Schmidhammer keys Lions past Tigers

By Philip Cmor

pcmor@altoonamirror.com

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Rumor is they are making a sequel to the movie “Bend It Like Beckham.”

It’s going to be called “Spin It Like Schmidhammer.” It started filming at Hollidaysburg’s Tiger Stadium on Thursday night.

Jarrett Schmidhamer’s shot about 4 minutes into the second half of a back-and-forth high school boys soccer match appeared to have been snared by Hollidaysburg goalkeeper Seth Lowey. However, the ball took a positive spin for the Altoona Area senior and crawled over the goal line for the go-ahead goal.

The Mountain Lions rode the momentum to a 4-1 victory, avenging an early-season loss to the Golden Tigers and sending their record to 11-2-1.

“Once he hit the ground, I saw it go behind him and I was hoping ‘Please go in,'” Schmidhamer said of his game-winner, which came with 36:12 of the second half off a feed from fellow senior Jarod Marasco. “I saw I was open on a through-ball, and I was hoping Jarod would put it right where I wanted it. He put it right there for me, and we got the goal out of it.”

Altoona, whose first and final goals came from freshman Austin Kravetz, is dueling State College for the No. 1 seed … as if the Mountain Lions needed any further incentive for their second match of the season with the Tigers.

“We were really trying to get (the win) back,” Marasco said. “We’re crosstown rivals. It’s always a big game. Always has been.”

The match was knotted at 1-1 heading into the second half. Altoona turned the tables on Hollidaysburg from the earlier meeting by scoring first, Isaac Townsend assisting on Kravetz’s first tally. The Tigers, though, answered, when Jacob Roach slipped a pass upfield to Lucas Scordo, who put the ball past Altoona netminder Brady Freiwald for the equalizer about 17 minutes later.

Both teams had eight shots on goal in the opening half, but Altoona coach Dave McCarter made some changes that paid off for the Lions after the intermission.

“We knew they were going to man-mark (Alex) Berardinelli, because they did it in the first game. But they started to send another midfielder up, so our defense basically had more guys than they could handle,” McCarter said. “(The players) looked at me and said, ‘Coach, we’re overloaded.’ So we slid back into a 4-4-2, kept Alex up top with help. We put Austin up there, and he responded. Big chess match between the teams.”

Hollidaysburg triumphed 1-0 at Mansion Park the first week of the season. The Tigers had a couple of decent opportunities to even it up before Berardinelli’s goal off a rebound with 10:51 to play essentially iced it — the best coming when Scordo got free for a long lead at 18:20, but Freiwald came way out to aggressively challenge, and Scordo’s rushed kick went wide right.

The Tigers dipped to 9-6.

“I thought the first half was a great advertisement for local soccer. It was a great open game,” Hollidaysburg coach Craig Shale said. “Second half, both teams came out flat, and we just kind of ran out of steam. They got a couple of sloppy goals. They had fresher legs.”

Altoona outshot the Tigers, 7-3, after the break. Schmidhamer’s goal came on the Lions’ first shot on goal of the second half.

Kravetz turned into the other somewhat unlikely hero for the Lions with his two goals.

“You know some kids have talent coming in, but going from junior high to varsity soccer is a big jump. You never know how they’re going to respond, produce. He’s been a pleasant surprise,” McCarter said.

Just after entering the game, Townsend crossed the ball to a wide-open Kravetz, who knocked it home at 29:02 of the opening half.

“It was very important. We were coming down the line. The ball came out. I took it down to the end line, hit a negative ball to Austin, and he put it in the back of the net,” Townsend said. “I think it’s important to get these (younger players involved), because they’re the future of the program.”

Schmidhamer said, veteran and frosh alike, the Lions have grown since the earlier meeting with Hollidaysburg.

“We’ve gotten more chemistry. We were more prepared,” Schmidhamer said.

And, maybe, they had some good fortune on their side this time, too.

“You just hope it works out for the best,” McCarter said. “It’s a little bit of spin, a little bit of luck.”

Match notes: The junior varsity teams played to a scoreless draw before the varsity took the pitch. … The Mountain Lions travel to Central Mountain on Saturday. … Hollidaysburg’s next match will be the Golden Tigers’ senior night, hosting Mifflin County on Monday.

SCORE BY HALVES

Altoona 1 3 — 4

Hollidaysburg 1 0 — 1

First half: A–Kravetz (Townsend), 29:02; H–Scordo (Roach), 12:43.

Second half: A–Schmidhamer (Marasco), 36:12; A–Berardinelli (unassisted), 16:51; A–Kravetz (Young), 8:26.

Records: Altoona (11-2-1); Hollidaysburg (9-6).

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