WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Dallas and Coughlin entered Friday's Wyoming Valley Conference Division I boys soccer showdown with the top two defenses is the conference.
The Crusaders began the day allowing just five goals all season, while the Mountaineers gave up just four in their last nine games heading into Friday as the game was set to be a defensive battle like the first time they met last month when they combined for two goals in a tie.
But that wasn't the case this time around.
Dallas' offense broke through for four goals – two by Danny Saba, one by A.J. Nardone and another from Nate Wood – in a 4-0 shutout at King's College's Betzler Fields.
"We knew they wanted to go between Nardone and Saba and we had a plan in place, but we didn't carry out the gameplan at all," Coughlin coach Rob Havard said.
With the win, Dallas moves its record to 12-1-1 with a match left against Back Mountain rival Lake-Lehman on Monday. Coughlin (11-1-1) has two games remaining next week at Wyoming Valley West on Monday and against Pittston Area on Wednesday. If the Crusaders and Mountaineers end with the same record, they will have to face off again to decide the division championship. That's what made the game so important for a Dallas victory.
"We always want to come out on top, and after the last few years that we lost in districts we really want to go and win districts this year," said Dallas senior defender Brian Stepniak.
Friday's victory was a step towards that direction for the Mountaineers.
While the Crusaders defense looked flat all afternoon, Dallas' played extremely well. The Mountaineers didn't allow Coughlin's first shot until 15 minutes into the first half and only gave up two the first 40 minutes. Most of the Crusaders' seven shots came after the midway point of the second half when Dallas was already up 4-0.
Stepniak, Blake Pertl, Dante DeAngelo, Zach Goodwin and Brandon Scharff, among others for the Mountaineers, all played a big role in holding Coughlin off the board. Stepniak was right with Justin Okun for a good chunk of the game holding the Crusaders' top scorer in check as his 6-foot-5 height was nearly a foot taller than Okun's frame.
"We wanted to keep them outside because they're more dangerous on the inside," Stepniak added. "Some of them are dominant foot and don't go to the other foot so we wanted to keep them outside."
Saba scored the first goal of the game at the 12:54 mark off a pass from Nardone. The two switched the scoring and assist on the second score, which came with the clock reading 8:48
Wood's goal gave the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead with 28:41 left and Saba's second tally secured the victory about five minutes after Wood's.
First half: 1. DAL, Danny Saba (A.J. Nardone) 12:54; 2. DAL, Nardone (Saba) 8:48
Second half: 1. DAL, Nate Wood 28:11; 2. DAL, Saba 23:18
Shots: DAL 14, COU 7; Saves: DAL 2 (Casey Barrett), COU 6 (Josh Featherman); Corners: DAL 6, COU 3.
Jordan Consagra scored a hat trick and added an assist for the Patriots, while Katie Oldziejewski and Paige Elmy each had a goal for GAR.
First half: 1. GAR, Katie Oldziejewski (Luke Height), 35:17
Second half: 2. PIT, Jordan Consagra (Matt Tavaglione), 3:41; 3. GAR, Paige Elmy, 30:48; 4. PIT, Consagra, 15:36; 5. PIT, Colin Tracy (Consagra), 14:24; 6. PIT, Consagra, 5:49
Shots: PIT 11, GAR 12; Saves: PIT 5 (Taylor Roberts), GAR 9 (Tony Tlatenchi); Corners: PIT 2, GAR 3.
Cal Lisman scored all four Meyers goals in the crossover win over the Warriors.
First half: 1. MEY, Cal Lisman (Mike Kendra) 36:50; 2. MEY, Lisman 32:31
Second half: 1. MEY, Lisman (Jarek Hernandez) 11:43; 2. MEY, Lisman (Kendra) 1:45
Shots: MEY 20, WA 23; Saves: MEY 15 (David Torres), WA 10 (Aaron Carter); Corners: MEY 3, WA 5.
Comet keeper Steven Rerick notched his fourth shutout of the season stopping nine shots then scored a goal with 1:46 left in the game to help his team to the victory.
First half: 1. CRE, Alex Machalick (Casey Ritsick) 21:44; 2. CRE, Machalick 20:33; 3. CRE, John Andrews (Machalick) 4:30
Second half: 1. CRE, Machalick 30:28; 2. CRE, George Gendler (Dan Ceonzo) 19:51; 3. CRE, Gendler (Ross Gladey) 7:58; 4. CRE, Steven Rerick 1:46
Shots: HR 10, CRE 20; Saves: HR 12 (Ian McGrane), CRE 10 (Steven Rerick 9, Lance Lysiak 1); Corners: HR 3, CRE 7.
|Valley West (3A)||7||6||0|
|Hazleton Area (3A)||2||12||0|
|Wyoming Seminary (A)||10||4||0|
|Holy Redeemer (2A)||7||7||1|
|Pittston Area (3A)||4||8||1|
|Wyoming Area (2A)||5||9||1|
|Hanover Area (2A)||0||11||1|