound opportunity, but to no avail. The opportunity faded as the goalie eventually pounced on the ball.
Still in the first half, Allison drew a foul as he was decked from behind. Coach Uckert chose Kaden Baumcratz who just missed wide right on his penalty kick. Both teams attempted to score for the rest of the half, but the Strikers carried the score 1-0 into halftime.
Reminiscent of the first half, there was a score in the opening minutes. This time Meadville struck with a pinballing ball in front of the Clarion goal, eventually finding the back of the goal making the score 1-1. Carter Brown was fed a pass by midfielder Ky Clark who crossed the ball to an awaiting Leyton Dunn, only to have the ball kicked out of bounds for a corner kick by Uckert. Uckert’s kick flew over the initial defense to an awaiting O’Neil who attempted a header into the goal but couldn’t convert. Meadville, on their counterstrike, was met with the stout defense again of Gwyn Manno and Jill Winters.
JJ Wilson made several attempts to penetrate the Meadville defense, facing massive amounts of physicality and successfully making several crosses but no successful goal. With less than 5 minutes left, the Strikers were lucky enough when Lerch kicked the ball into another Meadville player making an accidental but costly handball penalty.
Coach Uckert chose the most unorthodox method of shooting on goal with a penalty kick, by bringing up his goalie Logan Bish to take the shot. Bish didn’t disappoint with a slider on the ground to the right of the goalie making the game 2-1 Strikers with several minutes left.
Meadville still had a chance and the will to try to even it out. With multiple attacks, the Meadville team pushed up their defense to midfield in support of their offense pounding the Strikers with multiple shots. The whistle was blown and Clarion had won their fourth game out of five. Bish saved 9 shots on goal in the second half.
The Strikers return to action at home at the Clarion County Park next Sunday (October 18th) at 1:00 against Erie.
(Thanks to Matt Lerch for this article and images. Way to go, Strikers!!!!)