Wellsboro rolls past Southern Columbia.

By: The Review | Towanda Daily Review | October 29, 2017

 

BALLS MILLS — Southern Columbia found out in the early going why Wellsboro was so highly seeded in the District Four, Class A boys' soccer tournament.

The Hornets (17-1-1) scored three goals in the first 22 minutes, then banged another in less than two minutes after the Tigers scored and went on to a 4-1 win over Southern (9-10) Saturday at the Balls Mills Soccer Complex.

Brett Rudy had a goal and assist in less than 15 minutes as the Hornets put offensive pressure on Southern goalkeeper Ethan Dunkelberger and his defensive teammates.

"I tell the boys to put pressure on the other team by trying to score the first goal, and if you can get a two-goal lead, you really start to make the other team chase," said Wellsboro coach John Shaffer. "The first goal was big."

Rudy scored at the 6:31 mark with an unassisted run, then had an assist on a goal by Kaeden Mann — who put the ball in from the right corner of the goal — at 14:07.

The Hornets kept up the pressure and Tanner Runyan scored an unassisted goal at the 21:18 mark.

Southern's Gordon English answered that one less than two minutes later, but Wellsboro got another goal of its own within two minutes when Johnny Rowland scored off an assist from Gabe Leach.

"We always talk about how goals within five minutes of an opponent's goal are important because it takes their momentum away," Shaffer said. "I thought we really played hard in the first half."

"They are a very skilled, athletic team and well coached with a nice system," Southern head coach Dave Hall said. "They really got to us in the first 15 minutes."

There was no scoring in the second half as the game became more physical. Southern had a couple chances to cut into the lead but couldn't.

"There was definitely a difference in style of play," Hall said. "They became a little more possession oriented."

"The game was getting physical and we were aware about cards and wanted to avoid them, so we didn't go as hard after 50-50 challenges and cut out really pressuring hard," Shaffer said. "We made a few more passes."

Shaffer said he is looking forward to playing Benton in the next round.

"They are a good team and I told the boys we can't afford to take anyone lightly. If we play our game, I think we can play for a district championship."

Despite the loss, Hall was pleased with his team's season.

"We started out so slow, that winning nine of our last 12 games just to get here was an achievement," he said. "We're young and have almost everyone back. It was nice to be back in the playoffs after a year off and I'm looking forward to the next couple of seasons."