Philipsburg – The Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties Boys Varsity Soccer team had its opening game on Saturday, September 12th against Bald Eagle.
This season, the Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties have high expectations and are looking to go after the district title. Over the last couple of seasons, the Mounties have fallen short of their district title dream due to multiple player injuries. Although the Mounties lost some very talented seniors, they have also gained many talented freshmen that are looking to come in and make a strong impact this year.
The PO Mounties Boys Soccer team is made up of both Philipsburg-Osceola and West Branch boys in grades 9-12 and the coaching staff includes head coach Shawn Inlow and sssistant coaches Bill Mostyn and Mike Sypa.
Head coach Shawn Inlow said, “This is the year that we make it to districts, the speed and talent of this team are unmatched in the league.” The PO players have high expectations for the season, and Inlow is going for the district title win. No team in the Mountain League has ever won the district title, but Inlow believes that this could be the year.
Although the team has a lot of speed and talent that makes it a contender for the title, it lacks defensive experience this year. The Mounties lost three-fourths of its defense last year due to graduating seniors. The PO boys are looking to run a 3-4-3 formation this year that will complement their offensive speed. This formation also allows for the Mounties to be more attacking minded and score even more goals.
The game that kicked off the season was on September 12th against Bald Eagle. It started off slowly, but as the game progressed, it began to get more intense. In the first half Will Rishel, a PO senior, was able to get his head on the ball off a corner kick scoring the opening goal of the game. But later in the same half, Gregg Paladina, a PO senior, fouled an opponent in the penalty box giving up a free kick to Bald Eagle. With the game on the line, Caleb Pellerite (PO’s senior goalie) was able to step up and make a spectacular save on the penalty kick. Despite being down 1-0 at half, Bald Eagle started out strong in the second half. Bald Eagle was able to control the field and had most of the possession early in the half. Suddenly the momentum started to flow in favor of the Mounties. Ashton Crownover, a PO junior, scored a goal from just inside the penalty box putting the Mounties up 2-0. With the two-goal lead, the Mounties started to play defensively and were able to shut down all the attacking power that Bald Eagle had.
In upcoming weeks, the Varsity and Junior varsity teams are going to have two or three games a week to get in all the games that they missed due to the delay of the season.
The West Branch/PO Mounties Varsity Soccer team includes Alex Godin, Shae Bainey, Matt Erich, Andrew Sedlak, and Greg Holt.
The West Branch Boys JV Soccer players include Jacob Alexander, Hunter Bell, Zach McGonigal, Ethan Thompson, Landon Williams, and Drake Witherite.