Shaulis, Golden Eagles oust Hollidaysburg boys
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Thursday night was a special night for Tyrone Area High School senior soccer standout Owen Shaulis.
Tyrone won its first playoff game in Shaulis’ four-year career, advanced to the district championship game in doing so, and Shaulis had a lion-sized hand in the outcome.
Shaulis scored both Tyrone goals, including the game-winner with just 4:49 remaining, to lead the Golden Eagles to a 2-1 victory over Hollidaysburg in a District 6 Class 3A semifinal-round playoff matchup at Tiger Stadium.
The win moved third-seeded Tyrone (8-10) into Tuesday’s championship game against top-seeded Bellefonte at 7:30 p.m. on Bald Eagle Area High School’s Alumni Field.
Shaulis, a forward, was beaming in the aftermath, and he had a right to be.
“It feels great,” Shaulis said. “We had never won a playoff game in all four years I’ve been playing here, and now I’m going on to the District 6 championship game with my teammates and best friends.”
With the score tied, 1-1 and time winding down, Shaulis took a pass from sophomore midfielder Alex Taylor on the deep left wing. He moved in toward the goal and tucked a low 3-foot shot inside the near goalpost for the game-winner.
“My teammates were passing the ball well, and I got a good run,” Shaulis said. “I got a good ball (from Alex Taylor), and I was able to put it inside the near post.”
Tyrone coach Nick Miller said that Shaulis has been one of his team’s top players.
“Owen is an absolutely clutch player, and he certainly was tonight,” Miller said. “He’s definitely been a force in our offense all season. He leads the team in assists this year, but he’s scored some big goals for us in the last two weeks.”
None were bigger than the two that Shaulis scored Thursday.
After No. 2 Hollidaysburg opened the scoring on a breakaway goal by senior forward Grant Glass at the 7:09 mark of the first half, Shaulis evened the score at 1-1 nearly 10 minutes later. He scored out of a pile-up in front of the Hollidaysburg cage, depositing a loose ball in behind Hollidaysburg sophomore goalkeeper Evan Shale.
An inbounds pass by Taylor from the left sideline made its way to the crossbar before Shaulis put the ball into the cage on the rebound.
“The ball from Alex Taylor hit off the crossbar, bounced around a bit, and I was able to put it into the back of the net,” Shaulis said.
Tyrone junior goalkeeper Alex Roberts stopped all but one of Hollidaysburg’s 10 shots on goal in the game.
Hollidaysburg coach Craig Shale, whose team finished 9-10, felt that the Golden Tigers lacked intensity in the first half.
“We’ve started off slow most of the season, and we played scared in the first half for some reason tonight,” Shale said. “If we’d have played in the first half like we did in the second half, we’d have been OK. Hats off to Tyrone. They played well and they played tough.”
Hollidaysburg beat Tyrone, 4-0 during the regular season, but Shale was impressed by the Golden Eagles in the rematch.
“They were a totally different team this time,” Shale said. “They came to play.”
And because they did, Tyrone will get a chance to play again, in the district championship game on Tuesday.
“There was standout defensive play by both teams, but what won us this game tonight was that we just wanted it more,” Miller said. “That was the deciding factor. We have a lot of guys with no playoff experience who rose to the occasion tonight. This was such a good win.”
Bellefonte won two regular-season meetings with Tyrone, but Miller is optimistic heading into the district championship game.
“They beat us twice during the regular season, but it’s tough to beat a team three times in a season,” Miller said. “I think it’s going to be a good one.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Tyrone 1 1 — 2
Hollidaysburg 1 0 — 1
First half: 1, H–Glass (Roach), 7:09. 2, T–Shaulis (Alex Taylor), 16:42.
Second half: 3, T–Shaulis (Alex Taylor), 35:11.
Records: Tyrone (8-10); Hollidaysburg (9-10).