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Souderton holds off William Tennent for 2nd straight win

FRANCONIA >> Maybe in a prior game this season, an early goal by the opposite side would have caused things to go astray for the Souderton boys soccer team.

But when Mike Albers scored on a free kick less than three minutes into Tuesday night’s Suburban One League Continental Conference match, the Indians’ confidence did not waver.

“One of those things our coach always talks about is that some of the games when they come out fast and they hit us really hard, we kind of stammer a little bit and we have a little trouble getting back on our feet,” Souderton junior defender Ben Campman said. “When they scored that, we’re trying to make a culture here, that’s another thing our coach is always telling us, so we figured we’d get it eventually.

“We had a lot of shots on target the last game and we figured one of them was going to find the net.”

It did not take Big Red look to collect the equalizer, Dylan Molyneaux tapping a loose ball over the goal line in the ninth minute. Campman provided the go-ahead tally just before halftime while Nick Marculo’s penalty-kick conversion helped Souderton overcome another Albers free-kick strike and earn a 3-2 victory over the Panthers.

“They showed a lot of hard in the way they responded to that early goal,” Souderton coach Matt Benner said. “Giving up a goal three minutes into the game and our boys were really, really locked in ready to play this game, it could have gone a different direction. And to their credit, they just fought right back, got a goal back within 10 minutes.”

Marculo PK’s gave the Indians (5-5-0, 2-4-0 conference) a 3-1 advantage with 32:56 to go in the second half before Albers scored again off a restart, his curling shot hitting the right post and going in at 23:24. Albers made a try at a third late with a long-distance high arcing effort that Souderton goalkeeper Mitchell Race knocked away as the Panthers’ two-game win streak was snapped.

“I know everybody has injuries, but we were a little thin on our bench today,” William Tennent coach Ryan Todt said. “We got a guy hurt at practice yesterday and another guy wasn’t available today so I thought we were a little short they had a little more stamina than us and they weathered, they fought right back and to their credit they crashed the boxed well and got behind us. We learned the hard way.”

Tuesday’s result has Souderton out to a strong start this week, which began for Big Red with a 1-0 non-league win over Phoenixville Monday that put an end to a three-game skid. Souderton begins the second half of SOL Continental play hosting Central Bucks South 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

“I think the biggest thing for our guys as we move forward is that they continue to keep that level of focus that they showed tonight,” Benner said. That every single game in the SOL is a really, really tough matchup and it doesn’t matter if you’re any of the Central Bucks schools, North Penn, William Tennent or Pennridge, every single game that we play against each other is going to be a tough one.

“And we know that. And we try and make sure our boys are as focused as they can (be) going into these games and I think they really showed that today. They had a chip on their shoulder today. They knew that today could be a big point in their season and we’re really happy to get the result.”

Tennent, a newcomer to the Continental clashes – having been in the SOL’s National Conference the last eight seasons – sits tied for Souderton in fifth with six points. The Panthers are home against Central Bucks West 7 p.m. Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter, in the Suburban One League, they’re all good conferences,” Todt said. “Everybody’s big, everybody’s physical and you just hope that the referees can protect your players in the end because some of these games are really wars and I think the referees don’t blow the whistle enough to protect both teams and it’s a shame for the kids.”

Albers’ first goal came at 37:22 when he ripped a free kick into the top right corner of the Indians’ net.

Molyneaux level the contest 1-1 at 31:02 after Souderton opted to play a corner kick short. A ball played into the 18-yard box by Tommy Sonn went to Tennent goalkeeper Brendan Hanratty, but it slipped out of Hanratty’s grasp and rolled towards the net. Molyneaux touched the ball over the line with a sliding shot.

“I was really, really excited when that goal went in because I knew that we were back ready to go again,” Benner said. “And they carried it through and they did a nice job the rest of the game.”

Souderton took a 2-1 with just 1:56 left before halftime. A Molyneaux throw-in inside the box was cleared back to Molyneaux, who floated a cross back in front. The ball eventually found the feet of Campman, who sent a shot into the opposite left corner.

“Cross came across and one our captains, Cameron Hart, went to trap and it kind of just fell off his foot,” Campman said. “And I just took a touch and kind of put one on frame and just kind of hoped for it.”

The Indians extended the lead in the second half when they received a penalty kick after Tennent was called for a foul on David Hafler in the box. Marculo took the PK and send it into the left side of the net, out of the reach of the diving Hanratty to make it 3-1 at 32:56.

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