JOHNSTOWN – Once they finally got rolling Saturday afternoon, the Lions roared.
Granville Christian Academy spotted host Northridge an early 1-0 lead, but Jake Coplin’s hat trick sparked a four-goal splurge which powered a 4-2 win.
That gave Coplin, a senior forward, five goals in less than 24 hours after GCA (2-0) opened its season with a 6-1 win against Liberty Union Friday night. It was a quick turnaround for the Lions, but they were equal to the task.
“It was hard to get going and keep going,” Coplin admitted. “The last 15 or 20 minutes, it was really tough. It took awhile to adjust to getting scored on first, since it was the first time it had happened including scrimmages. But once we got the momentum, we kept rolling.”
Senior midfielder Abi Rose, who missed most of last season with a concussion, didn’t mind the challenge. “We came out a little flat, because we were tired and sore from last night,” she said. “But the seniors have played together since the fifth grade and we finally started playing our team game. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Northridge senior midfielder Noah Anderson got the Vikings on the board early, racing ahead of the defense for a 1-0 lead seven minutes in. But Coplin used his left foot to slide one past goalie Skyler Pritts. Then. freshman Nick Wilford blasted one home from in close off a perfectly-placed corner kick from Jeff Yohman as GCA led 2-1 at halftime.
With the Lions controlling the midfield, Coplin added two more second-half goals to keep them safely ahead. The Vikings made a late rush, getting a goal from senior defender Noah Turnes, but it was too much to make up. Center back Andrew Uible was able to thwart another Northridge goal with a timely tackle, while Vikings’ junior Austin Stone just missed on a free kick that hit the left post.
“We got a little tired. We had to play some guys down in the jayvee game and in this game,” Northridge coach Kevin Krotzer said. “We’re young. We lost 12 seniors from last year and played two freshmen. But we’ve been getting better in our games and scrimmages, and it will come together.”
Krotzer said GCA’s speed was the difference. “They’re fast, really fast, especially the two guys up front,” he said.
“We had to put our fastest guy (Ryan Law) on their fastest guy (Anderson), and were able to stop him after that early goal,” said Lions’ coach Dave Geiss. “We were able to win 55 percent of the possessions in the midfield. The last three games, everything has been clicking. It’s a special group.”
Yohman had two assists and Reed Haga added another for GCA. Pritts had 10 saves for Northridge while Joel Foxall stopped four shots for the Lions.
Coplin was quick to credit team play for his big game. “It was good coaching, good passing and the right balls played by teammates,” he said. “We need to keep getting better, and learn how the younger players and the new players play with us seniors.”