Billed as the “Battle of the Brandywine,” the Ches-Mont League National division girls’ battle proved to be a bit of a mismatch last night in Chester County.
It was the Downington East Cougars against the Downingtown West Whippets, with East being the home team. The game was played under the lights in front of a big, raucous crowd.
The Cougars, who have had some success in recent years as Ches-Mont National Champs in 2010, ‘11, ‘13…District Finalists in ‘13 and District Champs back in ’09, were favored against their sisters separated at birth. All of these players know each other and have grown up playing against each other for many years.
East was favored in this tilt, being co-champs with W.C. Henderson last year and making it to the first round of the States. Only Conestoga and East from the Ches-Mont made the States.
West lost at least five players that they were hoping to have on the team to the Penn Fusion Academy. The players cannot play for both the Academy and the high school, and have chosen to finish their careers there in the hope of a better scholarship opportunity.
The same thing is happening on the boys’ side with the Union Academy in King of Prussia and the TSC Sports Academy in Wayne, following the European model of developing soccer talent.
Downington East also lost their 2016 player of the year, Emma Steiglewald, who chose to be a part of the US Developmental League as opposed to coming back as a senior.
First to score in this game was Livi Lawton, a junior midfielder, of East at the 34:09 mark of the first half. A 20-yard bullet, high right off very fine shielding and footwork, yielded the goal. That was followed quickly by Angela Carsela, a senior mid, at the 29:15 mark off a corner. Nine minutes later, it was quickly a 3-0 deficit for West when Rebekah March, a sophomore striker, got inside the box and fired a clean shot. At 1:32 remaining, a fourth goal by Amanda Wagner, a junior mid, resulted in a 4-0 halftime score. West was never able to recover.
This area of Southeast PA is a hotbed for soccer in both the girls and boys competitions. West has won five State titles for the girls’ side and four for the boys over the years.
Expect to see one or both of these Downingtown girls’ squads in the Districts and possibly the States in 2017.