PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” At any level, scoring seven goals in a soccer match is a rarity.
It's a strategic game in which not a lot of goals are generally scored.
So, when Punxsy walked off the field with a 7-0 victory against Curwensville, everyone had to be satisfied, no?
"No. I pulled all of the starters out in the first half because they were playing flat," head coach Phil Shenkle said. "They had no life. I yanked them all out and put in several subs and junior varsity players. We have to be able to start a game with passion, and they haven't been able to do that yet."
It wasn't that he didn't have faith that his guys could rebound. Shenkle had an ulterior motive behind it.
"It was a motivator to make them mad that they weren't in the game," Shenkle said. "Let them realize that what they're doing is not acceptable to be playing at the level they were playing at."
Ah, the old pull-a-player-to-get-him-fired-up trick.
From the headline, it seemed as if the strategy worked.
It worked so well, in fact, that Punxsy went on to score four goals in the next seven minutes to lead Curwensville 5-0 at the half.
"They went back in, they scored quite a few goals in that span," Shenkle said. "It showed a little bit of life. They started to really get after it and hustle."
In the second half, the Chucks kept up the pace, adding two more goals to push the lead to 7-0.
"When they went back out, it was a lot of team play," Shenkle said. "Everyone was moving together, and they realized that they have to do this as a team or they'll end up on the bench where no one wants to be."
Shenkle said he was so impressed with the junior varsity's play in the first half that he left them in longer than he anticipated.
"It's great experience for the younger guys to get some game action," Shenkle said. "Quite frankly, I left them in longer in the first half because they were playing pretty well. I said as long as the game isn't getting out of hand, then let's keep playing."
With about 20 minutes left in the game, Shenkle once again pulled his starters, but this time, it wasn't because of the quality of play.
"The young guys were out there playing with passion," Shenkle said. "Maybe not as much experience, but they definitely had the passion. I figured I'd let them teach the varsity."
The varsity didn't complain about it, though.
In the second half, the Chucks could be heard on the sidelines coaching up their teammates.
"You want them to do that. They know they're still part of the game, and they wanted to show me they were still part of the game," Shenkle said. "They wanted to help the guys out and coach from the sidelines. It's what you expect from a group of seniors."
Leading the way for the Chucks was Tanner Evans with three goals, including one off a penalty kick.
Kevin Hughes and Nate O'Brien each tallied two goals.
The Chucks take the field next against DuBois Central Catholic on Thursday.View more articles in: