DOWNINGTOWN >> Downingtown West had its chances in Tuesday’s District 1 4A boys soccer opener at DiSerafino Stadium.
But the visitors from Abington converted on their two biggest chances of the game, and it was enough to lift the Galloping Ghosts to a 2-0 win and end the Whippets’ season.
“I thought this was a game of two halves,” said West coach John Hatt. “We had our opportunities, but we didn’t take advantage. If we had pushed through and gotten something on the board in the first half, (Abington) might have pressed and maybe it would be a different result.”
West pressured Abington through much of the first half stalemate, but shots went off the post, went high, or were simply turned away by Abington keeper Nicholas Brownholz. The zeroes on the scoreboard, however, remained throughout a first half that featured a bizarre stoppage when West keeper James Meals literally kicked the cover off the ball.
“We had some scary moments in the first half where they got behind our defense and created some chances,” said Abington coach Randy Garber. “But other than that, I thought we were sound. We made a couple adjustments, knowing that this was a good team that could score some goals, we dropped another person back and told our keeper not to come out unless he was sure he was going to win the ball.”
The Ghosts’ first goal came a little over seven minutes into the second half when they successfully drew Meals from goal. Sophomore midfielder Sean Touey had gotten behind the defense, took the ball, and lofted a shot over Meals and in to the net for the first score. It was Touey’s 22nd goal on the season.
“That was something we’ve been working on all year where we try to put the ball out on the wing, and then I just slipped behind the center back,” said Touey. “The wind cut us a break, because the ball just floated over the center back and I got a good touch on it. The goalie was coming out, and I think he got a finger on it, but it went in.”
But the Ghosts couldn’t afford to be complacent and just sit on a lead; a sure recipe for disaster.
“It’s always in the back of your mind that you could have just gotten the game winner,” said Touey. “But you can’t think that way. You can’t just assume a one goal lead is enough, because it could be gone just like that in high school soccer. You have to keep up the pressure and put that final nail in the coffin.”
The coffin was hammered shut with just 5:56 to play, when Juan Castillo made it a 2-0 game.
“As we were coming down field and I saw the ball coming to me, I knew I had a good chance,” said Castillo. “I took my shot and it kind of went through I few people so I was at least a little lucky, but one of my teammates made a great run through to pull another player off me and helped open things up. Next game is against Conestoga, the top seed, so it’s going to be a tough game, but I think we’re all ready for it.”
The Ghosts will once again be on the road to face the Pioneers, with the game scheduled for Thursday evening under the lights at 7 p.m.
“It’s always great to get that first game under your belt,” said Garber. “I always tell the kids that the first one is always the toughest, whether you’re home or on the road, so it’s great to get the win.”
For the Whippets, the season comes to a close.
“As a coach, all you can ask for is a a group of kids that works hard,” said Hatt. “That certainly describes this group of kids. Today is disappointing, but the kids we bring back next year will just keep working hard to improve.”