Greenwood football wins 15 games and league title
Since taking over the Greenwood soccer team, Aaron Anstine has watched Kent Houser’s field hockey schedule with awe.
Year after year, the Houser Wildcats compete for county, league and district championships. There is a consistency that, despite losing all stars upon graduation, keeps Greenwood’s field hockey relevant.
Anstine, who just finished his eighth year at Millerstown, appears to have taken the hit.
Even though Anstine had to replace nine seniors, including seven starters – three stars – plus his goalie, the Wildcats barely missed a beat. Anstine revamped his entire defense, hooked up a goalkeeper, and secured career years from a handful of players biding their time, waiting for the opportunity to play important minutes.
“The expectation is that we compete for a league championship every year,” said Anstine. “It doesn’t change.”
Greenwood opened the season with a two-game split at Big Spring’s Backyard Brawl, defeating Daniel Boone 3-1 in Game 1, before losing a 4-1 decision to Camp Hill in the title game.
The Wildcats went on to claim 12 straight wins – 11 in the Tri-Valley League game.
A 1-0 loss to West Perry ended the streak and cost them a repeat of their county title.
Anstine’s team followed with a 4-0 rout of East Juniata who completed a 12-0 sweep through TVL and won a league championship.
The Wildcats stumbled down the home stretch, losing to Midd-West 3-0 in their regular-season final, then were disappointed to fall 1-0 to Wyomissing – on a penalty – in the first round of the district tournament 3AA.
Overall, Greenwood went 15-4, scoring 7-3 against the District Qualifiers… 4-2 against the teams that made the PIAA tournament.
“We’ve had a great year,” said Anstine, who set her career record at 109-43-4. “My only frustration is that we couldn’t win this big game. We couldn’t get that signing victory.
Under Anstine, defense was Greenwood’s calling card. Despite the complete background redesign, this year was no exception.
The Wildcats reluctantly scored 15 goals – 0.79 per game, a few ticks more than a year ago. They have recorded 11 shutouts, including nine in that 12-game winning streak.
Anstine opened the year with freshman Pate Anderson in the goal. Anderson served as a solid placeholder for senior Ethan Jezewski, who started out as a center-back while waiting for a cast to be removed from his wrist.
Anderson started the first six games and went 5-1 with three shutouts, including a strong 2-0 outing against Juniata.
Jezewski was in the net the rest of the way. He allowed 13 goals on 66 shots, a good save rate of 87%. Jezewski, in his first year as a college goaltender, was named the TVL First Team All-Star goaltender.
“Pate kept us competitive until we got Ethan back,” said Anstine. “Ethan has had a phenomenal year. He made some big saves.
Anstine has rebuilt their defense around a pair of sophomores, Kyle Corkle and Nick Stuck, the tandem in the middle of their four-back roster. He put the elder Cesar Rangel on the left side. Junior Trey Hess opened on the right.
“We knew Corkle had the speed to play there. Nick is a calm kid, very stoic, but he associated well with Kyle, ”explained Anstine. “Cesar and Trey were strong on the outside, shutting down (the perimeter.”
Rangel, a first year starter, was recognized for his game by being named TVL Star.
Anstine’s offense has also taken care of its business, scoring 4.2 goals per game, nearly one better than a year ago.
The Wildcats thrived on increased production of returning vets.
Samuel Myers, a junior attacking midfielder, led the team – and TVL – in goals and points. He finished with 19 goals in total, more than double the eight goals he had in his first two years, and 49 points. In 12 games with TVL, he scored 17 goals, scored 43 points and was named the league’s MVP.
Myers, who raised his career point total to 74, will be set to be even more productive next year.
With Myers focused on the offense, his midfielder sidekick Gage Wirth focused on controlling the center of the pitch, stopping opposing attacks before they became dangerous and helping the transition from defense to the offensive. Wirth, a TVL second-team all-star, also increased his contributions to goals. He scored seven goals and four assists.
Three seniors were a big part of the Wildcat attack.
Danny Bellis has teamed up with Jackson Beaver and Zander Foltz to form a stunning weapon set.
Bellis mainly worked on the left side, using his speed, speed and unusual ball turns to break through defenses. He set career highs with 11 goals, a team record of 13 assists and 34 points. A member of the Second All-Star Team, Bellis ended his career with a record 63 points.
Beaver, who Anstine called “one of the smartest players I’ve had … a coach on the pitch,” set career highs with 16 goals, 10 assists and 36 points and was selected at unanimity among the stars of the league.
Foltz was the perfect complement to his teammates. Working on the right side, Foltz was adept at backstrokes to complete feeds from Beaver, Bellis or Myers. Foltz, who entered the year with one goal and two assists, finished with nine and five.
Anstine, always ready to play deserving freshmen and sophomores, provided a significant opportunity for his young players.
Lucas Beaver, a sophomore, secured a starting position in midfield and was playing well (3g, 4a) before injury took him out of the field for nine games.
Freshmen Nathan Hixson (3g) and Mason Preston (2g, 3a), and freshmen Evan Rice (3g, 7a) and Ben Brinser (1g) also made their way into the regular rotation, making appearances in all 19 games.
Junior Luke Taylor (10 games) and sophomores Jeff Bubb (11), Leroy Brofee (12) and Brandon Barrick (9) played to varying degrees.
“I think we did a good job getting some playing time for the younger kids. We were going to 18 depths in close games, ”said Anstine. “I think it’s important to build a program that sticks out.
Greenwood had six players on the Tri-Valley League all-star rosters.
Samuel Myers, MVP
Jackson Castor, F
César Rangel, Def
Ethan Jezewski, GK
Daniel Bellis, MF
Gage Wirth, Def