Injuries plague Eagles' season

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MANDATA - Of all of Line Mountain's fall sports teams, the girls soccer team has been hit the most with injuries, and it's put a damper on what could have been a good season, according to head coach Craig Taxis.

The Eagles just missed making postseason playoffs last year with an 8-10 record, and Taxis thought that even though this year's team was younger overall, there was enough talent to make another run at the postseason.

Then came the injuries. Trainer Stacy Grindstaff rattled off a list.

"There've been four concussions, four knee injuries, a hip flexor, an injured thumb," she said, and hardly were the words out of her mouth than she was called out to the field during the September 19th 7-1 Tri-Valley League loss to Juniata to look after Eriika Hauck, who had re-injured her knee.

"We've been bitten hard," Taxis said. "At the beginning of the year, I had high hopes. But with the way the injuries keep happening, I've had to play a lot of the younger players and I've had to move a lot of people out of position. We've had so many games that we don't have a lot of time for them to learn the new positions. With what's gone on, I'm really proud of the way the girls have played."

None of the players have been knocked out for the season, but many have missed some games here, some games there, and have caused disruption into any set lineup.

Although the loss to Juniata dropped Line Mountain to 2-6 at that time, Taxis said he's pleased for a couple of things. First, the players want to play through their injuries and get on the field. Second, they want to play the game the right way.

"Last year we started installing a system here where we weren't just kicking the ball and running after it, but using traps and making good passes, playing basic soccer," he said. "When the injuries started, I asked the kids if they wanted to go back to just kicking and running, and they said no. They want to learn to play the game right even if it costs them some games."

The biggest difference that could be seen on the field against Juniata was that the Indians had more attacking speed than Line Mountain's available defenders. The Indians scored five goals in a period of 10 minutes, 33 seconds midway through the first half to effectively end the game. Janelle Swartz and Lauren Braublitz each scored two goals, and Christina Braublitz scored one and had two assists.

But Line Mountain played much better in the second half, with not a lot of substitution for Juniata. Shandi Lenker scored an unassisted goal, and the Eagles cut the number of Juniata shots in half from the first half.

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