Three first half goals give Tamaqua the cushion they needed to withstand a furious rally to hold off Jim Thorpe 4-3 in Schuylkill League boys soccer.
Both teams battled evenly early in the match. Both teams had chances with Jim Thorpe getting the upper hand.
The upset minded Olympians struck first. With Tamaqua goal keep, Caleb Leibenguth out of position after making a save, Ben Mazella struck true and found the back of the net for a 1-0 Jim Thorpe lead.
"We definitely didn't play as aggressively as we should have," Tamaqua head coach Stewart said. "It seems that we only do it (at Jim Thorpe)."
The lead would be short lived. Tamaqua sent the ball deep into Jim Thorpe's corner. Just over a minute after falling behind, Eric Hertzog's long shot dropped into the net just under the crossbar to tie the contest.
Shortly after that, Geoff Sincavage gave the Blue Raider booters the lead when his long shot caromed off the crossbar and in for a 2-1 Tamaqua lead.
"They got down (a goal) and started playing better ball," Stewart said of the momentum changing goals by his team. "We're a young team and we're still working on things."
"You are not supposed to make a living of (long shots)," first year head coach Jim Karabasz said. "But today they did."
Jim Thorpe missed two grand opportunities with just over eight minutes left. Both shots missed their mark and a chance at tying the game.
Tamaqua remained on the offensive. A perfectly placed corner kick by Davide DeFiore allowed Justin Delp to head in Tamaqua's third and final goal of the half.
"We're young," Stewart said. "We only have four seniors and only two guys that started from last year's squad. We lost a lot of talent but the kids have a lot of heart and go out and play the best they can."
Tamaqua Junior Jeff Pearson pushed the score to 4-1 with just over 16 minutes left in the contest.
Both coaches began to play younger players and the score became a lot closer than the match.
Jim Thorpe freshman Dalton Becker slipped one past back up goal keep Zack Lakitsky.
The young Olympians continued to press. Justin Kaminski's pass to fellow frosh Kyle Lawrence with 25-seconds remaining narrowed the gap to 4-3.
Despite getting the ball deep into the right corner, the clock ran out giving Tamaqua the win.
Despite the loss, Jim Thorpe never quit and that pleased their coach.
"That is just he young guys were running (the system I use), Karabasz said. "It's hard to teach the seniors to go against their instincts (of the seniors).
Tamaqua improves to 2-4-1 and 2-2-1 in the league.