Nov 29, 2022
By Tom Schmitt
For the Mirror
The 2022 scholastic soccer seasons ended quite differently for area teams in the district championships.
The Central Lady Dragons in Class 2A had found a way to win all year long. Through 20 straight games, they had scratched and clawed to remain undefeated. That included two very tough wins over arch-rival Bedford in regular-season matchups.
But in the district final, the Lady Bisons battled the entire game and, down very late in the game, found a way to tie the contest with less than five minutes to play. Bedford carried that momentum through two scoreless overtime periods to win the district championship in a shootout, ending Central’s 20-game winning streak. Both teams advanced to the state playoffs, but both were shut out in the first round — Central fell 7-0 to Clearfield while Bedford was stopped 2-0 by Mount Pleasant.
The same disappointment met the Altoona Lady Lions in their 4A District 6 final against Mifflin County, a team they had beaten during the regular season, But the return match for the district title went to Mifflin County, 2-1.
The Altoona boys met their perennial contender for the 4A crown, the State College Little Lions. Ever since the PIAA restructured to four classifications, the 4A final comes down yearly to State College and Altoona in a one-game battle for the title. Earlier in the season, State College had downed Altoona, 5-0, with relative ease, but Altoona was without their ball-controlling scoring machine Kade Black.
Black made a difference in the district championship, but State College, which has incredible depth and plays a rugged regular-season schedule in the Mid-Penn Conference, still had too much fire power and went away with the title by a 3-1 score.
For the Hollidaysburg Golden Tiger boys and girls squads, the District 6 3A titles continue to roll in. The Hollidaysburg boys broke a 3-3 halftime tie to dominate a second period and go on to a 6-3 win for the championship, their fourth straight title for coach Craig Shale. The Hollidaysburg girls have been unstoppable in District 6 3A as they shut out Bellefonte, 2-0, for their seventh consecutive title and gave first-year coach Tristan delGiudice his first title.
The Bishop Guilfoyle girls battled mightily to grab the District 6 1A crown but came up just short in two overtime periods to Penns Valley. The BG girls have been unfortunate in dropping the last three District 6 1A finals.
The long awaited World Cup play for the USA men began in Qatar, the first time the Cup has been played in the Middle East.
The American men are the second youngest team to ever take the field, with only one returning veteran in the starting lineup from the USA team which last appeared in Cup play eight years ago.
Playing in Group B, the American men faced off against Wales in their opening game, dominating play for the first 45 minutes and held a 1-0 lead until a sloppy, badly timed foul gave Wales a penalty kick that they converted and the game ended with a 1-1 tie.
Against England on Friday, the Americans played suprisingly well against the Brits but were unable to get the ball in the back of the net with the game ending 0-0. With only Iran remaining in their group play, they are in a must win situation in their game today.
The USA men have played well but could not finish and garnered only one goal in their first two games. Win, and they will move on to the round of 16s, finishing second to England in their group. Lose, and they go home and await the next World Cup in four years. No doubt, much of this young roster will be returning for the following Cup as the players would only be in their later 20s.
The local indoor soccer season is now under way.
Summit Tennis and Athletic Club Soccer Director Mike Alianiello, in his 16th year of running soccer programs, currently has his Fall Indoor League started. He has 72 teams active in play, including u-8, u-9, u-10, u-11, u-13, u-16 and u-19 boys age groups and u-15 and u-19 girls divisions, along with an adult men’s open and over-30 bracket as well.
The league started on the first weekend in November and will run until Dec. 18. Alianiello will run one tournament this year — on Jan. 14-15 there will be a boys high school and junior high tourney along with a men’s open bracket. On Jan. 21-22, junior high girls and senior high boys, and women’s open will play.
Alianiello is expecting a strong turnout of teams for this tourney. The former Summit Indoor Classic held here no longer exists.
Tom Schmitt writes a monthly soccer column for the Mirror.
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