Springdale boys score 5 second-half goals to pull away from Seton LaSalle

Saturday, October 31, 2020 | 5:58 PM

Springdale’s boys soccer team spent the first half of its quarterfinal match against Seton LaSalle trying to get a feel for the Rebels’ tactics.

That approach led to a scoreless first 40 minutes at Peters Township as the teams vied for a berth in the WPIAL Class A semifinals.

In the second half, the tone changed dramatically.

Duncan Caltagarone scored a pair of second half goals to spark the Dynamos (12-1) to a runaway 5-0 victory that sent them to their fourth concecutive semifinal appearance. Springdale will face top-seeded Greensburg Central Catholic.

“The first half, we were moving the ball and seeing what they had,” Springdale coach Cesario Sanchez said. “In the second half, we changed our game and do what we do, which is possess the ball, make those diagonal passes and go to the goal, and it works.”

The first goal was scored in the 47th minute after an impressive play on the end line by Dynamo sophomore Chris Mitchell. He not only kept the ball in play, he made a solid feed to Caltagarone, giving Seton LaSalle (12-3) freshman keeper Nick Cherry no chance to make the save.

“That’s what we practice,” Sanchez said. “We take the ball to the side. We take the ball to the end line, and we don’t just put it on the six. We put it on top of the penalty line and let our guys run in.”

Rebels coach Nick Balzer said his team’s fear was halftime. Seton LaSalle was down five starters for different reasons and had just a couple of subs available off the bench.

“We executed our gameplan pretty well, but we knew halftime was going to be our biggest enemy,” Balzer said. “We battled in the first half and got to halftime, and the body did what the body is supposed to do. You start feeling it after sitting down.”

Mason Gent added a goal in the 66th minute before Caltagarone scored again. Billy Lawrence netted the fourth on a breakaway, and Mitchell scored the final goal. Those three goals came within 5 minutes of each other late in teh game.

The game got a bit chippy in the middle of the second half after some physical, hard-nosed play. Sanchez said he responded by getting some of his starters out to avoid trouble.

“Subbing and some injuries forced us to change some things late,” he said. “I didn’t want guys getting hurt any worse or getting involved in anything.”

Seton LaSalle’s season comes to an end and with it, the culmination of the impressive careers of six seniors, whom Balzer said will be missed for their efforts on the pitch and off it.

“They’ve been great leaders off the field and are just a really great group of kids,” Balzer said. “Thank God we didn’t have any issues with the virus, and I think this year, with that, speaks to them as a group and how excellent they were.”

The Rebels will build from the back with Cherry.

As for the Dynamos, it’s a date with the Centurions in the WPIAL semifinals Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Last season, Greensburg Central Catholic defeated Springdale, 4-2, in the WPIAL semifinals and 1-0 in overtime in the PIAA quarterfinals.

A trip to the WPIAL title game again will be on the line.

“They lost a lot. We lost a lot, and we’re excited to play them again,” Sanchez said.

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