Marc Narducci: Spieker steps up big in Cherokee's 3-0 win

The playmaker scored two goals against Holy Cross.

Posted: October 16, 2011

Jason Spieker is capable of scoring, and his Cherokee soccer teammates and coaching staff have always urged him just to be a little more selfish.

An accomplished passer, Spieker can also make teams pay if given the space and the encouragement to shoot. He had both on Saturday, and it resulted in his scoring twice as top-seeded Cherokee defeated No. 16 seed Holy Cross, 3-0, in an opening-round game of the South Jersey Coaches Tournament.

Ranked No. 1 in South Jersey, Cherokee (12-0-2) will face Washington Township in the second round sometime this week. That's a Township team the Chiefs have tied and beaten in overtime.

Last season Spieker had nine assists before suffering a season-ending back injury, before the Chiefs' run to the state Group 4 title.

He's been up to his passing ways again this year. Spieker now has 11 assists after getting one on a goal by Mike Ryan.

His two goals doubled Spieker's total this season to four.

"Jason is so unselfish that he thinks pass-first," Cherokee coach Anthony Gallo said.

Spieker credited Ryan for helping him score, even though Ryan technically didn't have an assist on either goal.

Angelo Dambalas fed Spieker, who connected from inside the box in the 22d minute for the game's first goal. Spieker fed Ryan for the second goal in the 29th minute and then contributed the third on a shot from just outside the box, an unassisted score in the 52d minute.

What Ryan did, other than scoring his 15th goal, didn't show up on the stat sheet, but was just as important.

"He was taking two defenders with him and leaving me a lot of space," Spieker said.

Ryan, who has committed to Temple, is arguably the most dangerous offensive player in South Jersey. So teams will try to make others beat them, and that is where Spieker comes in.

"He's always looking for others, but he can score as well," Ryan said of Spieker.

Holy Cross (10-2-2) is a deceptive No. 16 seed. The Lancers almost struck first when Sean Reilly hit the crossbar on a 20-yard blast in the third minute. After that, Cherokee appeared to settle down in a game that was both physical and chippy.

The Lancers knew about Spieker's reputation as a playmaker, and it was a priority to contain him in their game plan.

"We identified Spieker, Ryan, and Dambalas as players who move the ball around and have to be stopped," Holy Cross coach Tom Guida said. "Give Spieker credit."

Actually Spieker doesn't care who gets the credit, as long as the Chiefs keep their winning ways. Scoring may not be something that he is accustomed to, but if that is what it takes for the Chiefs to continue on their roll, he is more than willing to oblige.

Holy Cross 0 0 – 0

Cherokee 2 1 – 3

Goals: C–Jason Spieker 2, Mike Ryan.

Saves: HC–Joe Randazzo 17. C–Barry Fitzgerald 7.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225,,

or @sjnard on Twitter.

Find his Rally columns


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