North Pocono soccer teams compete at 7th Annual Kotula Memorial Tournament
Both the North Pocono boys and girls varsity soccer teams got off to rough starts at the 7th Annual Jamie Kotula Kickoff Classic.
However, after early setbacks, the Trojan gentlemen as well as the ladies were able to enjoy a bit of success.
The Labor Day weekend spectacle of soccer has become the preeminent pre-season event pitting many powerhouses of the pitch against each other, signaling the start of Lackawanna League play and raising funds for a fantastic foundation.
No doubt things didn’t go the way Head Coach Graig Arcuie hoped they would for the Trojans.
In the opening match of the tourney, the NP lads drew against a very talented Western Wayne squad. Off a corner kick, just two minutes into the match, Leonard Johnson found the net for the Wildcats.
Before the half was up, Cameron Johnson would shake the silk twice and extend the Varden lads lead to 3-0. Western Wayne would tally one more goal in the second half off the foot of Jamie Ashby.
Down 4-0 just 19 minutes into the period, North Pocono finally stirred with a goal from Kohl Kincel, assisted by Cody Thompson.
Kincel would strike once more with seven left in the game off a kick from Tyler Reilly.
Reilly then would put one in the net later off a free kick.
In spite of the tremendous comeback and time ran out and the Trojans would be relegated to the wild card match later Saturday.
“We outshot Western Wayne 26-8,” said Arcurie.
“There was less than seven minutes of the game where we didn’t have control of the ball but we made four mistakes that they were able to capitalize on.”
Holy Redeemer’s Eric Schramm put one on the NP net with 18 minutes to go in the first half of the wild card game later Saturday evening.
Earlier in the match, a North Pocono goal was recalled for being offsides, but a Reilly made good on a penalty kick with 13 left in the half, tying it 1-1 at intermission.
Some confusion about a foul led to the Royals erroneously being awarded a free kick that set up Devin Doherty to score with 20 minutes left.
Another net shaker by Schramm put Redeemer up 3-1 with 14 to go, and that’s where it stayed. The Royals would contend for the title versus Lakeland on Sunday while the Trojans were awarded a consolation match against Holy Cross.
Before the Chiefs went on to claim the trophy, the Trojans tangled with the Crusaders. This time things went the way of NP.
A hat trick by Taggert Loescher, two goals each by Kohl Kincel and Derrick Kenyon, and one from Nate Kozik gave the North Pocono gents an 8-3 victory over Holy Cross.
Thus, the weekend concluded on somewhat of a high note for the Trojans.
“I wasn’t even sure we were going to play the consolation game,” Arcurie admitted. “But, I’m glad we did. It gave the kids more minutes with each other and we’re still working out how to get the older players playing better with the younger ones.
“We now have three games under our belt and the weekend gave us 240 minutes to tune things up before league play.”
Through a combination of strong defense and good goaltending, North Pocono's girls team was able to hold off the defending Kotula champions, Paupack, for all but the last seconds of the opening 40 minutes.
Amber Lutz scored for the Lady Bucks with 40 seconds left in the first half.
Madison Nakielny added a second Paupack goal with 36 left in the game and Paupack finally went 3-0 on North Pocono with four minutes to go thanks to a goal by Rachael Tirjan.
Unfortunately, the Lady Trojans couldn’t get much going offensively. They made just three shots on goal, all of which were saved by the Paupack keeper.
Ousted from the wild card slot by Holy Cross, the NP lasses had to settle for a consolation match against Valley View.
Lacey Rinaldi added two goals to her growing career tally and pushed the Lady Trojans to the 2-0 win against the Cougars.
“Our girls played strong defensively against Paupack for the first half,” said Head Coach Alisa Rickard.
“But, being down a goal going into the second half was tough.
“We didn't have a lot of offensive opportunities on Saturday, but our senior leadership took over on Sunday. They did a good job in the consolation game.”