SOUDERTON >> The final score didn’t validate the performance, but Jack Ziegler wanted to make sure Bishop Shanahan left the District 1 Class AA semifinal against Lower Moreland with a win.
Ziegler, known more for setting up goals rather then scoring them, decided to take on the daunting task of accomplishing both when getting the ball on the right wing in the 15th minute of a scoreless game.
The senior midfielder dribbled past a defender, lost the ball, recovered it and dribbled to the middle past three other defenders before firing a 20-yard shot past Lower Moreland keeper Mike Gould for the goal.
All in a day’s work for Ziegler, who continued to live up to his playmaker reputation.
“I just wanted to take a bunch of people on,” Ziegler said. “They kept diving so I kept dribbling. Eventually I saw myself in the middle of the park and shot it low and hard. Thankfully it went in.”
Ziegler’s goal was the difference in the game as No. 3 Bishop Shanahan upset No. 2 Lower Moreland, 1-0, at Souderton High School on Tuesday, and advanced to the District 1 Class AA final.
The Eagles (10-6-3) won their first district playoff game in school history and advanced to the district final for the first time. Shanahan will play No. 4 Pottsgrove on Thursday, 7 p.m., at Council Rock North for a trip to the PIAA Class AA playoffs.
Despite the 12 day layoff heading into its playoff opener, Shanahan only struggled to control possession for the first five minutes of the game in which the Lions (10-8) earned two corners and one shot. Since that point, the game belonged to the Eagles.
Shanahan outshot Lower Moreland 16-4 in the contest and controlled possession roughly 65 percent of the match. After finishing the regular season winning only two of its final six games, the long layoff clearly benefitted the Eagles.
“It definitely helped us going into this one,” said goalkeeper Pat Delaney. “I think we all were able to get some rest and come together in practice during the stretch. We were able to get the win over Lower Moreland because of it.”
Even with the shot and possession advantage, Shanahan was unable to provide a second goal which kept Lower Moreland in the game. Delaney only faced two shots all night, but both preserved the win for the Eagles.
On the Lions second shot of the night in the 54th minute, Derek Mitchell fired a blast from 7-yards out, but Delaney was able to grab the ball and keep Shanahan’s lead at 1-0.
Lower Moreland provided a counterattack in the 74th minute, but Delaney stood tall as Mitchell tried to go far side on the shot. Delaney poked the ball out of the box as the Eagles regained possession.
Like the rest of Shanahan, Delaney kept his composure throughout the final 65 minutes even if the Eagles couldn’t provide the second goal to seal the win.
“We’re not going to get discouraged if things don’t go our way or if the ball is not going in the net,” Delaney said. “It’s been like that all year with us getting early leads and holding them. The main thing is we’re winning games and still playing.”
Winning has been new this season for the Eagles. Shanahan won just one game in 2012 and 2013 with many of those players still on the current roster.
Now, the Eagles are one win away from a district championship and making more school history. They intend to finish the job.
“This is the farthest this program has ever gone so that’s pretty awesome,” Ziegler said. “We’re excited to play for a championship and get one chance to do it.”
“We haven’t been successful in a long time,” Delaney said. “When we had those back-to-back one-win seasons, we were the laughing stock of the Ches-Mont. Now we’re in the district final and intend to keep going farther.”
Bishop Shanahan 1, Lower Moreland 0
Bishop Shanahan 1 0 – 1
Lower Moreland 0 0 – 0
Bishop Shanahan goal: Ziegler.
Goalie saves: Delaney (BS) 2, Gould (LM) 4.
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