WARMINSTER – One hundred and 10 minutes of soccer played out on the pitch wasn’t enough to determine a victor in the District 1-AAA semifinal battle between 14th-seeded Council Rock North and No. 10 Downingtown West.
A scoreless duel on Tuesday night went to penalty kicks and there, the Whippets prospered, outpacing the Lady Indians 3-1 when two of North’s attempts sailed high and another taken by senior Tori Hill was stopped by D-W junior goalkeeper Morgan O’Loughlin with a two-handed diving stab to her left.
“You don’t want to lose that way but the way we played today, to get to that point, I was pretty satisfied,” said Beres. “Because it wasn’t our finest day.”
For Ches-Mont National League rival Downingtown West, the Nov. 4 win at William Tennent sends to the Whippets to the D-1 title tilt against top seed CB East 3 p.m. Saturday at Souderton. Meanwhile, the Rock plays on Saturday in a battle for third place at No. 4 seed Spring-Ford, which lost to the Lady Patriots 1-0 in the other semifinal.
Sixth-seeded West Chester Henderson will host No. 24 CB South in the battle for the fifth and final PIAA berth. The Titans outpaced Pennsbury 2-1 to send the defending D-1 champion Lady Falcons home for the remainder of the season.
After playing well in the first half, the Indians had the action dictated to them in the second, evened the playing field in the first overtime and finally got a few opportunities of their own to end it in the second extra session before going to PKs.
“You can’t just expect to defend for 110 minutes and think that everything’s going to be OK because it’s not,” added Beres. “We didn’t do what we said we were going to do, offensively.”
Still, Council Rock’s best chance to score came with four minutes gone in double overtime. That’s when D-W senior Melana Paternoster took down North senior Tori Hill. The whistle blown for the infraction, some confusion ensued in the following moments as to who was awarded possession. It was Rock’s ball and the misunderstanding opened the door – however slightly – for CR-N junior Kayla Robinson to make a run downfield.
The striker for the Indians dribbled the ball down inside the 30 and unleashed a shot aimed at the top shelf of the left-hand side of the goal. A little lower, the shot might have sent North to the D-1 title game. It was high however, and the sides played on into the night.
“We’ve played better in the midfield,” stated Beres. “Last week, a shot like that goes in and we just play well; that’s how we’ve been winning games. But if we’re going to end a dry spell, I’m glad it’s today or Saturday because hopefully by Tuesday (beginning of states), we’ll figure it out again.”
A few minutes later, the Indians tried to get a leg on a bouncing ball in front of the Whippets’ net only to hear the whistle blow for an inadvertent shoulder thrown in front of the goal crease.
With 40 seconds remaining, Robinson registered a turnover about 50 yards out and looked like she might make another run at the net, especially when Paternoster fell down on the play. Like it did all night long, however, when one Downingtown defender fell down on the job, there was another right there to pick up the slack.
“I thought we played really well in the 30 minutes of overtime,” added Beres. “But it was too little, too late at that point because we didn’t have the legs.
“We had spent too much time defending.”
The Whippets were the team that had the best chance to score in the first overtime period. With 10 minutes gone in the extra session, sophomore Gina Peraino crossed the ball to freshman Grace Voss, who had nothing between her and the back of the net but CR North keeper Jeri Belardo.
With the entire net at which to shoot, the ninth-grader launched the ball over the crossbar, however. Peraino and D-W freshman Sydney Amparo had the last two chances for either side in the closing minutes of the first overtime period.
While they came out on the short end in this one, Council Rock has spun a Cinderella tale for themselves in the tournament, outpacing Upper Dublin, third-seeded West Chester Rustin and No. 6 West Chester Henderson in the D-1 quarterfinals to make states.
In this game, in the closing minutes of the second half, the Whippets were the ones creating scoring chances for themselves. In the 71st minute, freshman Peyton Mottice took a turnover along the right sideline and sent a ball in on the CR net only to see it headed out of harm’s way by junior defenseman Brielle Reich.
With 2:30 remaining in regulation, a shot by junior Joanna Guay aimed at the top shelf off a corner kick from senior Haley Ferrer was just a bit too high. An ensuing shot by senior Siena Veurink with freshman Jenna Bianco lurking on the doorstep had eyes but Belardo was right there to cover it up.
“They had a game plan and were able to execute it pretty well until the overtime,” said Beres. “That’s when we were able to get free and generate some chances.
“Last week, those chances were enough for us to win because we finished them.
“This week, that wasn’t the case. Hopefully by next week, we’ll be able to finish those again.
In the penalty kicks session, D-West seniors Haley Ferrer and Siena Veurink, along with junior Joanna Guay put balls into the back of the net for the Whippets. Brielle Reich put the only one in for Council Rock.
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District 1-AAA semifinal
Downingtown West 0, Council Rock North 0 (3 OT)
(D-W wins 3-1 in PKs)
(Nov. 4 at William Tennent)
CR NORTH0 0 0 0 – 0
D-West 0 0 0 0 – 0
GOALS: D-W — Haley Ferrer, Siena Veurink, Joanna Guay; CR-N — Brielle Reich
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