LEHMAN TWP. ‚?? The Dallas boys soccer team started off slow, with the team going 0-1-1 to begin the campaign.
The always stout Mountaineers defense also was hit hard in those games allowing five goals.
But since then, the team has shown the reason why it has been expected to be the team to beat in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
With a 5-0 win over Back Mountain rival Lake-Lehman on Wednesday night, the Mountaineers have now racked up 44 goals while only giving up two, running their record to 6-1-1 in Division I. With the win, the Mountaineers also keep the Lt. Michael Cleary Trophy, named for the 1999 Dallas boys soccer grad, who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2005.
‚??We started off a little slow at the beginning of the season with some new players, the loss of players from last year and a little too much arrogance,‚?Ě Dallas coach Chris Scharff said. ‚??But I think we calmed down since losing that first game, and we‚??re taking things more serious in practice and in games, and we‚??re starting to finish off games.‚?Ě
Dallas got on the board quickly in the first half as John Murray took a cross pass from A.J. Nardone in front of the net and cashed in for the 1-0 lead with the clock reading 37:16.
Then some bad luck arose for Lehman.
Nardone‚??s first of three goals came with 28:11 left in the first half when he fired a shot that sailed right through the hands of Lehman keeper Colin Masters for a 2-0 lead.
The teams battled scoreless for nearly 60 minutes before Nardone‚??s second tally with several players battling in front of the net. Masters was on the wet turf fighting for possession but couldn‚??t grab the slick ball as Dallas went up 3-0 with 9:34 left in the second half.
And then the floodgates opened as Nardone closed out his hat trick less than 30 seconds later for a 4-0 lead. Matt Saba added a score with 6:21 remaining for the match‚??s final score.
‚??They had a solid defense and we got two early so that boosted our confidence and lowered them,‚?Ě said Nardone, a junior.
The Black Knights, who lost their second straight after beginning the season 6-0-1, had opportunities, but the Mountaineers defense made sure those chances quickly evaporated.
Austin Harry appeared to have defenders beat on two separate occasions only to see Zach Goodwin and Dante DeAngelo come from behind to track him down and kick the ball away.
‚??I think for 60 to 70 percent of the game it was fairly even,‚?Ě Black Knights coach Mike Kostrobala said. ‚??We gave up the two goals early and once we settled in, I felt we had them under some pressure. We had some scoring opportunities, but the third (goal) broke our back.‚?Ě
The teams also played to raise cancer awareness. The Black Knights wore purple jerseys with white ‚??Coaches vs. Cancer‚?Ě lettering. On the campus, there was a canister at the concession stand for donations, and at halftime spectators attempted to score a goal for a $1 donation to the fund.
Dallas 5, Lake-Lehman 0
First half: 1. DAL, John Murray (A.J. Nardone) 3rd minute; 2. DAL, Nardone (Dante DeAngelo) 12th. Second half: 3. DAL, Nardone (Blake Pertl) 71st; 4. DAL, Nardone 71st; 5. DAL, Matt Saba (DeAngelo) 74th
Shots: DAL 13, LL 5; Saves: DAL 3 (Casey Barrett), LL 5 (Colin Masters); Corners: DAL 6, LL 1.