SHIPPENSBURG >> Heading into this week, Greencastle-Antrim's boys soccer team had been in a bit of a slumber offensively.
Through nine games, the Blue Devils hadn't scored three goals in a game and were averaging just 1.2 goals per game. That changed with three goals on Wednesday, and on Thursday night, Greencastle picked up right where it left off.
The Devils scored early and often at Veterans Stadium at Memorial Park, picking up a 5-1 Mid Penn Colonial Division victory over Shippensburg.
"We're just playing hard, and we're starting to score goals when we're supposed to," G-A coach Scott Gelsinger said. "Tonight, we just got rolling and took advantage of our opportunities."
The Devils (9-2, 7-1 MPC) were also helped by some sloppy defense by Shippensburg (6-7-1, 4-3-1 MPC).
In the 20th minute, Greencastle took a throw-in from about 40 yards out along the right side. A Shippensburg defender jumped up to contest the throw, and the ball skimmed off the top of his head right to Brandon Stuhler, and he attacked the near post and finished across the goal to take a 1-0 lead.
Shippensburg found life just two minutes later, though, when Chandler Olson passed to Matt West at the top of the 18, and he stung in a goal from about 20 yards out to tie the game.
But just a minute later, Austyn Smith got the ball in the left corner, sent a cross into the middle and Stuhler finished to quickly put Greencastle back up, 2-1. Greencastle added another goal by Ian Gelsinger on a corner kick from Josh Kline to take a 3-1 halftime lead.
Stuhler now has five goals in the last two games, giving him nine on the season.
"Coach just told us to go hard and fight for every ball," Stuhler said. "We're just going to continue to work hard and take advantage of the chances when we get them."
Greencastle continued to control the pace of play in the second half. Ten minutes in, the Devils capitalized on another error when Ship sent a slow pass back to the keeper. Spencer McKenna raced out and met a Greencastle player at the ball, but it deflected right to Christopher Bowman, who slid it into the back of the net.
"They just hustle to every ball, and that's what's working for them right now," Ship coach Warren Jones said. "They are a dangerous team, and a big part of their success is because they are always working."
With three minutes left, the Blue Devils capped off the scoring on another corner when Brandon Barnhart put away a header on a Kaleb Hurley pass.
"We're really starting to get in a rhythm on the offensive side," Gelsinger said, "and this is a real good time for us to start playing our best soccer."
Greencastle out-shot Shippensburg by a wide margin, 13-3, and the Greyhounds did not have a corner all game – the Devils had eight. Bryson Robinson needed just two saves in goal for Greencastle.
Greencastle 5, Shippensburg 1
First half — (GA) Brandon Stuhler, 18th minute, (S) Matt West, asst. Chandler Olson, 20th, (GA) Stuhler, asst. Austyn Smith, 21st, (GA) Ian Gelsinger, asst. Josh Kline, 38th
Second half — (GA) Christopher Bowman, 50th, (GA) Brandon Barnhart, asst. Kaleb Hurley
Shots — GA 13, Ship 3; Shots on goal — GA 8, Ship 3; Corner kicks — GA 8, Ship 0; Saves — GA 2 (Bryson Robinson), Ship 3 (Spencer McKenna 3, Brandon Crouse 0, Sterling Shetter 0).