Long goal sparks Bedford girls to title
Thanks to one of the most unlikely goals you’ll ever see, the Bedford girls reign as the District 6 Class 2A soccer champions today.
Junior defender Emily Martz drilled a shot from beyond midfield less than 30 seconds into the second half, sparking Bedford to a 3-2 victory over Juniata in the title game Thursday night at Mansion Park.
After Juniata scored two quick goals and held a 2-0 lead at halftime, Bedford needed a shot in the arm to swing moment.
The Lady Bisons got that shot from Martz, who got the ball near midfield and ripped a laser that bounced over the head of Juniata keeper Mahala Laub into the back of the net.
“I was shocked when I saw it go in,” Martz said. “I didn’t know I could kick it that far. To be honest, I think the wind helped it.
“I’m just glad it went in and I could help the team.”
It was only the third goal of the season for Martz, who plays defense most of the time and doesn’t get many scoring chances.
“We were feeling really down (at halftime),” Martz said. “I was just hoping that someone would start it for us and it just happened that it was me.
“I’m really happy we got our act together and started playing like a team again,” she said. “Our team is a family and we play best when we play together.”
Martz’s goal made the score 2-1 and jumpstarted the Lady Bisons to a great second half and comeback win.
“It absolutely shifted the momentum,” Juniata coach Brian Strawser said.
Bedford coach Jeff Thomas agreed.
“It was a pretty good shot,” Thomas said, laughing. “It was over the 50-yard mark. I’ve seen a few goals that far. When I was coaching the boys, we had a guy hit one that far, maybe a little farther, but it was more from the side.”
Bedford’s Allison Pittman, with an assist from Lydia Grimes, tied the score at 2-all from 10 yards out at the 31:06 mark. Pittman broke the tie and provided the game-winning goal when she scored off a Megan Oyler assist with 26:36 remaining.
Juniata took a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Josie Swartz and Sydney Sheaffer, but Bedford adjusted its defense and dominated the second half.
“We started winning the ball more and possessing it,” Thomas said, “and the goals started going in for us.”
“We have not liked halftimes all year,” Strawser said of Juniata’s disappointing second half. “We’ve had so many games this year where we played well the first half and came out the second half with very little energy.”
The Lady Indians had a couple of good scoring opportunities late, but couldn’t cash in. Swartz banged one off the left post with 22 minutes left and the Indians also missed a direct kick with three minutes to go.
It was the first district soccer championship for the Bedford girls, who also are unbeaten at 21-0.
“This is our first district title, that’s why we were all crying and carrying on,” Martz said. “Everyone said we couldn’t do it, but I knew we could.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Juniata 2 0 — 2
Bedford 0 3 — 3
First half: J–Swartz (unassisted), 36:40; J–Sheaffer (unassisted), 26:26.
Second half: B–Martz (unassisted), 39:27; B–Pittman (Grimes), 31:06; Pittman (Oyler), 26:37.
Records: Juniata (15-8-1); Bedford (21-0).