Tulpehocken’s season ends with 3-0 loss to East Juniata in PIAA opening round match

HAMBURG>> The most unlikely of shots sent Tulpehocken spinning on its way out the PIAA playoffs in the first round.

East Juniata’s Darian Amendola sent a fly ball in on goal from 45 yards out with 13:56 elapsed — and it somehow found its way into the net from just under the crossbar to give the Tigers a stunning lead.

The strike seemed to deflate Tulpy, and the District 3 Class A champions were sent packing in a 3-0 loss in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Wednesday night at Hamburg High School. The game had been postponed earlier due to Tuesday’s inclement weather.

Amendola’s unlikely strike was highlight stuff. Tulpy goalie Trent Johnson appeared to react late, then was a stunned as everyone else at Hamburg when the high, lofting shot cleared his backpedaling leap just below the crossbar.

Tulpy never seemed to recover from it.

“I knew that if I sent it toward to the box there might be a chance to get a head on it and send it in,” Amendola said, in what sounded like an I-wasn’t-really-aiming-for-it-but-I’ll-take-it confession. “I knew after that that we had a good chance to finish this game off.

“I never hit a shot like that before. Not from that far out, anway.”

The Tigers added insurance on a gorgeous right-to-left mid-level bender from 20 out off the boot of Jake Sankey with 14:59 left in the half for a 2-0 lead at the break. Trent Watts closed the scoring with 8:57 left in regulation on a partial breakaway and buried it from six yards out past Johnson.

East Juniata was brutally efficient with its finishing, converting all three shots on target.

Trojans head coach Tim Frantz lamented the ending to what was otherwise a very successful season for his charges.

“Unfortunately, I think maybe that was some of the problem,” Frantz said, referencing the D-3 title his club won at Hershey last weekend, and resulting complacency or overconfidence. “A lack of focus. I don’t know. We just weren’t ready to play. The goals we gave up are not goals we give up.

“Yeah, it was a good season, and we had a lot of good things ahead of us. Or I should say, there was a chance. We won a district title but there was more out there for us, and unfortunately we’re not gonna have a chance at it. You can’t play like this in states, with the quality we displayed tonight.”

The Trojans had two excellent scoring chances but could not convert wither, part of six shots on goal they fired at EJ goalie Clay Sheaffer. The first came on a free  kick cross into the box in which a resulting header hit the far post in the 38th minute; the second came off a tremendous diving save by Sheaffer that left the crease unattended, but a rebound shot was kicked high and wide in the 51st.

Kevin Berry’s vicious drive from six yards out, with the issue decided, was rejected by Sheaffer with roughly 90 seconds to play. EJ’s keeper saved all six shots he saw.

Tulpehocken’s season wraps at 22-3-0.


PIAA Class A First Round

at Hamburg

East Juniata –  2  1 — 3

Tulpehocken –  0  0  — 0

First half

EJ – Darian Amendola (ua), 26:04

EJ – Jake Sankey (Trevor Goodling), 14:59

Second half

EJ – Trent Watts (ua), 8:57

Shots on goal

T 6, EJ 3


T 3, EJ 1


T (Trent Johnson) 0, EJ (Clay Sheaffer) 6



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