Lehighton School District began a new chapter this school year by leaving the defunct Mountain Valley Conference and joining the Schuylkill League for all sports and the Anthracite League for football.
The Indians’ boys’ soccer team took advantage of that fresh start by finishing the 2014 regular season with a 15-3 record overall, a 10-2 mark in the Schuylkill League and earning a league title.
Fifth-year head coach Dave Yob admits he had an inkling that this season might be just a little different.
“A few weeks before the start of the season, I took my two assistants, Joe Zarelli and Dylan Smith, out to dinner and we discussed the upcoming season,” Yob said. “We were in agreement that this could be a special year for us. We knew that some things needed to come together for the success to happen but we have been extremely pleased with the results.”
The regular season success carried right over into the postseason for Lehighton, in what is just the second winning season in Lehighton boys’ soccer’s 19-year history. The Indians captured the league title, the first title of any kind for the program, by defeating Nativity in the semi-final and Blue Mountain in the championship game.
Yob admitted that capturing the league championship was a part of the team’s pre-season goals, a team that, according to Yob, needed every member to fulfill those goals.
“We have received solid contributions from the entire team throughout the season,” he said. “It has really been a total team effort to get us to this point. To single out any one person would be an injustice to the others who have worked just as hard. While some have excelled on the offensive end, our defense has done a solid job as well.”
Some individuals who stand out statistically are juniors Joe Marks, Zach Christoff, Dan Baka, and sophomore Frank Bokan, all of whom have netted at least 10 goals this season.
Additionally, sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Dietz was near the top of the league in shutouts during the course of the regular season.
The success of those offensive and defensive players transitioned Lehighton into the District 11 3A tournament as the top seed as well. The team defeated Notre Dame Green Pond of the Colonial League, 3-1, but was upset by fifth-seeded Northwestern, 5-0, last Tuesday at Northern Lehigh’s Bulldog Community Stadium.
Despite all of the talent that every player on this roster possesses, Yob believes how they play together on the pitch it the biggest ingredient to the team’s success.
“I would say that our team chemistry is very good,” he said. “The members of the team are friends off the field and get along well. Yes, they have their moments where they get upset with each other, but that exists in any family.”
This family may be finished for the season, but when they come together for a reunion next fall, it could even be more explosive.