by Christopher Williams, Reporter
After falling short in their first four games, the Jim Thorpe Boys Soccer team won four straight games against Tamaqua, Schuylkill Haven, Lehighton, and North Schuylkill within the last week to boost their record to 4-4 overall this season.
“We truly started believing in getting one win at a time, and we had a lot more confidence in each other,” said senior captain, Ian Montelius. “Once we started scoring, we knew the floodgates were open for us.”
During their first four games, the boys soccer team fell to Pen Argyl, Blue Mountain in overtime, Palmerton, and Pine Grove; all games that the team feels should have resulted in wins.
“I think the biggest piece of it was that we were playing too relaxed and not beating teams to the ball,” said new head coach, Mike Dudak. “When we did control the ball, we were controlling the ball, but we weren’t controlling the game.”
To everyone on the team and who had watched their games, it was obvious that changes needed to be made.
“There’s no doubt in any of us that we deserved to win just about all of our games, but scoring goals was an issue again and again,” said Montelius, the senior center back. “The obvious changes that were needed were a couple positional changes to the lineup. But more specifically, we needed to gel together and play more as a team.”
Changes were made and definitely seemed to pay off as the Olympians traveled to Tamaqua to face the Blue Raiders for their next game. Sophomore midfielder, Alex Putt, broke the stalemate with a volley off of a corner kick in the first half, and junior forward, Ryder Wallace, netted a second half free kick to seal Jim Thorpe’s first win of the season.
“What started clicking was that more players started buying into the style of play we’re playing now, which is different than we have played in the past,” said Dudak. “I think that they just started trusting each other more. The ball got moved around more and there was more confidence and more opportunity.”
Following the Tamaqua win, the Olympians remained hungry for more. Their next games involved matchups between Schuylkill Haven, Lehighton, and North Schuylkill.
Going into these games, Coach Dudak stated that, “I think once the first win was there, the floodgates opened. We outshot most teams, we just didn’t finish properly, and I think once a few goals went in, that changed it.”
More than a few goals went in for the Olympians as they beat Schuylkill Haven 5-2, ran all over Lehighton in a 5-0 victory, and confidently tallied an 8-2 win against North Schuylkill, bringing their overall record to 4-4 on the season.
“The goal for the rest of the season is to win every game one at a time because there isn’t a single team on our schedule that we aren’t capable of beating,” said Montelius. “We want a district champions banner, and we have what it takes to get there. Even though the last game is October 14th, we plan to play well into November.”
The upcoming boys soccer schedule includes away matches between heavyweights Pottsville and Blue Mountain, and also a home game against Northern Lehigh within the next week. They will certainly be hoping to keep this streak going for the remainder of their season.