Heading into Tuesday's soccer game with Pottsville, Jim Thorpe didn't care what its record was.
The Olympians didn't mind that they had come up short in all of their previous soccer games. No, they were going to put all of their heart into this one game on this one day - Senior Day.
Jim Thorpe came out strong and took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half thanks to a goal from Ritchie Buele. The Olympians battled as best as they could for the remainder of the game, but allowed a goal late in the second half and another early into double overtime to fall to the Crimson Tide, 2-1.
"I thought we played pretty well," said Jim Thorpe head coach Anthony Dixon. "We hustled the whole game and we were in it until the end.
"The kids have really come along. They have made a lot of progress since the beginning of the year. That is the only thing I could ask of a team as young as us."
Jim Thorpe senior Mitch Franko had a nice look at the net just minutes into the game but was turned away by Pottsville goalie Luke DiCello. DiCello denied Franko again roughly 10 minutes later on a point-blank shot. Franko had picked up a loose ball on the right side of the Crimson Tide net, but didn't have a good enough angle to get it past DiCello.
Following a send-in by a Jim Thorpe mid-fielder, DiCello was forced to come out of the net and make a play on the ball because an Olympian forward was bearing down to make a play. DiCello was able to punch the ball out, but it went right to Buele. Buele send a high-arcing shot over the head of DiCello for the goal.
While its offense was busy applying pressure on its end, Jim Thorpe's defense was playing just as well. Sophomore Shane Bletcher-Otto exemplified their play by making a sliding block to prevent an open shot. He, along with sophomore Dalton Becker and freshmen Caleb Heller and Billy Sterling, played so well that goalie Justin Kaminski didn't have to make his first save until 13:56 remained in the first half.
"The defense played very well," Dixon said. "They tightened up and that is one of the best games they have played all season.
"They are learning. A lot of them are freshman and sophomores and they are learning every week. They are getting there."
Kaminski did his best to preserve the lead in the second half as he made a leaping, one-handed save at the twenty minute mark. He ended with ten saves on the day.
Pottsville picked up its offensive pressure throughout the second half and finally broke through with eight minutes t