Tamaqua loses OT thriller to Pen Argyl
Tuesday’s District 11 Class 2A semifinal between Tamaqua and Pen Argyl definitely didn’t disappoint.
The top-seeded Blue Raiders and No. 5 seed Green Knights went back-and-forth during regulation, finishing the two halves tied at four. Pen Argyl’s Stivan Kumbarov broke that tie just over two minutes into overtime, giving Kumbarov his fourth goal of the contest, and a 5-4 Knights victory.
Kumbarov was responsible for the final three Pen Argyl goals and gave his team a 4-3 lead with 25 minutes left in regulation.
The Blue Raiders answered, though, when senior Greg Davis took advantage of a Derian Stianche corner kick and tallied the game-tying score.
“We battled back,” Tamaqua head coach Greg Sheeler said. “We took the lead, we lost the lead, then we tied it up and put it into overtime.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my guys. It was just unfortunate the way it turned out for us. We played a really hard game. We possessed the ball well and made the right plays.”
The Blue Raiders turned the ball over and allowed a goal to Kumbarov early in the game, then came right back to tie it when Stianche found Jacob Rudy to tap it in for the first Tamaqua score.
Stianche added his own goal later in the first half with an assist from Mason Dolinsky. Tamaqua, however, had a tough time containing Pen Argyl’s Kumbarov.
“Early on, we gave him a turnover for a goal,” Sheeler said about Kumbarov. “He’s just so explosive with his speed that it’s tough for any defender to contain him. The kid’s going to go somewhere and play. I wish him the best.
“He was a great challenge for our defense. I thought we did a good job of shutting down the entry pass to him, but he still managed to work to get the ball and push the ball in the space and use his speed, which was something to see.”
Tamaqua’s seniors really showed up in their final game, as they accounted for three of the four Blue Raiders goals.
“My senior leadership was good to see,” Sheeler said. “The guys came out and played hard all year. They’re really a great group of guys, and I’m going to miss them. We still have a lot of talent coming back, and I’m happy with where the program’s going.”
A pair of sophomores, Tyler Steigerwalt and Ian Davis, accounted for the team’s other goal, as Steigerwalt assisted Davis to give Tamaqua a 3-2 lead going into halftime.
Pen Argyl, which outshot Tamaqua by a 14-12 margin, will now play No. 3 seed Notre Dame-Green Pond Thursday for the 2A title.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE … Pen Argyl senior Mehmed Letifov scored the other goal for the Knights.
SHEELER ON HIS SENIORS … Coach Sheeler talked about his seniors after their last game. “They’re extremely athletic. We’re going to miss two great defensive guys that can shut down almost anybody, and they showed that today how good they are on defense, even though (Pen Argyl) put up a number of goals. They’re still two great defenders. Fantastic midfielders that control the ball, maintain the position. Forwards that can finish and can play midfield. These guys are tough to replace.”