Olympians catch fire for win
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Jim Thorpe's Benny Mazzella (3) jumps high in the air to kick the ball away from Tamaqua's Michael Stisowain during their Schuylkill League match on Tuesday. The Olympians pulled away in the second half for a 6-1 win.
Within the course of a game one play can sometimes determine the course of a match.
That's exactly what happened last night at Jim Thorpe in a Schuylkill League Division 1 clash between the Olympians and Raiders.
With the game tied at 1-1 with 22:26 left in the second half Jim Thorpe's Steven Principe took the ball deep into the Tamaqua zone where eventually he would even get the ball past goal keeper Tyler Cimino. Principe would score on the play, but Cimino as a last resort held on to Principe's shoulders as he tried getting past him. Cimino's obstruction on the play would help him receive a red card and Jim Thorpe would go on to score five unanswered goals to pick up the 6-1 victory.
Principe's successful attempt on the penalty kick after Cimino's red card would put JT up 2-1 and they never relinquished the lead from that point on.
"After the red card we were down a player and at that point you can only do so much," said Tamaqua coach Greg Stewart. "You can't expect to beat a team like Jim Thorpe with a man down and your number one keeper out of the game. They have a real good team with a lot of talented players so the credit really has to go to them."
Jim Thorpe found themselves down 1-0 nothing after the first half, but came out in the second half with a lot more urgency. The Olympians dominated much of the first half, but just couldn't finish their chances at the goal.
The second half however, was a different story thanks in large part to Principe and Corey Ligenza. Ligenza and Principe combined for five goals and three assists. Principe turned in his second hat trick in as many games and Ligenza has scored five goals over his last two games as well. The pair looked overpowering all night constantly using their speed and quickness to bolt by Tamaqua defenders.
"These two kids are experienced and are just good soccer players," said Jim Thorpe coach Tony Dixon. "They've been playing together for awhile now and they just do so many things well out there. They both play relentless and are always keeping constant pressure on the opposing team's defense. I expect more good things from them this season."
Principe certainly made his presence felt on the field, but it was Ligenza that caused the Raiders defense problems all night. The speedy senior weaved his way around Tamaqua defenders time and time again and gave his team multiple scoring opportunities.
"We really started to click after their keeper received that red card," said Ligenza. "We should of scored a couple times in the first half and we didn't so I knew we had to make the best of our opportunities in the second half. Thankfully, Steven (Principe) and I got things going for us and we pulled out the win."
The Olympians have some high expectations moving forward with most people picking them to make district playoffs this season. Ligenza, who is one of the team's leaders welcomes the high expectations and might even want to raise them a bit.
"Our goal is to make districts, but I really want to make states," said Ligenza. "We've been working hard, practicing hard, and I feel like we have some real good players on our team. I don't think it's too hard to believe that we can qualify for states if we keep playing at a high level."
With the win Jim Thorpe improves to 4-0 and Tamaqua drops to 1-3.