BROCKWAY, Pa. – Graham Lott’s goal at the 15-minute mark set the tone for second-seeded Punxsutawney’s 3-0 victory over top-seeded Karns City in the District 9 Class 2A Championship game at Varischetti Field in Brockway Wednesday night.
(Punxsutawney celebrates winning the 2019 District 9 title. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
“It means a lot,” Punxsutawney head coach Eric Eddy said. “We’ve coached these guys since they were eight years old. We’ve kept this team together. There’s been a lot of naysayers along the way and these guys tonight proved they can play solid soccer against good teams.”
Lott got the Chucks on the board with a nice individual effort that saw him dribble through a pair of Gremlin defenders and get a shot on goalkeeper Nate Boyden. Boyden made the first initial save, however, he gave up a rebound that Lott found and chipped in to give the Chucks the early 1-0 lead.
“One hundred percent,” Punxsutawney freshman Ethan Presolid said when asked if the goal set the tone for the game. “After we scored the goal we had momentum rolling the rest of the game for our offense.”
Punxsutawney midfielder Garrett Eddy agreed that the first goal was important.
“Once we score the first goal, we can usually capitalize on other teams,” Garrett Eddy said.
Vincent Gigliotti extended the Chucks lead to 2-0 right before halftime with a free kick that was perfectly shot in the top-right corner just out of reach of Boyden’s hand.
Gigliotti also set up the final goal for the Chucks in the second half.
Driving from the left side with a defender on him, Gigliotti made a nice chip-pass that went over Boyden where Zach Reitz easily finished the play to give the Chucks a 3-0 with 25 minutes left in the game.
Trailing 3-0, the Gremlins weren’t able to generate much offense in the later stage of the game, as the Chucks kept up the pressure by continuing to get shots on goal.
“The offense played really solid,” Eric Eddy said. “Tonight we kept that solid pressure. We got that first goal and that kept them from packing the box. From there, we were able to open up and keep our offense going.”
The Chucks outshot the Gremlins, 14-8 and goalkeeper Jacob Ebel earned the shutout behind a strong defensive effort.
“I would say it’s strong,” Andrew Young said of Punxsutawney’s defense. “Nobody is getting past our defense.”
Presloid said communication is the key.
“We’re good at talking,” Presloid said. “Filling in where people are getting burnt or need help.”
Watch all the postgame thoughts from Presloid, Young and Garrett Eddy.
Punxsutawney earned its first title since 2011 and will take on the District 5 champion on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at a site and time to be announced. The District 5 championship game is being played between Everett and Somerset in Windber Thursday, Oct. 31.