Ligonier boys soccer celebrates senior night
The Ligonier Valley boys soccer team honored the nine seniors for their years of dedication to the team at the final game of the season. These seniors include defenseman Jake Nemeth, goalkeeper Jacob Fitz, midfielders Josh Gruendling and Carlos Chavez, striker Tony Thomas, as well as replacements Anthony Gallucci, Chris Layden, Isaac Deemer and Devon Martin.
When asked what this group of seniors brought to the team, coach Kip Crumrine said they strengthened the camaraderie throughout the team, making it a much more tight-knit squad.
“They have been an awesome group of guys,” Crumrine commented. “Not only have they been a lot of fun on the field, in practice, and games as a team, but I think they've been really good sports in all the games we have played. I have just been really proud of them. You could tell we had a blast together. We took our lumps this year but we had a lot of fun doing it. There were moments where they had more fun than I did.”
After the ceremony, the Rams took on conference rival United, winning 8-3 in a flurry of offense. Chavez scored the first goal 10 minutes in, planting a corner kick that snuck through the defense firmly into the back of the net. In the 17th minute, Chris Huber jumped to head in the second goal of the game and took a blow to the head for his efforts. Huber came out of the game and did not return.
United snapped the shutout in the 21st minute. Finding themselves in a two-on-one situation with a Ligonier defender, the Lions were able to make an easy pass play for a tap-in goal. However, J.T. Pritts once again put the Rams up by two in the 32nd minute, shooting a rebound into the goal and giving Ligonier a 3-1 lead going into halftime.
Four minutes into the half, Pritts found himself on the receiving end of a Nemeth cross and scored his second goal of the game. United fought back to within one, scoring two goals in the 45th and 46th minutes, including a penalty shot given when Deemer fouled a player in the box.
This was as close as United came to leveling the score, as the Rams scored four more unanswered. The first came in the 62nd minute. Zack Homyak beat two defenders, carrying the ball along the left side. He chipped the ball back into the middle from the byline, where Ethan Brown volleyed the ball into the goal. Four minutes later a long chip from Nemeth went over the defenders' heads, springing Homyak for a break and the sixth goal of the game.
In the final minutes of the game, Ligonier added the finishing touch with two goals, both scored by Sean Johnson. The first came when Deemer carried to the byline, crossing the ball to find Nemeth's head. The header did not have the pace to make it to the net, until the ball found Johnson's foot. Nemeth and Johnson hooked up again for an 80th-minute goal. Nemeth crossed the ball low and hard, and Johnson was able to leap up and volley the ball into the goal with the back of his foot.
“It was great to get to play everybody,” Crumrine noted. “We got every single guy in and that was a good ending. We had some of our key starters score some goals and pay very well and we had some guys that were looking to be starters next year do really well. Sean getting two goals at the end there was awesome. He has been a key sub for us all year and will be a senior next year and we are looking forward to that.”
Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.