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Souderton improves playoff hopes with shutout win over Hatboro-Horsham

HORSHAM >> Both Souderton and Hatboro-Horsham entered Tuesday’s game in need of a win to improve their chances at making the PIAA District 1-AAA playoffs. Souderton entered this week No. 18 in the unofficial rankings and Hatboro was No. 27. The top 24 earn a postseason bid.

It was the visiting Indians who improved their playoff hopes, defeating the Hatters, 2-0, at Hatboro-Horsham High School.

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Hatboro-Horsham’s Mariella Spiezio chases the ball during the Hatters’ game against Souderton on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (Jeff Davis/For Digital First Media)

“(Hatboro was) lower than us (in the rankings),” Souderton coach Nicole Bauer said. “So it would probably have hurt us a little bit if we lost, dropped us down to the twenties, which doesn’t feel comfortable.”

“It would have been nice,” Hatboro coach Laura Swezey said. “We didn’t get it, but we still have North Penn, Upper Dublin and Cheltenham left. I still feel that there is a chance.”

In addition to getting in better position for the playoffs, Souderton also got one of its top offensive players back on track. Lightning quick forward Isabella Palde scored both goals in the win.

“(Palde has) been great,” Bauer said. “She’s been a spunk of energy. She’s like our Energizer Bunny. She always keeps moving. She’s been having a rough patch lately so it’s nice to see put a couple in.”

“I put my mindset more towards keeping calm and collected,” Palde said. “I feel like when I start to get angry or upset I start to do worse. When I just think about having to win it kind of makes me a little nervous. So I think to myself ‘calm down’ and it helps a lot.”

The game-winner came just eight minutes into the game. Palde won a race to the ball in the offensive right corner, carried to the goal and shot it by the keeper.

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Souderton’s Jess Gabriel tries to take the ball from Hatboro-Horsham’s Jessica Shaffer during their game on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (Jeff Davis/For Digital First Media)

“I saw a space between the goalie and the post,” Palde said. “I just shot it in.”

The insurance goal came late in the game, with 7:48 left on the clock. Palde found the ball in traffic in front of the cage and knocked it home for a 2-0 edge.

Souderton’s defense was impressive in the win. Along with the shutout, it allowed just one shot on goal in the entire game.

“I think we had really good footwork,” Palde said of the defense. “Without footwork, you aren’t able to stop the ball and most of the time it hits your feet. That’s why good footwork is important on defense and I think our team has a lot of good footwork.”

The Hatters blamed the offensive issues on intensity.

“We didn’t go to the ball like we had in the last couple of games,” Swezey said.

“We had a few fast breaks up, but we just didn’t capitalize at times and get the ball in. The last few games we’ve been more intense and to the ball. We talked about putting (today) behind us and move on to Friday and play like we’ve been playing.”

Hatboro’s goaltender had a big game to keep her side within striking distance. Liz Wilburn stopped 14 of the 16 shots she faced.

Both teams have key league matchups Friday. Souderton faces SOL Continental rival CB West and Hatboro has an SOL American contest against Upper Dublin.

Top Photo: Hatboro-Horsham’s Lizzy Theurer tries to block the ball from Souderton’s Jess Gabriel during their game on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. (Jeff Davis/For Digital First Media)

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