Tide pulls away from Tamaqua
Katelyn Rudy (24) of Tamaqua steps in to pass the ball as Pottsville's Olivia Eagan defends. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
With a dense fog creeping in on the Tamaqua soccer stadium Wednesday evening, Pottsville's talented girls squad found a way to put the Blue Raiders and the rest of the Schuylkill League on notice.
Freshman Alexia Maccarone, a rising star, punched in a pair of goals to lift the Tide to a 4-1 Division 1 victory.
It wasn't as simple as the final numbers might indicate, and at one point Tamaqua had usurped the visitors with an early goal off the foot of Sophie Boyle, also a freshman, thanks in part to an assist from senior defender Kristin Jones.
Boyle's scoring boot came at 28:14 of the first half, and it was a good omen, at least in the eyes of coach Clem McCarroll.
"We said before the game that we needed to get out in front early, which we did. It would be a (moral) boost for us since we start so many underclassmen, and I really felt that it was very big at that time, against a veteran time like they have."
That lead didn't last long, however - two minutes and six seconds to be exact - as Pottsville got the equalizer on a corner kick from Lily Joyce with Hanna Leskin assisting. It was the first of two corner scores for the Tide.
"You know we were excited about that first goal," said McCarroll. "It (usually) changes the whole scope of the game when you get that early lead. But their set pieces were amazing. They scored on two corner kicks and a penalty kick. The set pieces were definitely the difference."
With the game still tied, Pottsville started to assert itself with more pressure in the second half. Even though Tamaqua goalkeeper Flo Rios was terrific, Pottsville just kept attacking.
"Their goalie kept them in the game the first half," said Pottsville coach Bob Stock. "I told the girls at halftime to keep shooting, keep crossing, and it will come."
Pottsville was setting the tone by crossing the ball and creating seams in the defense. Stock's game plan loosened things up dramatically.
Pottsville's midfielder Carly Hoak cashed in for the go-ahead score at 29:14 of the second half for a 2-1 lead. Maccarone scored her second goal with 21:25 remaining for a 3-1 lead. The final score came in the closing seconds when Kati Coyle nailed an outside shot as time was expiring.
"You can't give a team like (Pottsville) those corner kicks," said McCarroll. "That was the difference in the game. They moved the ball very well. We just tried to hang in there. The fact that we start six sophomores and our first player (off the bench) is also a sophomore, it felt good."
THE NUMBERS… Unofficially, Pottsville had 21 shots - 13 in the first half alone. Tamaqua managed but five the entire game. Rios was superb as she checked in with 13 saves.
LEG WORK… Pottsville put a lot of pressure throughout the game trying to force Tamaqua into mistakes. The only mistakes that the Raiders made were failing to defend the corner kicks.