First Posted: 9/22/2014
Dallas let a late lead get away Wednesday night.
Nate Wood made sure the Mountaineers got it right back.
Wood’s second goal of the game, with 1:39 remaining, lifted Dallas to a 2-1 victory at Lake-Lehman in a battle of Back Mountain boys soccer rivals in the annual Lt. Michael Cleary Memorial Soccer Match.
The win allowed Dallas to maintain its hold on the Cleary Cup, which honors the memory of the 1999 Dallas graduate killed in action in Iraq in 2005. Cleary was captain of the Dallas soccer and tennis teams before playing both sports at Hamilton College.
The Mountaineers controlled play for much of the night, beginning with two excellent chances that went just wide in the game’s first 10 minutes.
When Nick Wnuk scored off a Tanner MacDougall assist with 7:20 left to lift Lake-Lehman into a tie, much of that work was in danger of going to waste.
“I thought we played a great game, we were all over them, all over them, all over,” said Dallas coach Chris Scharff, who thought Lake-Lehman was off side on the tying goal. “We hit the post, we missed three or four others, their goalie made three or four really good saves.”
The result of the game left Dallas and Lake-Lehman at 6-2 and in a virtual third-place tie with Tunkhannock (4-1-1) in the highly competitive, 10-team Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2. It also gave Scharff hope of better times ahead for the Mountaineers.
“This is the first game where we actually looked good,” said Scharff, who has been experimenting with different lineups and different formations. “We were on a big field and we actually passed.
“I wanted them to prove to me they could pass on a big field and they did. And, we pressured the ball. I was happy. Lehman has a good team.”
Dallas built advantages of 12-6 in shots and 3-1 in corner kicks.
Collin Masters made eight saves for Lake-Lehman, but he had no chance on Wood’s goals.
Wood dribbled up the left center and got off a shot from about 15 yards out, sending off the post and into the net with 2:03 left in the first half.
“I see space and I just go,” Wood said.
Scharff praised Wood’s combination of being able to control play as a center midfielder while also being able to be a serious scoring threat.
That was evident again, when Wood worked his way through a crowd and got off a quick left-footed shot for the winning goal.
“Nate is one of the best, if not the best, players in the league,” Scharff said. “His speed and quickness are unmatched.”
Jesse Goode made four saves for Dallas.
Lake-Lehman tied the game less than a minute after Masters made his two best saves of the night, including one on Wood, back-to-back.
“I thought we should have had at least a two- or three-goal advantage when they scored that goal,” Scharff said. “We have to put the ball in the net and we wouldn’t have to worry about it.”