Raiders stay undefeated
Tamaqua's Eden Helfrich (28) and Upper Dauphin's Rose Kell battle for possession during Thursday's Schuylkill League soccer match. The Raiders won the contest, 4-0. Doug Edwards/ Special to the TIMES NEWS
All teams strive for perfection.
The Tamaqua girls soccer team is experiencing it.
With a decisive 4-0 victory over Upper Dauphin last night, the Lady Raiders improve to 14-0 on the season and 11-0 in the league. With one more win, the Lady Raiders will clinch the Schuylkill League Division 1 Championship for just the second time in school history. With three more wins, Tamaqua will make history with its first undefeated regular season.
"We have a very deep team this year, which is a huge advantage," stated Tamaqua head coach Clem McCarroll. "Tonight, our top scorer was out (Kailee Rottet), but everybody else just stepped up and filled in. The sacrifice and commitment these girls are making this year is a big reason why we're winning games."
Another big reason is the play of junior forward Allie Updike.
Less than 10 minutes into the game, Updike got the Raiders on the scoreboard with a goal off a pass from Jackie Stewart.
The Stewart-to-Updike connection proved to be the perfect combination.
At the 18:05 mark of the first half, Stewart hooked up with Updike for her second goal of the game, and just two minutes later, the duo cashed in a third time for a hat-trick that made it 3-0 at the half.
"Allie was in a little bit of a funk earlier in the season, but the last couple games, she's come alive," added McCarroll. "There was nothing complicated about any of her goals... Jackie gave her great passes and she just touched them into the corner of the net."
Updike then closed out the scoring with her fourth goal of the game at the 25:26 mark of the second half off an assist from Laura Walser.
The four goals in a game were not only a career best for Updike (who now has 15 goals on the season), it also tied a school record, previously held by Jaime Price and Courtney McCarroll (Clem McCarroll's daughter).
"I thought the team played really well tonight, it's wasn't just me out there," stated Updike. "Two of the goals in the first half were almost identical. Jackie was down on the left-side wing and she sent me a crossing pass high in the air. I chested it down and took a one touch shot, but their goal keeper never came out on me, so that made it pretty easy to punch it to the corner."
The Tamaqua defense also persevered and limited the Trojans to just three shots on goal (all in the first half). It was the fifth consecutive shutout and ninth of the season for the Lady Raiders.
"Upper Dauphin is probably the fastest team in the league, so this was definitely a good test for us tonight," said McCarroll. "The backbone of this team is our defense. Those girls have been back there for three years now and they really take pride in shutting people down."
The Raiders converted on four of their six shots on goal, and held a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Chey Bates made three saves in goal for Tamaqua and has an .889 save percentage on the season with a league-leading seven shutouts.
Upper Dauphin goal keeper Tia Gototwetski had two stops on the night.
The Tamaqua JV team also remained undefeated on the season (11-0) with a 4-0 victory.
All in all, it was a perfect night for Tamaqua.