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Tamaqua blanks Lehighton in girls soccer

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    Logan Hartney of Tamaqua (right) takes the ball away from Lehighton’s Katie Aaron during their game on Saturday. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Published September 10. 2018 02:44PM

If the Tamaqua girls’ soccer team is going to contend in the tough Schuylkill League Division 1, its needs to respond big against the non-contenders.

Saturday morning, the Raiders did just that against an upstart Lehighton squad, rolling to an impressive 3-0 victory.

Coach Clem McCarroll knew his girls were going to have to step up in games like this, especially after coming off a loss to preseason favorites Blue Mountain.

“This team is really together,” said McCarroll. “Losing (to Blue Mountain) isn’t a bad thing. They’re a state qualifier from last season and they’ve got some great players. But I wanted to see how we would react after the loss.”

Tamaqua answered that question emphatically.

Riding the sensational play of its defense, Tamaqua never let the Indians gain momentum and forced the issue at the Lehighton end time and again.

“We possessed the ball, and that’s what we stress,” said McCarroll. We want to be calm and not have any desperation kicks. Just keep the ball in our possession.”

Tamaqua took control early as Emma Kuczynski hit the back of the net at less than a minute into the game. Then just a minute and 20 seconds later, teammate Logan Hartney booted in the second score for a 2-0 lead.

Kuczynski added another goal at the 22:59 mark of the second half.

“Emma is an amazing athlete and we try to feature her,” said McCarroll. “She’s so unselfish. She is just part of the team. She passes the ball, and if you noticed at the end of the game we had her at outside mid. Emma’s a great athlete we can play her anywhere.”

What has turned into a pleasant surprise for McCarroll and the team was the goaltending of freshman Alexa Kowalski. Kowalski was summoned into action after starter Baylee Reinhardt suffered a concussion against Blue Mountain.

“First time ever,’ smiled McCarroll about Kowalski’s play.

What the coach also was happy about the defensive effort fueled by Jen Fredrickson, Emily Titus and McKenna Kane. “Those three smothered Lehighton. They kept themselves in good position.”

BANGING THE DRUM … Tamaqua had a heavy advantage in shots, holding a 33-5 edge. In addition, the Raiders had the upper hand on corner kicks, 5-0.

WHAT’S ON THE CALENDAR … Tamaqua is back home Tuesday with North Schuylkill. The winless Indians host Jim Thorpe that same day.

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