Six SOL boys’ soccer team advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal round while five girls’ squads advanced. To view photos of the Neshaminy/CR South and Abington/CB South boys’ games as well as the Neshaminy/Garnet Valley girls’ game, please visit the Photo Gallery.
#8 Central Bucks East 0, #9 Wissahickon 0 (10-9PK’s)
In what East coach Mike Gorni called ‘the longest game of high school soccer’ he has ever endured, the #8 Patriots defeated #9 Wissahickon after battling for three hours. East and Wissahickon squared off during the regular season, and the Patriots handed the Trojans one of their only two losses.
In Thursday’s rematch, both teams battled through regulation and two sessions of overtime without scoring a goal. The Patriots outshot the Trojans 14-9 and had most of the possession in the first half, but it was clear this contest was between two very evenly matched teams.
“Wissahickon was absolutely terrific,” Gorni said. “They are a great young team. They are coached well, and it was a really good game.”
After playing 110 scoreless minutes, the stage was set for penalty kicks. After the first round of five, the two teams were tied 3-3, and from there on out, it was sudden death.
Wissahickon drained six shots in a row, putting a lot of pressure on the Patriots, who had to answer each one or lose the game and their chance at a state tournament bid. They answered the call.
Finally, keeper Jacob Nesteruk found the net on his attempt as the Patriots’ 12th shooter. He returned to the net to stop the Trojans’ next shot. That brought East’s Nick Kane to the line, and he found the back of the net to give his team the victory.
Gorni commended the goalkeeping of both teams. Trojan keeper Neal Guaglianone kept the Patriots off the board for 110 minutes, and coach Stuart Malcolm credited him with an outstanding performance as well.
“We turned over too many balls, gave up a few opportunities, and when we got possession we didn’t keep it,” said Malcolm.
Malcolm was impressed with East’s ability to rise under pressure during the penalty kicks.
“Hats off to the CB East players for holding their nerves on six straight PK’s that they had to make,” the Trojans’ coach said. “We worked hard to get here, and you only get so many opportunities in the playoffs. I’m very proud of the players for their performance throughout the playoffs.”
The Trojans, who closed their season with15-2-2 record, had not given up a goal in three hours and 10 minutes of playoff soccer until Thursday’s shootout.
The Patriots will face top-seeded WC Rustin in Saturday’s quarterfinals. East, which hasn’t lost a game since Sept. 24, will aim to keep its winning streak alive.
#13 Souderton 1, #4 Conestoga 1 (4-3 PK’s)
The Indians, under coach Tom Quintois, have reveled in the role of giant killer when the district tournament rolls around. Last year, the Indians – seeded 23rd out of 28 teams – advanced to the district quarterfinals. This year, they’re back at it again, this time upending the defending state champs on their home turf in Thursday’s second round.
“This team is capable of doing a lot of good things,” Quintois said. “We just have to get into the (state) tournament. Our goal all year long was to get to states. It would have been nice to win the league, but finishing fourth in our league, there’s no shame in that. Those teams could all make it to states and win a state championship. They’re that talented, that well coached.
“This was as good a high school game as you’re going to be a part of. It was two really skilled teams, two really athletic teams. Either team could have won that game. We were very, very fortunate and very thankful to be on the winning side of it. It was well deserved on our part.”
Neither team scored in the first half of Thursday’s showdown.
“They came out, and they were flying, and we really were really slow,” Quintois said. “We caught a few breaks, and that calmed us down. We really did a super job of regaining our composure and started putting passes together.
“By the end of the first half, we were the better team. The second half started, and they had all the momentum, for some reason.”
It took just seven minutes for the Pioneers to break the scoreless tie with a goal, but the Indians regrouped.
“We got our feet back and stayed composed,” Quintois said. “(Tyler Afflerbach) made some acrobatic saves. Otherwise, that game is over.”
With 14 minutes remaining, Wilson Gonzalez turned a Ryan Molyneaux pass into a goal to knot the score.
“Ryan played a ridiculous ball and split their defense with a through ball, and Wilson put a fantastic touch on it and then finished at the back post,” Quintois said. “It was a great goal.
“At that point, we had a lot of momentum, and we were dangerous all night long on set pieces.”
Two overtimes could not determine a winner, and penalty kicks ensued. Afflerbach came up with a save on Conestoga’s first shot, and when Molyneaux buried his shot, the Indians had an early 1-0 lead. The Pioneers connected on their next shot to knot the score, and the tie remained intact after the Indians missed. The Pioneers took a 2-1 lead on their next shot, but Wilson Gonzalez knotted the score. Again, the Pioneers connected to go on top 3-2, but Jeff Wolf answered to even the score. Another Afflerbach stop set the stage for Nick Stulb, who won it for the Indians.
“(Afflerbach) had about six saves tonight, but it wasn’t the quantity, it was the quality of his saves,” Quintois said. “He is so good, and he’s such a leader back there. He gave up that goal, but nobody is down.
“We could have packed it in against the state champs, but we did not.”
There was plenty of credit to pass around after Thursday’s huge win.
“Tyler MacDougall was a force in the midfield, and we were really good defensively,” Quintois said. “We moved Nick Stulb to left defender because we knew how good T-Ben Donnie is, and he did a really good job.”
Elija Pizzo was given the daunting task of containing senior captain Andrew Gonzalez.
“Elija did an awesome job,” Quintois said. “They’re just so dangerous. They’re fast, they’re athletic. They can beat you playing direct, they can play through the midfield, but our guys were really composed.
“I think we did wear them down a little bit in the second half.”
The Indians will take on fifth-seeded Downingtown West in a quarterfinal game on Saturday.
#15 Pennsbury 0, #2 Great Valley 0 (3-2 PK’s)
The #15 Falcons upset second-seeded Great Valley in the second round of the district tournament on Thursday. The Patriots had just one loss in the regular season but found themselves in an evenly matched contest when they took on the Falcons. The Falcons had the better of the possession for much of the game, but coach Tom Stoddart admitted that Great Valley’s defense made it difficult to find the net.
The game was scoreless through regulation and two overtimes, resulting in penalty kicks. Both teams missed their first attempts, but Sam Uprichard put the Falcons on top 1-0 after he buried his team’s second kick. Pennsbury’s Charlie Rushing and Colin Marks then converted back-to-back kicks while the Patriots also made their third and fourth attempts, allowing the Falcons to maintain a 3-2 edge. The Falcons’ fifth attempt was saved by the Patriots’ keeper, and fans were on the edge of their seats waiting to see what the Patriots would do. Great Valley’s fifth shot sailed toward the goal and ricocheted off the post, bringing an abrupt end to the Patriots’ season and vaulting the Falcons into Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Pennsbury will travel to seventh-seeded North Penn on Saturday.
“We just have to try to and recover after another exhausting effort,” said Stoddart of his squad, which has now been to overtime in both their playoff games.
According to Stoddart, the Falcons’ game plan is simple as they plan to “just go out and play,” and perhaps up their winning streak to eight in the process.
#7 North Penn 2, #10 Lower Merion 1
The #7 Knights took down #10 Lower Merion after scoring both their goals in the first half on Thursday. Fifteen minutes into the game, Sean Gorman scored off a Zach Miller assist to take the early lead. Eight minutes later, Matt Robinson capitalized on a penalty kick to increase the lead to 2-0 for the Knights. The Aces scored their lone goal in the 50th minute when Matt Lindheim found the net. The Knights’ defense was successful in holding off the Aces and preventing a tying goal for the remainder of the game. Particularly instrumental in the win was keeper Dave Selverian, who had some great second half saves that allowed his team to stay on top despite the Aces’ heavy pressure.
Coach Paul Duddy also credited central defender Gorman’s performance in the victory. “He’s our last defender and reads the game well and covers,” the Knights’ coach said.
Gorman is not only a key defender but joins the attack on the set pieces and was able to give the Knights momentum by scoring the first goal.
The seventh-seeded Knights, who have now won eight in a row, will host #19 Abington, which upset #3 Central Bucks South on Thursday.
“It’s the quarterfinals, so stakes are higher and we hope to continue to play great defense and use our speed and personnel to get behind them and keep pressure on them,” said Duddy.
#19 Abington 2, #3 Central Bucks South 1
The third-seeded Titans, after a bye on Tuesday, were caught off guard by the way the 19th-seeded Ghosts attacked the ball off the opening whistle. The game plan of the senior-led Ghosts was simple: score at least two goals to win.
That mission was accomplished before 5 minutes had elapsed.
Forty-three seconds into the game, Danny Shephard fed a ball across to Kyle Rocks, who wasted no time rifling a shot past the Titans’ keeper Matt Weigner. A little over three minutes later, Weigner lost control of a slippery ball outside the net during the misty afternoon, and the Ghosts’ lethal weapon - Kyle Rocks - picked it up and knocked it in an open net to give the Ghosts a 2-0 lead.
The Ghosts were energized by their early lead and played the best game of their season with the right combination of determination and heart. Armed with a 2-0 lead, Abington continued to control a lot of the play and win a lot of balls they don’t normally win against a Titan squad unaccustomed to finding itself in an early hole.
“I think they might’ve thought we were going to sit back and play defense because of all the weapons they have,” says Ghosts’ coach Randy Garber. “They are a skillful team.”
After scoring two quick goals, the Ghosts still had over 75 minutes left to keep the Titans away from their net. The Titans picked up their play in the second half, knowing what was at stake. For the final 40 minutes, CB South pushed toward goal, firing shot after shot, often from up to 30 yards out. In the 47th minute, Pat Berneski finally succeeded in putting the Titans on the board off a restart, and now the Ghosts had to make sure South did not score the equalizer.
Their simple strategy as Garber described it was – “don’t let anyone get behind you.”
The combination of senior defender Chris Tracey and midfielder Billy Natter did just that for most of the game.
“Tracey was stellar in midfield,” said Garber. “They are used to just possessing and get behind defense, but Tracey didn’t allow it.”
According to Garber, Tracey, who moonlights as the kicker for Abington’s football team, was cleaning up balls in his team’s 18 and booting them 50-60 yards.
But the person Garber gave the most credit for in the victory was keeper Austin Brockman.
“The difference today was our goalkeeping,” the Ghosts’ coach said. “Austin Brockman was superb, he made save after save. He was brilliant.
“South has a lot of talent. They are a very skilled team.”
Brotman racked up 15 saves.
The Ghosts have the daunting task of facing the National Conference champion Neshaminy Redskins on Saturday. Abington has yet to beat the ‘Skins, falling twice in the regular season, but Garber hopes the momentum of the team’s last two wins will be enough to pull off their third upset in a row.
“They’re pretty excited,” he said. “We haven’t been back to districts since ’07.
“We didn’t play as well as we were capable of during the season, it’s a nice time to put things together.”
#6 Neshaminy 2, #11 Council Rock South 1The third time was the charm for the Redskins, who won a thriller over their neighboring rival in the second round of district play on Thursday. The ‘Skins suffered their only league loss to the Indians on Sept. 19 and tied them in their second meeting on Oct. 11, so they were happy to get one more chance at a victory.
The Golden Hawks didn’t waste any time getting on the board when, at the three-minute mark, Mike Stufsky headed a ball into a corner. That 1-0 lead held until the half.
“They came out really high pressure,” Neshaminy coach Tom Foley said. “Thirty minutes in, we had a lot of the play, so we were pressing and pressing.”
Not only did Neshaminy need to penetrate South’s back line in order to score, they knew they would have to control standout Julian Antal, who has been the key to the Golden Hawks’ attack. Senior stopper back Pat Raykovitz was given that task, and he prevented Antal from getting more than a few weak looks at the goal.
“Raykovitz has been solid all year, but this is the first time he was asked to mark someone out of game,” Foley said.
With Antal under control, Neshaminy’s Reynaldo Bonilla got the ball off a scramble throw-in and deflected it into the net midway through the second half to knot the game 1-1. It appeared as though overtime might be inevitable until - with 43 seconds remaining - Austin Transue put nice chest pass over a South defender into Cody Minnick’s path. Keeper Tyler Caffey stepped out to defend Minnick, and he chipped it perfectly over Caffey’s head into the net for the win. Coach Foley called it “a high quality finish.”
Foley commended the work of senior defender Mike Pfender as being instrumental in the victory.
“He was winning every ball and got our guys in motion,” the Redskins’ coach said. “He was fabulous and very difficult to get by tonight.”
The Redskins will face yet another National Conference foe in the quarterfinals when they take on #19 Abington, which already has upset two higher seeded teams in the tournament.
“Abington is a handful,” Foley said. “We beat them twice in the regular season, and it will be another battle.”
#8 Central Bucks East 2, #9 West Chester Rustin 1
A Patriotic Knight - By Ben Winderman
What a night for Central Bucks East!
When the 13th Patriot shooter Nick Kane buried his PK to advance the Patriots past Wissahickon, excitement erupted at War Memorial Stadium.
“Luckily the hospital is close by,” joked East boys coach Mike Gorni, smiling and patting his heart. Elsewhere Souderton’s Tom Quintois was celebrating a PK shoot-out victory over 4th seeded Connestoga, and Paul Duddy was rejoicing over a 2-1 North Penn triumph over Lower Merion. What a day for the SOL!
Hats off to the Abington boys who upset Continental Division Champs CB South, thumbs up to Chris Freudig and his CB West girls’ soccer team who find themselves back in familiar quarterfinal territory, and three cheers for Audrey Anderson and the Pennridge Rams who always seem to find a way to win. If you’re reading this and a fan of soccer in the Suburban One league then an ovation for you as well!
Not that the night needed a finale, but the CB East girls provided one for good measure. Starting nearly an hour later than originally planned, the Patriots clawed their way to the third round of districts, by defeating an excellent West Chester Rustin squad.
“For me, Rustin is such a strong team,” said East Coach Paul Eisold. “We knew this was going to be difficult, all credit to their players and their program.”
The potent Patriots applied sporadic pressure early but struck emphatically at the midway point of the first half. Taylor Mysza drove a restart into the WC box, and after the ball fortuitously bounced towards Nicole Pannella, the junior midfielder drove it past the Golden Knights keeper Ashley Rundell, giving East a 1-0 lead.
To Rustin’s credit, they responded with more aggressive tactics. As if taking turns, Rustin attackers Jackie Smiler, Maddie Moran, and Andrea Gunderson ran at the East defense testing Patriot goalkeeper Paige Marcinkowski twice. As usual the junior stud was up to the test.
Ten minutes into the second half, Rustin would score the equalizer.
“Maddie (Moran) made a great run,” said West Chester coach Joe Corba and she earned a penalty kick. Andrea Gunderson found the left panel, and the fans at War Memorial braced for the possibility of a stalemate. Before East fans had a chance to tremble, their team’s true quality emerged. A series of crisp passes culminated in a give and go from Shaun Kane to Abby Emmert. Emmert plunged towards the Golden Knight’s goal and roofed a shot past WC’s Rundell. This time the Patriots would make their lead stand.
“This was our goal,” explained East center back Jess Haug, a three-year varsity player. “We lost in the second round last year, so we really wanted this game.”
For the next 28 minutes, East, led by Aimee Chimer and Annie Axenroth, dug in and won crucial tackles in the midfield. Meanwhile, Haug and junior defender Mariah Lichter stymied the Rustin attack. Ali Walker and Pannella covered swaths of ground on the flanks, and Marcinkowski remained sure handed in the goal. When the final whistle blew, the East girls rushed to their goalkeeper, showing appreciation an gratitude for their anchor woman in the net.
As for West Chester Rustin, they were a different team that the one the Patriots had defeated 2-0 back on Sept. 22.
“We’re a tight knit group,” smiled coach Corba. “We’re a family.”
As a family, they held their heads high and left Warm Memorial to the players, fans, and coaches of Central Bucks East. Remember Oct. 25, 2012 as an evening for the ages. Both the Patriot girls and boys march on, seeded 8th in their respective tournaments, but sitting alone tonight on the top of a soccer throne of glory.
#4 Pennridge 4, #20 Council Rock South 1
The Continental Conference champion Rams used their bye on Tuesday to rest and prepare to face #20 Council Rock South, a squad they defeated 3-1 in the regular season. Megan Shenk scored a pair of goals in the first half (Ashley Butcher assist) to send the Rams into the intermission with a 2-0 lead. In the second half, Shenk sent a corner kick to Madison Iverson, who converted it for the goal and increased that lead to 3-0. South got on the board when Nicole Caffey found the net midway through the second half, but that would be the only goal Hawks only goal as they struggled after losing Paige McDowell to an injury in the first half. Shenk controlled the ball again late in the half and registered the helper on a Natalia Pinkney goal.
The Rams, who now boast an eight-game winning streak, will host #21 Central Bucks West in Saturday’s quarterfinal contest. The Bucks already have upset two higher-seeded teams.
#21 Central Bucks West 1, #5 Conestoga 1 (5-4 PK’s)
The Bucks continued to prove the strength of the SOL as they pulled off their second consecutive upset in the district playoffs, defeating #5 Conestoga and ending their remarkable 12-game shutout streak.
If the Pioneers thought they wouldn’t have to do much to cruise by the #21st-seeded Bucks, they got a wake-up call when West’s Sophie McKnight scored in the 33rd minute (Holly Piles assist).
The Pioneers answered when Grace Edgarton scored the equalizer in the 48th minute. West generated some excellent chances in the second half, squandering a few and watching a goal called back due to a questionable offsides call.
Neither team would find the net again in regulation. Heading into overtime. the Bucks felt comfortable being on the attack against the fifth-seeded Central League power because they knew keeper Grace Bendon was backing them up in case of an error.
“It’s amazing how she keeps the team in it,” coach Chris Fruedig said of his 6-foot sophomore goalie. “She deserves a lot of credit. She’s very tall and makes the goal look very small.”
Bendon stepped it up during overtime as well, turning away any chance the Pioneers could generate, but the Bucks couldn’t connect either sending the game to penalty kicks after 30 scoreless minutes of OT.
Conestoga had the first shot and went up 1-0 but missed their next two while the Bucks buried their second and third, giving them a 2-1 lead. The Pioneers nailed their next three in a row to even it up at 4-4. West then needed to answer every goal the Pioneers made to stay in the game, and they did just that. Tied 4-4, going into the seventh shot, the Pioneers missed it, and it was up to McKnight, who drained her final PK.
Fruedig remembers losing to the Pioneers in 2010 in the quarterfinals, and it stuck with his team and helped fuel their motivation to knock them out of the tournament.
The Bucks will face #4 Pennridge on Saturday. The two teams split their two regular season games.
#2 Neshaminy 4, #15 Garnet Valley 0
The second-seeded Redskins upped their shutout total to 12 after blanking #15 Garnet Valley in second round play. The ‘Skins dominated the game and hardly allowed the Jaguars a shot on goal the entire 80 minutes of the match. Coach Rachel Clemens said that her team started the game with a lot of intensity, which allowed the Redskisn to get on the board after only four minutes when Fran Donato scored off an assist from Erin Farrell. The ‘Skins continued to fire away at the net and made it 2-0 when Jess Kelly scored using an assist from Megan Schafer.
Although her team was on top 2-0 at the half, Clemens made sure her players knew that the game plan was to score one more to earn them some breathing room. In the second half, senior Jamie Mason scored a pair of goals, both off Schafer assists, to give her team the commanding lead.
The Redskins will host league rival Pennsbury on Saturday at noon. Neshaminy beat Pennsbury both times in the regular season (2-1, 4-1).
“It’s our rival,” Clemens said. “It will certainly be a tough game. We will have to be focused and ready.”
#10 Pennsbury 2, #7 Boyertown 1
The visiting Falcons upset the Bears at Bash Memorial Stadium on Thursday night in the second round of district playoffs. The Falcons started off strong, and in the 26th minute, Lexi Brown buried a shot from 25 yards out that ended up in the top of the net.
“We knew they had 16 shutouts, so it was important to get a goal in as fast as possible,” Battiste said.
Sophomore Megan Engeland - who, according to Battiste, played with poise beyond her years - was the next to score early in the second half, increasing the lead to 2-0. Uche Onuoha had assists on both goals.
Shortly after the Falcons went on top 2-0, the Bears beat the Falcons’ defense and found themselves trying to put one past keeper Sarah McDonald. The Bears squeaked it by McDonald, but Bridget Congdon made a goal line save to preserve the lead. The Falcons continued to possess the ball, but the Bears, who were fighting to stay in playoffs, finally scored in the 58th minute when Robyn Piveateau found the net.
The Falcons and McDonald, made sure the Bears didn’t score again and came away with the victory.
Battiste credited Courtney Bennett for turning in a solid showing and noted that Brown was especially influential in their play-off victory saying.
“She played out of her mind,” the Falcons’ coach said.
The plan for Saturday when the Falcons will face league rival Neshaminy, according to Battiste, is “to try not to change our game too much. We will put our best foot forward and come at them with a couple of different attacks.”
The Falcons dropped both regular season games to the Redskins, who they will take on at noon in the Quarterfinal game.
#3 Owen J Robert 3, #19 Central Bucks South 2
The third-seeded Wildcats appeared to be on their way to an easy win after jumping out of the gate to a 2-0 halftime lead, but the Titans refused to go down quietly, rallying to knot the score. They lost a heartbreaker when the Wildcats scored the game winner with 22 seconds remaining in regulation.
“It’s been that way all year,” coach Joe Bocklet said. “No team plays with more heart and fight than us.”