Tigers wins second straight district title
The Hollidaysburg Area High School boys soccer team used a blue-ribbon performance to win its second consecutive district gold medal Thursday night.
Hollidaysburg sported a balanced offensive attack that featured goals from four different players, and the Golden Tigers dominated play territorially for 80 full minutes, en route to a 4-0 victory over Tyrone in the District 6 Class 3A championship game at Mansion Park.
The second-seeded Golden Tigers (8-5) got goals from junior forwards Braden Callahan and Shushant Dahal, along with scores from junior midfielder Ryan Frank and senior forward Atticus Imhoff, while carving out a decisive 17-5 shots-on-goal edge over fourth-seeded Tyrone.
“We never like giving up a goal in a game,” said Hollidaysburg coach Craig Shale, who said that his team will advance to the first round of the PIAA Class 3A tournament next Saturday, Nov. 14, against an opponent to be determined. “We played well, it was a good all-around effort.”
Callahan opened the scoring by booting a Dahal assist past Tyrone senior goalkeeper Landon Bungo from short range at the 12:40 mark of the first half.
Callahan also assisted on Frank’s header goal with 14:27 left in the first half to give Hollidaysburg a 2-0 lead at intermission.
“It’s amazing winning districts in back-to-back years,” Callahan said. “There was more pressure this year. Getting ahead tonight calmed our nerves.”
Imhoff’s goal off an assist from senior defender Andrew Wolford at the 16:11 mark of the second half staked Hollidaysburg to a 3-0 lead, and Dahal wrapped up the night’s scoring with a goal off a feed from sophomore forward Luke Jandora just over two minutes later at 18:31.
Imhoff has played two years of varsity soccer, and has been a member of both of Hollidaysburg’s two consecutive district title teams.
“This is my second year playing soccer, and I’m really glad to get the chance to win two District 6 titles,” Imhoff said. “Especially in the first half tonight, we played at a slower pace than we wanted to, and it felt like we were overthinking things.
“But we got the win, and that’s all that matters,” Imhoff added.
Dahal agreed that winning another district title was the top priority for Hollidaysburg.
“It feels pretty good, it was a team effort,” Dahal said. “Everybody came together. I’m glad to be a part of this team. I hope that we can continue to play this well at states.”
Tyrone, which finished 7-12, was playing without the services of senior star defensemanAlex Taylor, who scored all four Tyrone goals in the Golden Eagles’ 4-3 semifinal upset of top-seeded Bellefonte Monday. Taylor had suffered a concussion in the Bellefonte game, and sat out Thursday’s district final.
“Tyrone played well tonight, but the loss of Alex Taylor was tough to overcome,” Shale said.
Tyrone coach Alex Bartlett was happy with the grit that his team displayed in the district tournament.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys,” Bartlett said. “Hollidaysburg is a great team. We’re also a very good team, but it just wasn’t our night. It happens to the best of teams.”
After losing seven starters to graduation last spring, Shale saluted the contributions of his younger players in helping the Golden Tigers to successfully defend their district title this season.
“A lot of our younger kids had to step up this season, and that was a big key for us,” Shale said. “There were sophomores who we needed to rise to the occasion and perform, and for the most part, they did.
“It feels good to win back to back,” Shale said.
SCORE BY HALVES
Tyrone 0 0–0
Hollidaysburg 2 2–4
First Half: H–Callahan (Dahal), 12:40; H–Frank (Callahan), 25:33.
Second Half: H–Imhoff (Wolford), 16:11; H–Dahal (Jandora), 18:31.
Shots on goal: Hollidaysburg 17, Tyrone 5.
Saves: Hollidaysburg–Shale, 5; Tyrone–Bungo, 13.
Records: Tyrone (7-12), Hollidaysburg (8-5).