Catty boys soccer push toward playoffs
Catasauqua boys soccer head coach Josh Inman said that his players will scratch and claw for every inch of the field, and that fighting spirit was necessary to pull out the 2-1 over Palisades on Saturday morning.
It was especially apparent after the Pirates knotted the score on a penalty kick when the Roughies were cited for a handball.
With the game now 1-1 at the 6:37 mark of the second half, the Palisades equalizer may have been a deflating moment after dominating most of the game. But any despondency was erased just under two minutes later when Luis Del Rosario got good position in front of the goal and got his head on a ball, flicking it past Pirate keeper Stephen Yannett.
The forward, who must contend with taller players almost every time he takes the field, said the key is establishing good position.
“[I] just get in front of them and read the ball,” said Del Rosario.
He said it boils down to getting a good read, and then timing it with an early jump to win in the air.
He said he wasn’t expecting to get the header, but once his teammate found him in the box, his initial thought was to head it over to another one of his teammates.
“I was looking for someone else to score the goal, but I ended up flicking it in,” he said.
“He’s our little workhorse up front,” said Inman.
Inman said that he has a good, strong body and positions himself well. He said that his mentality is to flick as many balls as he can, many of those winding up at the feet of Damian DiPaolo.
“This time it was for him for his chance,” Inman said.
Del Rosario said that they could have easily hung their heads after that tying goal.
“Getting that header in really turned everything around on our side so we could win,” Del Rosario said. “It was probably the best feeling I’ve had all season.”
It was another example of seizing the moment and never quitting.
“The fight mentality that we have, that these small-town boys have, they don’t sit down, they don’t give up,” said Inman.
He said it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, big or small.
“They’re just going to go out and fight for it,” said Inman. “That’s the one thing I love about our Catty boys, the inside fight and the desire to do it.”
Inman said that DiPaolo was another example of that fight mentality. He put the Roughies ahead 1-0 when he beat the keeper with a shot to the near post. He had to deal with two defenders cutting across, but he managed to get off a strong shot, notching his 13th goal of the year.
“It’s a pretty strong showing for a junior,” said Inman. “It’s the third season in a row with him being our leading goal scorer.”
DiPaolo almost duplicated that feat later in the game under almost identical circumstances, but the goalkeeper corralled it in time.
Inman said that the team’s applying what they’ve been taught in practice by the coaching staff, and it’s paying dividends. He said the days where opponents look at them as an easy victory are gone.
“They deserve that respect; they deserve that honor,” said Inman.
While the first half presented a number of golden opportunities, the Roughies were able to convert some of those opportunities in the second half. It was the formula Inman was looking for.
“It was get that chance and let’s go,” he said.
Catty’s ability to prevail against Palisades finish raised their season record to 5-7, and now they’re looking for their first district bid during Inman’s three-year tenure. It’s something that Inman believes is on target, especially since they’ve eclipsed last year’s win total with six games still remaining.
“They deserve it the way they play,” said Inman. “They have faith in one another. They’re hard workers.”
With those six games remaining, Inman expressed his desire to be among the top eight teams to qualify for the district tourney.
“I think we can solidify that spot,” he said.
This week the Roughies will face Notre Dame-Green Pond, Northern Lehigh and Northwestern Lehigh.