Highlights of Palmrya boys soccer dropping a tough 1-0 loss at rival Hershey Thursday. Matt Catrillo/Lebanon Daily News
HERSHEY – Its record accurately indicates it’s been an up-and-down season. To date, the Palmyra Cougars boys soccer team endured a five-game winless streak after an emotional 2-1 win over inter-county rival Elco in the season opener. Then coming into Thursday’s game against rival Hershey, Palmyra was riding high on a two-game winning streak.
And as the halfway point of the season approaches, the Cougars were starting to feel everything come together.
There was no offense to be found Thursday, however, in a 1-0 loss to the Trojans at Hershey High School.
The lone goal came in the 61st minute off the foot of Chris Leonard, who cashed in off a rebound opportunity that looked to have gotten the help of a deflection.
“I think it was just the luck of the bounce,” said Cougars forward Sean Bordner, who recorded a shot on goal. “We had so many chances in and around the 18, and their shot hit off one of our players and in. But that’s how this game goes.”
The result comes despite Palmyra out shooting Hershey 5-4, as well as leading in corner kicks by the same count. It also dominated possession in the latter 10 to 15 minutes of the game.
“We re-did some of our formation and prepared very well for this game,” Cougars coach AJ Hull said. “But when we got some of those opportunities in the game, we weren’t able to cash in under pressure.”
Palmyra’s best chance came with two minutes to go on a direct kick just outside the 18 and to the far side of the net – but a weak finish was juggled and saved by Trojan goalkeeper Alex Morgret, who recorded five saves.
But a pretty big indication of the offensive inconsistency for the Cougars to this point is chemistry - which has been derailed by health.
Hull said, “I think right now it’s just looking at who we have and how can we move them around. We’ve been moving players around and just trying to get the chemistry. Fortunately enough, we got some players back from injury so we were able to get them back in.
“So it’s just trying to get familiar with each other again. There’s only so much you can do in training. It’s a whole different mindset with you get on the pitch. But we were on the same page for I’d say 95 percent of the game. For the five percent we weren’t, they got a lot of opportunities.”
And though it didn’t get them a win – let alone a ball in the back of the net – the Cougars can still feel the offense churning its way into the right direction when it will matter most.
“It is tough but you just have to put it behind you and focus on the next game. I definitely feel we’re heading in the right direction offensively,” Bordner said. “I think when we play Hershey at the end of the year, we’re going to win.”