DuBOIS — Missed opportunities plagued the DuBois boys soccer team throughout its matchup with Altoona Wednesday night on the high school turf field, with the visiting Mountain Lions scoring twice in the second half to come away with a 2-0 victory.
DuBois controlled the action for the entire first half, with shots coming at a premium as DuBois held a 4-1 edge in that category through 40 minutes. The Beavers held Altoona to just one shot in the first 40 minutes, with keeper Shadi Hassan making a nice diving save with just under seven minutes left in the half to keep it a scoreless game.
The Beavers (8-5) had a handful of prime scoring chances in the game but they just couldn’t find the back of the net. The final outcome was basically decided on a similar shot by both teams and summed up the Beavers’ luck on the night.
DuBois’ Nolan Bussell slammed a shot off the crossbar in the eighth minute of the game. The shot bounced straight down and spun away from the goal line, allowing Altoona the opportunity to clear it out of harm’s way.
The Beavers also had a shot ring off the post in the second half, while Altoona keeper Brady Freiwald made a couple above-average saves on wide open DuBois shots to keep the Beavers off the board. Freiwald finished with five saves in the shutout.
Altoona netted the game-winning goal 15 minutes into the second half when Isaac Townsend had a near identical shot to Bussell’s first-half effort. Unfortunately for the Beavers, his shot bounced straight down off the crossbar and the spin carried it over the line and into the net to give the Mountain Lions a 1-0 lead.
Townsend’s goal proved to be the game-winner as the Lions swung the momentum in their favor over the final 30 minutes. Austin Kravetz added a second goal with 11:11 left to play to all but seal Altoona’s victory.
The victory completed a season sweep over the Beavers, as Altoona topped DuBois, 1-0, at home earlier this season.
“The first half was our better half. We were controlling the field and outplayed them, but it still wasn’t close to out full potential,” said Beavers coach Matt Erickson. “We were really playing down to them, and then in the second half we came out and I don’t know what happened. We played down even further, and Altoona stepped in up more. The second half we were just kind of absent on the field.
“We had a handful of good (scoring) opportunities today, we just couldn’t capitalize and put anything in the back of the net.”
Most of the first half was played between the 18-yard lines, with each team’s defense and midfield doing a nice job slowing down runs by the opposition.
While shots were hard to come by in the opening 40 minutes, DuBois had two good early chances. Nico McDonald made a nice play to steal an Altoona pass in the fourth minute and quickly fired a shot that sailed just over the Altoona net.
Bussell then had his near-miss just over four minutes later as the game remained scoreless.
DuBois nearly grabbed the lead in the 22nd minute, with Bussell again finding space behind the Mountain Lion defense. This time, Freiwald made a diving save to deflect a hard shot by Bussell out of play for a corner kick. The shot was the Beavers’ last real scoring threat in the opening half.
Altoona tried to make some noise in the final 15 minutes, but it also was turned away.
The Lions earned a direct kick on a foul call at the 26-minute mark, and a Lion played a long ball into the box to Alex Berardinelli, who appeared to have a little room to work. However, DuBois defender Robert Martini quickly hustled in and stole the ball from Berardinelli and cleared it away as the teams went to the break scoreless.
Bussell nearly put DuBois up in the opening minutes of the second half, as he stole a pass by Freiwald on the right side. But, Freiwald hustled out and made a kick save on Bussell on a one-on-one play.
DuBois kept the pressure on Freiwald in the first 10 minutes, but thje Altoona keeper was up the challenge. He stopped a shot by McDonald in the eight minute before Martini had a shot from the left side hit the right post.
After that miss, Altoona started to flip the field a little more and had more possession the rest of the way.
After Townsend’s goal put Altoona up, the Beavers had a couple chances to answer. Seth Braid and Bussell ran a nice give-and-go into the Lion box, but Braid couldn’t quite get to the return pass to redirect it home past Freiwald in the 59th minute.
DuBois earned a direct kick just out the Altoona box just past the 64th minute, but Bussell’s attempt was well over the Lion net. Bussell had another chance less than minute later, as McDonald whipped a cross into the box. Bussell got off a hard shot, but Freiwald made a sliding kick save to preserve the Lions’ 1-0 lead.
Kravetz netted his goal a couples minutes, and the Lions were able to finish off the victory.
DuBois is back in action Tuesday at Bradford.