O'Malley leads Tamaqua
ron gower/times news Avery Banavage (14) of Tamaqua moves in to defend Pine Grove's Emma Koontz.
Kayla Hope and Kailee Rottet have been Tamaqua's top scoring threats on the soccer field this season.
Wednesday night, a new weapon emerged for the Raiders as Cady O'Malley came up big in a 5-1 Schuylkill League Division I victory over visiting Pine Grove.
The win keeps Tamaqua unbeaten on the season at 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Schuylkill League.
"It was good to get someone else involved," Tamaqua head coach Clem McCarroll said after watching O'Malley score two goals in the victory. "It just makes us harder to defend. Everyone's always going to mark Kailee and Kayla, so the more people we get involved, the better we are.
"We have to get production from other players. Otherwise, we're making it too easy for it for the opposition to defend us down the road."
O'Malley, a senior forward accounted for both Blue Raider goals in the opening 40 minutes of play as they took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Hope and Rottet have seen a fair share of double coverage throughout the first half of the season, so Hope was glad to see O'Malley step into the spotlight and contribute to the Blue Raiders' attack.
"Cady definitely knows where to be on the field," Hope said. "She is always in the right spot.
"We knew she had it in her to get us started tonight. For her to get two goals was simply awesome. It's exactly what the team needed."
After the Cardinals' Jenna Flick made it a one-goal game only a minute and twenty-two seconds into the second half, the Raiders' potent scoring duo of of Hope and Rottet took over.
Just a little over two minutes later, Rottet was able to finish off her fourth shot of the game with her first goal. From the far side of the field, the junior midfielder shot a bullet past Cardinal keeper Breanna Sattizahn to make it a two-goal lead with 26:31 left in the game.
It was Hope's turn next as the senior midfielder scored with 22:14 left in the game when she booted a floater from 20 yards out that slipped across the finger tips of an out-stretched Sattizahn for a 4-1 lead.
Tamaqua's Brynn Lehatto capped the scoring when she took a feed from Rottet and poked it into the back of the Cardinals' net.
While McCarroll was thrilled with O'Malley's contribution in the first half, he was equally pleased to see his "big two" deliver in the second half.
"We're going to need them," McCarroll said. "I told them at halftime that they have to step up because we had a couple of younger players in that haven't played varsity that much.
"Despite the number of injuries we have had early in the year, we're still finding ways to win and that's what's important. We're taking one game at a time.
"No matter what the odds are against us, we're finding ways to win and get the job done. So you have got to be happy about that."