Altoona knocked out by McDowell

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Altoona Area High School boys soccer team’s dream season is over.

The Mountain Lions upended State College, 1-0, last Tuesday at Bald Eagle Area to capture their first District 6 championship since 2007, but the Lions’ stay in the PIAA state tournament was brief.

The Mountain Lions scored early against District 10 champion McDowell, but the Trojans got a pair of second-half goals and held on for a 2-1 victory in a PIAA subregional Class 4A game Saturday at Tiger Stadium.

Senior midfielder Michael Bartley scored from about 15 yards out, giving Altoona a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

“We had a lot of chances in the first 20 minutes,” Altoona coach Dave McCarter noted. “We had a lot of looks on goal, including one that hit the crossbar.”

After a nifty run, Alex Berardinelli passed to Christian Schandelmeier whose blast hit the crossbar and rolled away.

“That would have been a great start (2-0) but, obviously, it wasn’t meant to be,” McCarter said.

“Altoona’s goal happened extremely early in the game,” McDowell coach Jamie Smith said. “In a game like this, you let the emotions settle down. Once that happens, you have confidence in the ability of your team.

“The marching orders at halftime were ‘find a way to win,'” Smith said.

The Trojans followed the coach’s orders, scoring twice early and then protecting the lead.

After a tripping call against Altoona, McDowell’s Trent May converted a penalty shot to tie the game at 1-1. A brief time later, May fed Ben Moseley, who buried a shot into the corner of the cage for a 2-1 advantage.

There was no more scoring.

“We opened them up and had great looks,” McCarter said. “We just sat back too far and held our central midfield a little bit in a defensive stance when we probably should have played in the midfield a little more.

“There were only a couple of minutes between goals for them in the second half and that’s tough to come back from,” McCarter said. “We were fine mentally, but we have a defensive-team-first mentality and we didn’t come out of that shell and try to push for the goal.”

McDowell coach Smith felt the momentum swing after intermission.

“After our first score, we had some momentum,” Smith said, “and the best time to capitalize is after you score and take advantage of the momentum.”

Second-year head coach McCarter was happy with the Lions’ 11-4-2 season and is looking forward to the future.

“It was a great season from a fantastic group of kids,” McCarter said. “There was a great effort from them from Day 1 until today. I was impressed with the effort these kids put forth on and off the field.

“They’re a fun group to be around and, after seeing them every day, it’s a tough way to end the season.”

Game notes: Altoona graduates seven seniors — Bartley, Shamar Casimir, Jesse Hamilton, Jarod Marasco, Evan Noll, Christian Schandelmeier, and Jarrett Schmidhamer — and returns several key underclassman, including sophomore goal keeper Brady Freiwald, who had 11 shutouts.

SCORE BY HALVES

McDowell 0 2 — 2

Altoona 1 0 — 0

First half: A–Bartley (unassisted), 4:59.

Second half: M–May (unassisted), 5:00; M–Moseley (May), 6:56.

Records: McDowell (11-5-2); Altoona (14-4-2).

COMMENTS