Tigers returning to finals
By Jim Lane
For the Mirror
Craig Shale and the Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers got the rematch they wanted. It’ll be Hollidaysburg versus Bellefonte in the District 6 Class 3A boys soccer final Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Mansion Park.
Shale’s Tigers, the No. 3 seed, took care of No. 2 Bishop Carroll, 4-1, on Monday at Mansion Park while top-seed Bellefonte was beating No. 4 Huntingdon, 1-0, at Bald Eagle Area.
Hollidaysburg beat Bellefonte in last year’s title game at Mansion, but the Tigers are still smarting from a 1-0 loss to the Red Raiders earlier this season.
“It was cold, windy and rainy on a narrow, grass field that also was half of the baseball field,” Shale said, recalling the Tigers’ regular-season setback at Bellefonte.
“It will be good to play them on a nice field like this (Mansion Park),” Shale continued. “It would be nice to get a little revenge, plus my seniors want to go out with a win.”
The Tigers’ roster features 10 seniors and seven starters, including keeper Seth Lowey.
“We definitely want another shot at Bellefonte,” Lowey said after dispatching Carroll. “We came out short the first time but I think we’ll come out all right (in the final), if we play our game.”
Hollidaysburg dominated Carroll, getting a pair of goals and an assist from senior forward Dominic Daily. Senior midfielder Connor Pielmeier and sophomore forward Jacob Roach also scored for the Tigers.
Roach’s goal came less than four minutes into the game, but Carroll tied it 15 seconds later on a penalty kick by Alex Karlheim.
Daily’s goals at 15:15 and 12:52 gave Hollidaysburg a 3-1 advantage at the half and Pielmeier clinched it with a score with 5:36 to play in the second half.
“Until that last goal, there was always a chance of them coming back,” Shale offered. “We controlled the ball well the second half. If we could have put a couple chances away, it would have been a little easier.
“I thought Bishop Carroll played well,” Shale continued. “It was the first time we played them. They’re a good, little team but they aren’t used to playing bigger schools, so it was an adjustment for them.”
“With our speed, we thought we could beat them with some long balls,” BC coach Brian Maykovich said. “But, we couldn’t get the ball over their backline. If we had played a little more possession, we might have been more effective.
“On the other hand, their possession is excellent,” Maykovich said. “They just probed us and probed us and got the shots they wanted. They were able to play the game they wanted and we allowed them to do that.”
Shaler agreed that ball control is the name of the game.
“Keep the ball. Maintain possession,” Shaler said. “We tried a lot of things in the first half but the ball kept running on the turf.
“The key to winning is keeping possession,” he said. “They played back a lot so our midfield had a lot of chances and controlled the ball better in the second half. I thought we deserved a couple more goals, but we spread them around and that was nice.”
Game notes: Carroll has a co-op program with Portage, Penn Cambria and Northern Cambria but Maykovich said Penn Cambria will have its own program next season and Portage players will play with Penn Cambria, not BC, which probably will drop to Class 1A. BC had only three seniors. … Commenting on his 11-8 record, Shale said: “I didn’t think we’d have that many losses, but we’re in the finals.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Hollidaysburg 3 1 — 4
Bishop Carroll 1 0 — 1
First half: H–Roach (Daily assist), 35:18; BC–Karlheim (unassisted), 34:18; H–Daily (Lowey assist), 15:15; H–Daily (A. Naugle assist), 12:52.
Second half: H–Pielmeier (Scordo assist), 5:36.
Records: Hollidaysburg (11-8); Bishop Carroll (12-6-1).