WARREN, Pa. – For 75-plus minutes, North East and Warren battled to a scoreless stalemate.
With 4:17 to go, the Dragons were called for a foul in the box and North East’s Joel Morey penalty kick was perfect, beating Dragon keeper JT Blum.
The Grapepickers added an insurance goal two minutes later courtesy of Mike McGuigan, with Krew Ksenich tallying the assist to head back home with a big 2-0 Region 4 road win.
Out of necessity, Blum made his first appearance in net and was very effective to the tune of seven saves.
“I told them the adversity will make us stronger,” said Warren coach Denny Flatt. “JT has never played his whole soccer career has never played as a keeper. Sometimes the old saying goes you learn more from a loss than you do a win and I think today’s game is an example of that. Once we get our full squad back and everyone’s healthy, I like our chances.”
The Dragons had several opportunities courtesy of Parks Ordiway and Mark Lynds, but the North East defense was up to the task.
Grant Girts and Ethan Hammer combined on the clean sheet for North East.
“It’s a tough loss,” Flatt said. “I’m proud of each and every one of them, the way they played. Our defense was just outstanding. I told them to hold their heads up high. We’ve got a big game Thursday against Fort LeBoeuf.”