Soccer Notebook: Week 4

By Alex Frazier

Meet…Jeff Henstenburg
Cheltenham’s Jeff Henstenburg makes music with his feet, his hands, his lungs and his brain.
His first great performance of the year on the soccer field came in the Upper Dublin game.
After starting the season with two non-league losses by a combined 7-0 score, you might have thought the Panthers would be shell-shocked.
Not so.
They came out against the two-time defending American Conference champions, which by the way they were 0-6 against in the previous three years, and took a 2-0 lead.
But the Flying Cardinals weren’t going to swan dive so easily as they came back to take a 3-2 advantage at the half.
Given their past, the Panthers might have swooned, but enter the virtuoso.
Henstenburg, who plays stopper, pushed up inside the 18 and tied the game up with 10 minutes left.
“It was a testament to how hard he works,” said coach Nick Zegestowsky.
“That was a huge win for us,” said Henstenburg. “It built up confidence.”
Henstenburg is perhaps better known for his defense than for scoring goals.
“He’s probably one of the best tacklers in the business,” said Zegestowsky. “I have yet to see him lose battles. He’s not necessarily the fastest guy in the world, but when it comes to having a heart, he comes up huge. He’s gifted athletically, physically, takes on all challenges and provides us with a lot of inspiration.”
As a senior captain, Henstenburg is the anchor of the defense.
Henstenburg has been playing soccer as he said, “for most of my life.” He’s been playing for the Hunter Soccer Club for six years. He started playing at Cheltenham in ninth grade and has been on the varsity the past three years.
When he isn’t making music with his feet, Henstenburg is creating it in other ways. In fifth grade he started playing the clarinet and since then has become accomplished on clarinet, saxophone, guitar and drums.
In school he plays in the jazz band, two concert bands, a percussion ensemble and the marching band, which he has to juggle with soccer practice and games.
Last summer he was hired to play guitar for a theater company.
And somewhere in between all these activities, he manages to study.
The music he makes with his brain has earned him a 3.78 GPA and a 23rd ranking in his class of 309.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “I don’t have time to socialize. I just have to plan ahead and get it done when I have time.”
He hopes to be able to play soccer in college, but admits that it will depend on where he goes because his choice will be based on academics, not soccer. Right now he’s considering Penn State, American, Bucknell, Villanova, Cornell and Boston University.
He’s planning on majoring in biological science with an eye to pre-med.
Patriots reload – No one close to soccer expected Central Bucks East to be rebuilding this year, even though the Patriots lost eight starters to graduation, seven of whom are playing in college. With a veteran coach like Mike Gorni at the helm, that doesn’t happen.
But some people might have been surprised to find the Patriots 4-1 in their first five games of the season.
They scored 11 goals and gave up just one—to defending state champions Downingtown West in the season opener.
In the Continental Conference, they won their first four games by 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, and 4-0 scores before being tripped up by Hatboro-Horsham 1-0 on Wednesday.
C.B. East features no superstars like Sean Peckham, Alex Shubert or Michael Whitaker this year.
“We’re very much a work in progress,” said Gorni. “We’re very different. In our team concept, we’re all playing very hard together. The boys are trying to do better as a team because we don’t have that upper level individual player. But we do have a lot of good players.”
Gorni is relying on his three returning players that do have extended varsity experience, namely, Dan Christiansen, Ryan Apt and Fran Miller.
“They’re doing a great job,” said Gorni.
Christiansen has moved to centerback from outside midfielder. Gorni has used five players in four defensive positions, including Matt McPherson, Steven Adams, Ben Auteri and Michael Gleason.
Last year’s backup goalie Shane Donovan has stepped up this year with four shutouts.
“He’s learning as we go,” said Gorni. “He’s done a very nice job so far with a lot of people working hard defensively in front of him.”
One difference in this year’s team is that Gorni is going more to his bench. On offense alone he has been using seven or eight different players.
“The guys are coming in and working very hard and we’re able to keep fresh up top,” he said. “We haven’t had a multiple scorer in any game yet.”
Gorni has been around the game long enough to be cautious in his optimism after five games.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming in,” he said. “I don’t know what to expect now. We’ve been winning, but we’ve been inconsistent during games. It’s tough when you’ve won the last two league championships and have done so well in districts and states. You’re not going to get anybody’s ‘B’ game. We’re going to get a lot of team’s best games.”
Case in point—Hatboro-Horsham.
Gorni knows the season is still young and a lot can happen in the last 13 games.
“We could easily go the other way if we’re not careful,” he said, “and we know that. We’re a team that has to take one game at a time. We have to fight and claw each game.”
Around the league – One thing you can be sure of in this year’s conference races is that you can’t be sure of anything. Until Wednesday there were five undefeated teams in the SOL. Central Bucks East, which was a surprise 4-0 (and unscored upon) lost to Hatboro-Horsham, 1-0, leaving just CR North, C.R.  South, Cheltenham and Wissahickon with unblemished records.
• In the National Conference, Council Rock North continues to cruise along with its latest win over Neshaminy, 2-1. Steve Neumann accounted for both goals.
C.R. South is keeping pace as it turned aside a feisty, injury-riddled Abington 2-1.
Eddie Adams gave Pennsbury a 1-0 win over William Tennent to keep pace with the leaders.
In a battle for the basement, Harry S Truman edged Bensalem, 2-1.
• In the Continental Conference, Hatboro-Horsham’s Chris Russomano is on a roll. He scored two game-winning goals in as many games, as the Hatters edged Central Bucks South 1-0 and then shocked undefeated Central Bucks East 1-0.
The East loss gives Pennridge new life. With C.B. East’s loss to Hatboro and the Rams’ 4-2 win over Quakertown, the two teams are tied for the lead (3-1).
C.B. South recovered from the loss to HH by whitewashing Souderton 6-0.
• Upper Moreland is enjoying early success in the American Conference. The Golden Bears nipped Plymouth Whitemarsh 1-0 and breezed by Upper Merion 4-0 on a pair of goals from Tommy Hayes.
PW put a feather in its cap by beating Upper Dublin 2-1 on Brandon Johnson’s game winner from 35 yards out.
The Flying Cardinals are limping along this year as they also lost to neighboring rival Wissahickon 3-1 on Sepp Dasbach’s game winner in the 43rd minute.
SOL Top Five
1.   Council Rock North
2.   Council Rock South
3.   Pennsbury
4.   Central Bucks East
5.   Pennridge
Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association (through Sept. 20)
1. Council Rock North. . . 5-0-0
2. North Catholic. . . 5-0-1
3. Lower Merion. . . 5-1-0
4. Pennsbury. . . 4-1-1
5. Father Judge. . . 4-0-1
6. La Salle. . . 4-1-0
7. Central Bucks East. . . 3-1-0
8. Conestoga. . . 6-0-1
9. Downingtown East. . . 6-0-0
10. Unionville. . . 5-1-1
11. Abington. . . 3-2-0
12. West Chester Rustin. . . 6-1-0
13. Germantown Academy. . . 2-3-0
14. Upper Darby. . . 3-1-1
15. Archbishop Wood. . . 5-0-0
16. North Penn. . . 4-2-0
17. Phoenixville. . . 5-1-0
18. Haverford School. . . 2-0-1
19. Downingtown West. . . 3-1-2
20. Archbishop Ryan. . . 4-2-0
Others receiving votes: Central, Central Bucks South, Christopher Dock, Great Valley, Lansdale Catholic, Malvern Prep, Neshaminy, Octorara, Pottsgrove, St. Joseph's Prep, Shipley, Strath Haven, Washington, West Chester Henderson, West Chester Rustin.
(Week of Sept. 21)
1. Council Rock North (1) previous rank 1
2. Mt. Lebanon (7) 2
3. Parkland (11) 6
4. Pennsbury (1) NR
5. Central Dauphin (3) 8
6. Conestoga (1) 10
7. Manheim Township (3) 3
8. Chambersburg (3) HM
9. Unionville (1) 7
10. North Catholic (12) NR
Honorable Mention: Conestoga Valley (3), Lower Merion (1), Peters Township (7),Upper St. Clair (7), Wyoming Valley West (2).
NSCAA Region III National Rankings
(Sept. 22)
1. St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) 2 - 0 - 0  
2. Council Rock North (Newtown, Pa.) 6 -  0 - 0  
3. The Pingry School (Martinsville, N.J.) 4 - 0 - 0  
4. Mount Lebanon (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 6 - 0 - 1  
5. Parkland (Allentown, Pa.) 6 - 0 - 0  
6. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 1 - 0 - 0  
7. Ramapo (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) 1 - 0 - 0  
8. Pennsbury (Fairless Hills, Pa.) 4 - 1 - 0  
9. Scotch Plains (N.J.) 3 - 0 - 0  
10. Central Dauphin (Harrisburg, Pa.) 6 - 1 - 0  
11. West Orange (Orange, N.J.) 3 - 0 - 0  
12. Conestoga (Berwyn, Pa.) 6 - 0 - 1  
13. Manheim Township (Lancaster, Pa.) 5 - 1 - 0  
14. Rancocas Valley (Mt. Holly, N.J.) 3 - 1 - 0  
15. Chambersburg (Pa.) 6 - 0 - 0