Updike leads Lady Raiders past JT
WHITEHALL - Allison Updike didn't realize she surpassed a milestone when she scored a goal just before half in Tamaqua's District 11 Class AA semifinal contest with Jim Thorpe.
The Lady Raiders' senior forward did know that the goal gave her team a much-needed lift.
Updike added another goal in the second half as Tamaqua blanked the Lady Olympians 3-0 on Thursday night at Whitehall.
With the victory, the second seeded Raiders (16-3-1) qualified for the District 11 final for the fifth straight season.
Tamaqua will seek its third consecutive D-11 title when it faces top-seeded Blue Mountain on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at a site to be determined.
The Raiders took awhile to get going against third seeded Jim Thorpe (9-8-1).
While Tamaqua had won both previous meetings handily against the Lady Olympians, outscoring them 12-0, Thorpe stymied the Raiders for most of the first half. A number of shots clanked off the crossbar, and Olympians' goalkeeper Chelsea Smelas stopped others at close range.
"Their keeper made a big difference," said Tamaqua coach Clem McCarroll. "When you get in the playoffs, everything shrinks. The games are low-scoring, and if we won 1-0, I'd have been happy, just so we'd get a chance to defend our two-time District championship.
"We were frustrated early. We tend to start games slow, but I saw we were controlling the ball, so we weren't panicking."
Updike finally broke through when her shot went off Smelas' hands and across the goal line with 30.4 seconds to go in the first half.
The goal was the 87th of Updike's career, which makes her Tamaqua's all-time scoring leader. John Henne held the old mark with 86 goals, and Updike had long surpassed Jaime Price's former girls mark of 48, on a goal that gave the Raiders an overtime win for their first District title.
"I didn't even know about it until halftime," said Updike of the school record. "He (McCarroll) doesn't tell us about records until we break them. It's really a big team effort. I couldn't score goals without everybody else.
"We had a little scoring drought there. It (the goal) put our heads up going into halftime. If it was 0-0, our heads might have been down and we might not have come out the way we did in the second half. It was an upper that worked to our advantage."
"Allie has a tendency for big-time goals in the playoffs, when we need them," said McCarroll.
Kailee Rottet made it 2-0 off an assist from Lauren Mateyak, scoring in front of the net at the 21:09 mark of the second half. Rottet assisted on Updike's second goal, her 88th, which came on a boot into the lower left corner at 31:41.
Tamaqua, which outshot Thorpe 17-2, will now try to solve Schuylkill champion Blue Mountain, which has not given up a goal to the Raiders in two games, one a 3-0 Eagles win and the other a scoreless tie in the rain.
"We outshot them (Blue Mountain) 15-4 on a soggy field last time, so there's no fear there," noted McCarroll. "We've got to put the ball in the net."