Penncrest at Conestoga Girls Soccer
It was “Stoga White Out Night” at Teamer Stadium in Tredyfrinn Township on Tuesday night, October 10. Two of the top girls’ soccer teams in the Delaware Valley and the Central League met for a showdown.
Penncrest Lions, in red, and the Conestoga Pioneers, in white, brought chants of “red forever, white for never” from the large contingent of the visiting team, the Lions. The home team, the Pioneers, also with a significant following, mostly dressed in white, vociferously rooted on their girls who are highly ranked and had a record of 10-2 going in against the Lions who were atop the standings at 12-0.
Penncrest was able to boast about being undefeated and one of the only two (along with East Pennsboro of District 3) soccer programs in the state that were also unscored upon, until last week when a goal slipped by left footed keeper extraordinaire-junior Bryn McLaughlin against Strath Haven. Up until then, she had recorded ten consecutive shutouts, quite an achievement at any level.
Sarah Hughes and Carly Dunford head up a solid back line of defenders which also includes Katie Sperling, Kenna Kaut and Logan O’Donnell. Head coach Mike Deleo has been very pleased with the results this season to say the least. The Lions have been winning with solid fundamental soccer, a family atmosphere and great team chemistry.
Conestoga has also enjoyed a very successful season thus far and this was the game of the year for the Pioneers. They were geared up for the challenge. Featuring a very strong defense, starting with stalwart keeper Maeve Regan, a very athletic and energetic presence in the nets all season, the Pioneers put up a stifling defense of their own.
The first half resulted in a 0-0 defensive battle. Conestoga was able to clearly grab the advantage on offense with a 5-1 edge on shots on goal. Unfortunately, both teams suffered a serious injury (reported as MCLs by medical staff at the game). Emily Wertz of Conestoga and Carly Dunford of Penncrest were the recipients of those injuries in a very physical contest which featured players being spattered all over the pitch.
The nil affair continued until Katelyn Donovan of the Pioneers found the net in the 60th minute of play on a long shot that the Lions’ McLaughlin nearly caught on a dead out flying effort through the air, only the second shot to bypass her this season.
Extreme quickness and speed was demonstrated by all the forwards on both teams, with Kristi DiRico, a midfielder normally, continuously breaking out on the left wing and forcing Penncrest to constantly be chasing her in the late part of the game.
One yellow card each was issued by the officials towards the end to keep things under control, as the Lions pushed hard to tie the match. “Rest when the game is over,” screamed Penncrest head coach Deleo. “Gotta win everything, clear big and mark up with no fouls,” came back the retort from Conestoga head coach Benjamin Wilson.
The game ended 1-0. The only score came from Donovan, who was mobbed afterwards by her teammates, with Stoga also getting the edge in shots on goal at 10-4. Both of these squads will be heard from again moving forward to the district and state tournaments.