Pates top BC 4-2
Freedom boys soccer coach Matt Reightler was quick to state that Bethlehem Catholic could have caught the Patriots on Monday night after Freedom’s 4-2 victory over the Golden Hawks under the lights at Freedom.
“Their intensity was insane,” Coach Reightler said. “I thought we controlled the majority of the first half, but they scored on that corner, and then had a good shot and scored. As soon as that happened, they believed, and they played like it. They ran us through the ringer tonight, and they could have caught us.”
The Pates went up 2-0 in the first half on a goal by Sebastian Garces on an assist by Owen Lynn, and on another goal by Austin Hoffert on an assist by PJ Tichy, both within 11 minutes of each other.
But in the 30th minute, things began to change offensively for the Hawks when Becahi midfielder Alberto Cocirio took two shots on goal before teammate Peter Martinez scored off a corner kick by Sebastian Cortez.
“I was hopeful to put a good ball in, put an amazing ball in, and Peter was able to get to it,” said Cortez.
Freedom recorded the goal as an own goal, while Becahi recorded it for Martinez.
Then, in the 38th minute, Cocirio scored the equalizer from 30 yards out.
“We were on the back foot, and they had the momentum going into the second half,” said Garces. “We backed off the last 15 minutes of the first half, but then, I think throughout the second half, we controlled it.”
Both teams made adjustments at halftime.
“We did move the lineup a little bit in order to control the center of the field,” said Becahi head coach John Hohn, “which is where we were struggling the first half. Once we did that, I felt we were able to control the center a little better.”
The Hawks also subbed-in players up top to help with scoring.
“We tried to adapt and went to a different formation too,” Garces said. “We went to two up top to try and get a goal and it worked out. It was really intense. We weren’t expecting this, but they came to fight and so did we.”
Both teams went straight to work in the second half, starting with the Patriots’ Stephen Callaghan whose shot went just wide in the 47th minute. Tichy had a couple of close shots, and Garces’ shot hit the crossbar.
Becahi’s Jacob Manhardt just missed the left corner, and one of goalkeeper Christian Lopez’s biggest saves came in the 70th minute on a shot by Garces.
“[Christian’s] had an interesting season,” said Coach Hohn. “He started off real strong, had a couple of rough games, but today, he brought it back and did really, really well.”
As the match appeared to be headed to overtime, Tichy’s goal on an assist by Garces in the 77th minute broke the tie.
“It was honestly really hard (to defend against them),” said Cortez. “Their attacking is very good; I would say one of the best in the Valley. We tried our best defending them. Unfortunately, they were able to get through.”
With only a few seconds remaining, Garces took off after an assist by Lynn and scored with one second left.
“I knew as long as we fought, we were gonna get that chance. It just took a lot longer than it should’ve,” Coach Reightler said. “Right now, we are playing very good soccer. I think we’re stacking up exactly where we want to be, and Wednesday’s game against Nazareth will be that big test for us.”
The Hawks, who have already won against city rival, Liberty, and almost took city rival, Freedom, too, face Easton on Wednesday.
“This was a huge game,” said Coach Hohn. “The last three times I’ve been at this field, it’s been six, seven, eight to nothing, so to come out of this with what we had, they worked their butts off. They really did. I’m proud of them. We have three more games this week that are winnable in my opinion. This was the tough one of the week, so if they can play like this through the rest of the week, we’ll do well.”