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Depth, speed leads Pennridge over Cheltenham

CHELTENHAM >> The ingredients were all there for a Pennridge letdown performance.

After two tough league games this week, plus a bus breakdown that left them stranded at a Hatfield Wawa for a half-hour, the Rams girls’ soccer team arrived for their nonleague match at Cheltenham with little time to prepare. While the ingredients were there, they never got mixed together.

Pennridge’s offense was efficient as it led the way to a 7-0 win over a game Cheltenham side.

Kennedy and Kouri Peace each scored twice, with Kennedy adding two assists for a Rams team that led 6-0 at the break.

“From the beginning of the week, we’ve been focusing on every game one at a time, focus on that game and get the win,” senior midfielder Savanna Harrison said. “The bus stall actually got us focused. We had time to get together and think. We came out here and were able to come together and focus on getting a win.”

Cheltenham was able to keep the Rams at bay early with junior keeper Eliana Weiler denying some early shots. But eventually, the pace and technical skill of Pennridge’s attack broke through.

After Kennedy Peace nearly missed hitting her younger sister with a cross, the senior got one to connect that Kouri Peace tapped in with 10 minutes expired.

Three minutes later, Kennedy Peace doubled the lead with a well-taken shot inside the box. She added her second goal on a breakaway in the 15th minute.

“Our forwards were making great runs,” Harrison, a Kutztown recruit said. “We all wanted to keep moving and making runs and that was a big thing to keep moving and pass it.”

Reserve Kat Ester scored 30 minutes in when she followed her own blocked shot for a second effort.

After Weiler denied a shot by Melissa Lyon, Kouri Peace got in behind the defense on a through ball and finished to the opposite post in the 37th minute.

Harrison added a gorgeous goal of her own in the 39th minute when a Kouri Peace corner kick sailed all the way across the box and the senior midfielder volleyed it back into the net.

“In the first half we were a little over-awed by their reputation and we’ve played them the last couple of years so we know what they can do,” Cheltenham coach Mark Woodcock said. “We looked at their players and got a little gun-shy and we conceded a couple quick goals and a couple more and at halftime things were looking a little bleak.”

Pennridge’s only second half goal came late when Carissa Manero put away a Kennedy Peace cross.

Woodcock talked with his team at half about finding the “extra 25” percent of their energy in the second frame. The Panthers did that and played better, though the Rams did field mostly reserves.

“We played with a lot more energy and it was a lot better,” Woodcock said.

It was a solid win for the Rams and a chance for their reserves to get in and be rewarded with varsity minutes. Harrison said it’s a deep team and she feels like there’s two a starting lineups worth of players.

“It’s helped a lot because everyone has a different role. If we were all the same, we wouldn’t be who we are as a team,” Harrison said. “Everyone has their job and that’s what makes us the team we are.”



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