CHAMBERSBURG >> There may have been no better way to break a scoring drought.
Heading into Saturday night's game against Carlisle, the Chambersburg boys soccer team hadn't scored a goal in 2 1/2 games, and as the first half was ticking down, the Trojans were approaching 250 game minutes without a score. But that all changed with one perfectly-executed set piece.
Chambersburg's offense broke through in a big way, and the defense posted its third straight shutout in a 3-0 Mid Penn Commonwealth Division win over the Thundering Herd at Trojan stadium.
In the 29th minute, Chambersburg (5-2-2, 4-2-2 MPC) was fouled in the middle of the field about 30 yards from the goal, and a trio of Trojans stood together for the free kick.
Inigo Salson Macias was first. He ran overtop the ball around the left side of the wall. Then John Ramirez pushed a pass to Nathan Maynard on the right side, and he sent a one-touch back pass to Macias, who was left unmarked, near the left post, and he touched it past the keeper to put the Chambersburg on the board.
"We've been working on that play for weeks, and we've gone over it so many times that it's like muscle memory," Chambersburg coach Corey Grove said. "At this level, set pieces are huge, and we executed it perfectly."
Said Ramirez, "It felt good to score on that, because we've been trying to get that down for a while, and it finally worked."
And once the first goal went in, more started to follow.
In the 50th minute off a corner kick, Ramirez came down with the ball at the top of the 18 and fired a shot. It was deflected, but Rafael Bonilla Rivera secured the deflection, took a touch to his right and fired a shot from right outside the box passed the keeper for a 2-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, Rivera got free down the left sideline on a deep pass, warded off a defender as he attacked the near post and finished right in front of the goal to push the advantage to three.
"You always want to help the team, and when you're scoring goals, you know you're doing that," Bonilla Rivera said. "I was able get the ball in space and get some goals to help the team."
From there, the defense, along with plenty of possession by the Trojans, held the lead. Goalkeeper Chandler Schur, who finished with six saves in the shutout, made three 1-on-1 saves in the game, and the Herd managed just two shots on goal in the second half.
"That's now three shutouts against three good teams," Grove said. "I tell the guys that if we shut the other team out, the worst we can do is tie. Chandler came up with some big saves."
Carlisle (5-4, 4-3 MPC) out-shot the Trojans 16-13 but didn't create many chances outside of a couple of breakaways.
"We knew they were going to come at us, because of the way our game with them ended last week," Herd coach Brandon Eiserman said. "I thought we handled their pressure well, but we just gave up some goals on set pieces, which hurt us."
NOTES >> Chambersburg's win avenges a 4-3 loss to Carlisle last Saturday, which the Herd won in the final minute of the game ... The Trojans' only other loss in the division was to Central Dauphin (4-3 in double overtime), and they will get another shot at the Rams on Tuesday.
Chambersburg 3, Carlisle 0
First half — (C) Inigo Salson Macias, asst. John Ramirez and Nathaniel Maynard, 29th minute.
Second half — (C) Rafael Bonilla Rivera, 50th, (C) Bonilla Rivera, 60th.
Shots — Car 16, Chbg 13; Shots on goal — Car 6, Chbg 9; Corner kicks — Car 5, Chbg 2; Saves — Car 6 (Jared Pavlovich), Chbg 6 (Chandler Schur).