Still The Team To Beat
WRIGHT TWP. — A quick burst of goals showed not much has changed early this season: Crestwood boys soccer is still the team to beat.
Max Gariano scored on a penalty kick and Hubert Herrera showed his range with a goal of his own before halftime. The two seniors each added another goal shortly after the break as the Comets continued the high-scoring start to their District 2 title defense.
Though Dallas cut the deficit in half, Crestwood’s 1-2 punch had already made it clear that the Comets aren’t going anywhere yet. They ultimately held on for a 4-2 victory Thursday night at home in a rematch of last season’s Class 3A district final.
“Honestly, we didn’t anticipate that,” Herrera said. “We wanted to continue playing our game, and our game brought us four goals.”
Herrera and Gariano both scored twice, and the latter got an assist from classmate Sean Murphy on his second goal.
Following two shutouts to open Wyoming Valley Conference play, Thursday was another sign of the potential Crestwood (3-0) has to build on last year. The Comets brought back much of the team that made their second state tournament appearance in three years.
“We had a very young team, a lot of juniors and sophomores. This year is kind of the year where it needs to happen for the seniors,” Crestwood coach David McFarland said. “The experience of going to states last year was real beneficial to everybody and kind of showed the guys going to states again is a possibility. But it’ll take a lot of work.”
Dallas (2-1) snapped Crestwood’s shutout streak to start the season with a successful penalty kick from Beaudyn Lewis and a goal from Zach Holthaus later in the second half. But the Mountaineers fell too far behind after some timely work by the Comets.
Crestwood took control of the first half but had to wait for Gariano’s PK to break open the scoreless match; he went left, while Dallas keeper Kyle Greenwood dove the other way. But, Greenwood stopped just about everything else that came his way that half, which included six corner kicks.
Greenwood also got his hands on Herrera’s first free kick of the night — then got help from the right post on the rebound. But Herrera had another chance minutes before halftime when he cleaned up a loose ball from a collision and fit a deep, low strike between Greenwood’s laid-out body and the left post.
The two kept it up in the second half. Only 25 seconds after Gariano made it 3-0, Herrera fired a free kick under Dallas’ jumping wall and into the net for the 4-0 advantage.
If there’s one thing Crestwood will look to fix before the teams’ next meeting, it’ll likely be its approach late in the game. Dallas kept pushing and was a close corner kick away from getting to a 4-3 deficit.
That aggressiviness was a positive sign for Dallas coach Chris Scharff, who called this early-season learning experience for the season and a chance to see how Crestwood would play the Mounts.
“I thought we did very well today,” Scharff said. “They lost four starters; I lost eight. So we knew it would be a building thing for us.
“To start off the season at Crestwood, to lose 4-2, it’s not that bad, I don’t think.”
FIRST HALF: Max Gariano (Cre) penalty kick, 16:08; Hubert Herrera (Cre) unassisted, 2:22.
SECOND HALF: Gariano (Cre) from Sean Murphy, 29:37; Herrera (Cre) free kick, 29:02; Beaudyn Lewis (Dal) penalty kick, 21:36; Zach Holthaus (Dal) unassisted, 18:19.
SHOTS: Dal 6, Cre 9. CORNERS: Dal 3, Cre 8. SAVES: Kyle Greenwood (Dal) 5, Chris Smith (Cre) 4.
Contact the writer:
@CVEricShultz on Twitter.