By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
HAMBURG -- Tulpehocken came into Tuesday night's PIAA first-round matchup against East Juniata with a reputation for possessing a stingy defense and the Trojans performance did nothing to tarnish the District 11 champions' résumé.
East Juniata did managed to get some shots off on a goal, but a missed mark on defense allowed Kailee Ziegler to find a wide open Victoria Stump, who knocked in the easy shot less than four minutes into the match for the only score in Tulpehocken's 1-0 victory at Hamburg.
"Their goal was a result of a missed mark on a clearout," Lady Tigers' head coach Lori Goodling said. "Once you reach this level even the small miscues can come back to hurt you.
"I think our nerves got the best of us in the first 10 minutes before we started to relax midway through the first half."
The Tigers displayed plenty of mettle against the Trojans (22-1-1), who had not allowed a shot on goal during the entire District 11 Tournament and had outscored their three opponents, 12-0, en route to winning their first championship since 2008. The Trojans had given up only eight goals the entire year.
"We just couldn't get anything dangerous going on offense," Goodling said. "Once they scored the only goal most of the match was played in the middle of the field."
"If we could have taken away those first 10 minutes who knows what may have happened the rest of the way."
Another factor that played in the favor of the Trojans was their familiarity playing on artificial surface, which only enhanced their obvious speed and quickness over the Tigers.
Tulpehocken head coach Paul Zerbe was relieved to come off the field a winner and felt East Juniata was every bit as athletic as his own team and played very well in the loss.
"They matched up very well with our style of play and did a great job of taking us out of what we like to do," Zerbe said. "Whether it was designed or not they took out Casey Rightmyer, who came into the match with 25 goals and five assists, and we did not finish off the only three other scoring opportunities we had in the half and that's credit to their athleticism.
"We have an artificial playing surface and that is a big help to your players and can sometimes hurt an opponent who is not used to the playing surface."
The Trojans held the Tigers to no shots on goal in the second half and gave up only one corner while the winners had eight shots on goal and four corners.