LOWER GWYNEDD >> The name of the game for Wissahickon in Tuesday night’s District 1-AAAA playoff game against Garnet Valley was aggression.
The Trojans used an aggressive style of play in all phases of the game to knock off the Jaguars 2-0 and advance to the second round.
“We have a young team so a lot of people aren’t used to what playoff games actually are,” Wissahickon senior midfielder Joe Maiale said. “Our coach (Stuart Malcolm) made sure to let them know you got to be aggressive to start or else you’re going to be losing the whole time.”
Wissahickon came out fast and ready to go, taking the play to Garnet Valley from the opening whistle. The Trojans spent a lot of time in the offensive zone where they used aggressive passes and shot selection to pressure the Garnet Valley defense.
It wasn’t just the offensive zone where the Trojans were aggressive either as they used high pressure in the midfield where they gave the Jaguars no time or space to maneuver with the ball.
“They came out all guns blazing and out worked us for a good part of the first half,” Garnet Valley coach Jim Wallace said. “It took a while for us to adjust to speed they were playing (at).”
The midfield pressure of the Trojans led to the first goal as well-played ball by Tom HcHale allowed Maiale to get on the end of one and give Wissahickon a lead just over 18 minutes in.
“It was kind of just played around right in front of their defense and then (McHale) played a ball through and then I was right there to sprint and get it in.”
Maiale and McHale would factor in the Trojans’ second goal as well as Maiale dribbled up the left side, fed the ball to David Goldstein who then laid a beautiful cross to McHale who finished. The goal epitomized the Wissahickon performance, as the trio played a great game all night and displayed their speed on the fast break goal.
“I just got the ball and I had a lot of space at the time,” Maiale said. “I saw David making a run like he always does so I split the defenders and then David did what he does best and crossed the ball in for Tom to finish.”
While the Wissahickon style was for the most part effective the Trojans did get caught a couple times in dangerous situations in the first half as keeper Brad Schwartz made a great save to bail them out of one and defenseman Matt Om went to head a ball back to Schwartz but headed it past him but Om was able to keep the ball out as he was following,
Perhaps because of the aggressive play of Wissahickon it led to a very physical game with both teams committing more than their fair share of fouls with both teams also taking several injury stoppages.
The no.10 seed Trojans travel to Lower Merion Thursday night to take on the No.7 Aces. Wissahickon is on a roll right now after finishing second to Upper Dublin in the Suburban One League American Conference and could be poised for a little playoff run.
“Our last seven regular season games we went undefeated so we really have forward momentum going,” Maiale said. “The win in this playoff game is definitely going to keep that going if not make it stronger.”
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