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Jersey Shore boys soccer falls to South Williamsport on the road, 3-0

EVAN WHEATON/For The Express South Williamsport’s Ben Manning battles for the ball against Jersey Shore during Monday afternoon’s game. The Mounties beat the Bulldogs, 3-0.

Up one goal with just two minutes to play, it couldn’t hurt to have some insurance. Hayden Swinehart did that and more for South Williamsport boys soccer on Monday.

Having already found the net once, the sophomore midfielder was fed a pass from Ben Manning and buried a shot to the left corner of the net on a breakaway.

It wasn’t enough cushion. The Mounties were hungry for more.

Swinehart ran it back off a good look from Ethan Kuria and banged in his third goal of the day with 25 seconds remaining to solidify a 3-0 win over Jersey Shore (2-6) at South Williamsport Park.

“Well, obviously they have a really solid back line,” Swinehart said on the Bulldogs’ defensive front. “The whole game, they were right with us and down a goal with only a couple minutes left, they have to send some more attackers up to get back into the game. That leaves them vulnerable in the back, and I think we did a good job of capitalizing on that.”

EVAN WHEATON/For The Express South Williamsport’s Gabe Harvey chases after a ball during Monday afternoon’s game against Jersey Shore. The Mounties won, 3-0.

South Williamsport (5-0) has now shut out four of its five opponents so far this season and has only let up one goal from Wellsboro. The Mounties’ back line has been a force for opposing offenses to reckon with, and it’s been the strong suit for a team that’s moving right through the motions of District 4.

For South Williamsport, that defensive prowess has been a long time coming.

“Our defense I think has developed into our strength this year,” Mounties coach Chris Vanaskie said. “It took a while, took a few years, but these guys playing for so long together, they’re really showing their familiarness with each other. They don’t allow many opportunities to the opponents. When you can do that, you get these shutouts. It’s fun to see.”

While Jersey Shore played solid defense itself for the majority of the game, South Williamsport got on the board with just under 10 minutes before the half. Sophomore forward Kayvan Shams sent Swinehart a long pass to inside the box, and the latter cut around his defender and rifled a shot on goal.

Bulldogs goalie Gage Thomas (one save) dove and made contact with the ball, but it fell and hit just the right bounce to roll in and give the Mounties a permanent lead.

EVAN WHEATON/For The Express South Williamsport’s Caleb Jackson and Jersey Shore’s Connor Cornelius play during Monday afternoon’s soccer game.

“It’s always good to get up early. I couldn’t have asked for more from my teammates in the middle, really controlling it in the middle there,” Swinehart said. “They had the pressure on, that was a mistake in the back, and I just tried to capitalize on it and it worked out.”

For the rest of the contest before Swinehart’s offensive burst in the final two minutes, both back lines held firm. South Williamsport had seven shots on goal, while Jersey Shore took just two, Brock Weaver coming up with a pair of saves between the pipes for the Mounties.

The Bulldogs had their best chance of the day midway through the first frame when junior forward Peyton Welshans had a great look along the flank with no one around him for several feet, though Weaver narrowly beat him in a footrace to the ball from the net.

It wasn’t just Jersey Shore’s back line that limited the Mounties’ offense. Cameron Fishel stepped into the net for the second half and was faced with a penalty kick from Swinehart eight minutes into the frame.

Swinehart delivered a strike to the left corner, but Fishel (four saves) made a diving block to keep Jersey Shore within range.

“We knew they were going to be a really tough opponent and defensively, they were outstanding,” Vanaskie said. “We stole two at the very end, but it was as even a game as could be.”

SW–Hayden Swinehart (Kayvan Shams), 30:47. SW–Swinehart (Ben Manning), 78:18. SW–Swinehart (Ethan Kuriga), 79:35.

Shots: SW 7, JS 2. Corners: SW 7, JS 5. Saves: SW 2, (Brock Weaver), JS 5 (Gage Thomas 1, Cameron Fishel 4).

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