KINGSTON — All season, Wyoming Valley West head coach Charlie Whited gave Nick Singer opportunities to take free kicks for the team.
And all season long, about a half a dozen times, Singer was off target when he was given the chance to take the kicks on goal.
The senior came through big late in the District 2 Class 3A quarterfinal leading the Spartans to a 2-1 victory over North Pocono at Spartan Stadium.
“He’s been dependable over years,” Whited said. “So I try to stay with a guy that’s been doing it and has the most experience. That kind of thing. So I stayed with him. He’s the right guy on the ball, there’s no question.”
Singer took the kick after what some believed was a controversial foul call against Valley West’s Mike Bazadona with less than a minute remaining in the second half. The clock continued to run after the call and Singer rushed to the line and beat Trojans’ keeper Riley Loogey to get the Spartans into the district semifinals for the second straight season.
“I was missing them all season and I saved it for the right time,” Singer said. ‘It just happened I guess, just luck. It’s one of the best goals in my career.”
WVW (10-5-1) will face West Scranton/Wallenpaupack winner in Monday’s semifinals. In 2012, the Spartans advanced to the semis with a win over North Pocono before bowing out with a loss to Abington Heights. With six starting seniors on this year’s team, the Spartans feel more comfortable in the next round, especially after gaining valuable experience last year.
“We are a little more experienced than we’ve been in the past and our offense has been much better… so we look forward to whoever we play next,” Whited said.
The game was dominated by defenses as both teams only registered six shots on goal apiece, and the Trojans were keying in on Spartans’ leading scorer Eddie Thomas.
Somehow with 15:00 left in the first half though, Thomas found an opening in front of the net and scored the match’s first goal on Valley West’s first shot of the game. He received a pass from Mike Bazadona and connected for the tally giving WVW a 1-0 lead.
“They put a deep sweeper on us that wouldn’t allow us to get any break-aways and that’s been a big part of our game. Nick plays balls over the top to Eddie and Eddie runs on and finishes,” Whited noted. “They took that part of the game away from us and we didn’t adjust well.”
North Pocono (4-8-2) tied the game at 1-1 with less than 5 minutes left in the first half when Tucker Loescher nailed a direct kick, after a call that was similar to the one that helped the Spartans notch the game-winning tally.
Tunkhannock 1, Scranton Prep 0
Aidam Cronin’s goal in the 70th minute advanced the Tigers to the District 2 Class 2A semifinals.
Cronin scored off an assist from Patrick Cronin as Tunkhannock will face Valley View in Tuesday’s game at 3:30 p.m. at Roslund Elementary.
Wyoming Valley West 2, North Pocono 1
North Pocono `1`0`—`1
Wyoming Valley West`1`1`—`2
First half — 1. WVW, Eddie Thomas (Mike Bazadona) 15:00’ 2. NP, Tucker Loescher (direct kick) 4:45. Second half — 1. WVW, Nick Singer (direct kick) :20.
Shots — NP 6; WVW 6. Saves — NP 2 (Riley Loogey); WVW 1 (Derek Denman). Corner kicks — NP 0; WVW 4.
Tunkhannock 1, Scranton Prep 0
Second half — 1. TUN, Aidan Cronin (Patrick Cronin), 70th minute.
Shots — SP 5; TUN 10. Saves — SP 7 (Blake Hammert); TUN 3 (Zac Daniels). Corner kicks — SP 2; TUN 3.