WILKES-BARRE — After 40 minutes of play, Thursday’s matchup at Coughlin felt awfully familiar for the Dallas boys soccer team.
Leading by a goal after one half of play, the Mountaineers (8-3-1) were in the same position Tuesday, holding a one-goal advantage over Crestwood at the half before the game ended a 1-1 tie.
At halftime, Dallas head coach Chris Scharff gave his players two options: they could either pick up the intensity to start the second half and score some early goals or play to a tie, like they did Tuesday.
The Mountaineers chose option No. 1.
Two quick goals to start the second half turned a one-goal lead into a three-goal cushion as the Mountaineers pulled away to bury Coughlin 4-0. With the road win, Dallas was able to avenge an early-season 5-2 loss at the hands of the Crusaders (6-4-2) on Sept. 19.
“I told them we have to finish our chances,” Scharff said of his halftime message. “When we finish our chances, when we finish we’re a pretty good team, but we don’t always finish.
“Coughlin’s a good team and very tough to play, especially here at their field, but with Coughlin you have to get a lead and it helps you. You never want to let Coughlin get the lead. So we get the lead, it helps us. I wasn’t comfortable with a 1-0 lead, not against Coughlin at their field because I knew they were going to come after us. When we got the second goal that was huge.”
The aggressive play of Dallas freshman Zach Holthaus gave the Mountaineers an early 1-0 lead after positioning himself next to the left goal post and capitalizing on a feed from Nico Deluca. Holthaus got the ball and was able to bury it in the top right corner of the net with 33:23 remaining in the first half.
Holthaus also got the ball rolling to start the second half, making the most of a free kick just outside of the box to give Dallas a 2-0 with 38:44 remaining in regulation.
“They just crossed it and I trapped it and I decided to hit it because there was no way to play it to someone else, I was right in front of the goal,” Holthaus said of his first goal. “I was trying to put (my free kick) lower corner.”
Leading 2-0 early in the second half, Deluca took it upon himself to put the game out of reach. After missing on three breakaways in Tuesday’s 1-1 tie at Crestwood, Deluca wanted to finish the job against Coughlin.
Deluca’s first of two goals came on a goal kick from Eric Llewellyn, who sent the ball all the way across the field. The goal kick found and open Deluca, who made it a three-goal game.
Then almost 25 minutes later, Deluca put away the Crusaders for good, scoring on a one-on-one with the Coughlin goalkeeper to make it 4-0 with 9:47 remaining in regulation.
“I just ran up and hoped that there was going to be a weird bounce, and I kept flowing to the ball and I saw the ball hit my feet and I just put it in the corner for the score,” Deluca said of his first goal. “(The two goals) gave me a lot of confidence going into future games and getting closer to playoffs. It’s giving me a lot of confidence because I haven’t been playing up forward for long, so since I’m starting to play it, it’s giving me a lot of confidence.”
Deluca and his teammates look to carry the momentum into a wide-open District 2 3A tournament, which is less than two weeks away.
“No doubt it’s up for grabs,” Deluca said of districts. “The best team, whoever’s going to play the best, strongest, 100 percent is going to win the district.”
Wyoming Valley West 8,
Pittston Area 0
Jake Gurtis had a hat trick and added a pair of assists in Wyoming Valley West’s route of Pittston Area. Valley West’s Kyle Yusko also netted a pair of goals in the win.
The Spartans outshot Pittston 50-3.
Tunkhannock 7, Wyoming Area 0
Drew Tinna and Billy Prebola led the way, each scoring a hat trick, in Tunkhannock’s win over Wyoming Area.
Wyoming Area goalkeeper Jason Mapes registered a game-high 11 saves.
Dallas 4, Coughlin 1
First half — 1. DAL, Zach Holthaus, 33:23. Second half — 2. DAL, Holthas (Nico Deluca), 38:44; 3. DAL, Deluca (Eric Llewellyn), 32:56; 4. DAL, Deluca (Owen Sprau), 11:22.
Shots — DAL 18; COU 13. Saves — DAL 4 (Kyle Greenwood/Cory McAndrew); COU 2 (David Kosik). Corner kicks — DAL 5; COU 5.
Wyoming Valley West 8, Pittston Area 0
Wyoming Valley West`7`1`—`8
First half — 1. WVW, Kyle Yusko (Jake Gurtis), 4:52; 2. WVW, Yusko (Gurtis), 19:22; 3. WVW, Gurtis (Nate Naugle), 19:42; 4. WVW, Gurtis (Claas Nemitz), 21:42; 5. WVW, Gurtis (Eric Baron), 23:17; 6. WVW, Joyssen Gonzalez (Nemitz), 26:55; 7. WVW, Nemitz, 37:44. Second half — 8. WVW, Mitch Forgash (Scott Nilsson), 71:10.
Shots — WVW 50; PA 3. Saves — WVW 0 (Marco Pernisco/Davis Weaver/Chris Stoodley); PA 21 (Shane Syms/Jordan Powers). Corner kicks — WVW 12; PA 0.
Tunkhannock 7, Wyoming Area 0
First half — 1. Drew Tinna (Avery Newhart), 5:00; 2. TUN, Tinna (Damon Williams), 8:00; 3. TUN, Stefan Sica, 9:00; 4. TUN, Billy Prebola (penalty kick), 21:00; 5. TUN, Tinna (Sica), 29:00. Second half — 6. TUN, Prebola (Jaxson Montross), 58:00; 7. Prebola, 64:00.
Shots — WA 8, TUN 22. Saves — WA 11 (Jason Mapes); TUN 8 (Matt Goodwin/Cage Gregory). Corner kicks — WA 2; TUN 8.