After last year's struggles against Mountain Valley Conference champion Pocono Mountain East, Lehighton soccer head coach David Yob had mixed feelings about his team's 4-0 loss to defending Mountain Valley Conference champion Pocono Mountain East.
The third-year head coach is not happy with the loss, but he's pleased with the team's improvement against the league's top team.
"We opened with them last year and ended up losing 9-0," said Yob. "It was even 9-0 at halftime and (Cardinal head coach) Bob (Black) was good enough to play his JVs the entire second half. When they came here, I think it was something like 4-1, in which we got the one goal late on a late breakaway. So, we definitely have seen progression."
The Tribe had opportunities to keep the game much closer, but couldn't capitalize.
"I am a little disappointed," Yob said. "We had four really good opportunities that we could have had four goals. I am a little disappointed in that way, but the kids played hard, which is definitely a good thing.
"In the past, we would have hung our heads and the score would have kept climbing. Today, we kept playing hard throughout the entire game."
Twice in the opening half the Indians had opportunities to put the ball in the net.
Dan Baka booted a penalty kick directly at Cardinals keeper Vincent Clemson. A minute and a half later, Anthony Rossino got free on a breakaway. Rossino got a nice shot off, but Clemson got his grasp on the ball.
Colin Viney was able to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead with 29:28 left in the opening half. Elias Dimitropoulos set up Viney perfectly and he went on to capitalize on the Cardinals' first shot of the game. It wasn't until 11 shots later that the Cardinals' Junior Kouadio sneaked his third shot of the game past Indian senior goalkeeper Geoff Ebbert. With 3:10 left before half, the visitors took a 2-0 lead into intermission.
Ebbert, who has played defense, center-mid and served as a back-up keeper during his career, was pelted with shots and did well to allow just four goals.
"This is Geoff's first full year in the net," said Yob of Ebbert. "Last year as a junior he played mostly center-mid for me because that's where I needed him. This year we need him in the net.
"He's going to do a good job for us. He still has the foot skills from playing on the field that if we need to pass the ball back, he can get rid of it. He really wasn't tested on Saturday when we played at Hazleton, but he definitely faced a good team today. He handled them pretty well."
While Rossino, James Farano and Dan Nanovic had scoring opportunities in the second half, the Indians couldn't find a way to cash in on any of their six total shots.
The Cardinals pushed two more of their 22 shots on goal past to seal their first win of the season.
Viney scored another with 30:27 left in the second half. Dimitropoulos recorded a goal with 6:03 left to play. Dominque Haynes was credited with the assist on Viney's second goal, while Arnold Kouadio set Dimitropoulos up for his.
The Indians move to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the MVC. Yob and his team have to pick themselves up quickly as they have last year's MVC runners up Friday afternoon.
"We just have to come back and work hard at practice," Yob said. "We know we're going to have our work cut out for us Friday - Stroudsburg. Jordan Ellison, Conference MVP and a lot of stuff goes through him and there's a lot of nice players around him. His dad does a great job coaching the team, so we definitely have our work cut out for us.
"Plus, it's up there on the turf. Most of our games are on grass. Turf is a little different for us. We might have to practice in the parking lot tomorrow."