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Lower Merion capitalizes on chances, takes down Wissahickon in District 1-AAAA 2nd round

LOWER MERION >> Wissahickon entered Thursday’s District-One AAAA boys soccer second round game with momentum on its side. The Trojans were winners of seven straight regular season contests to close out their season and a had convincing 3-0 victory in its first round game against Garnet Valley Monday.

But Wissahickon’s luck ran out Thursday afternoon as its season ended with a 3-1 loss to Lower Merion.

“(It felt like) there were three shots and three goals,” Wissahickon coach Stuart Malcolm said. “It was probably a few more than that but that’s what it looked like and all credit to them for finishing them.”

The margin on the scoreboard is definitely an instance in which the score can be misleading. Neither team got an abundance of quality looks at the others’ net, however it was the Aces that capitalized on some loose balls around the Trojans net and was able to convert. Two of the Lower Merion goals, the first two, came off the foot of Andreas Blobel.

On the back end for Lower Merion, it was rock solid. The Aces gave the Trojans no room to operate offensively as Wissahickon managed only two shots on goal, one those being a Tom McHale goal coming late in the game.

“They were a dangerous team, our guys responded and played together as a strong unit,” Lower Merion coach Niko Severini said. “I think it was good effort overall. Not just with the goals we scored but the defense we were able to bring to the table.”

As the second half bore on the game became more chippy and physical with some heavy challenges coming from both sides. The Aces, playing with a lead, handled the rough play.

“We stressed to keep head-level and keep cool,” Severini said. “Playoff soccer gets heated, playoff sports, in general, gets heated and it was two team going at it really trying to get the win and that’s what happens with playoff soccer.”

After rebounding from a tough start and with a young and growing team, Wissahickon should be poised for another good start to the season next year. The Trojans were happy to their 2016 season end with a playoff appearance.

“We tied our first game and lost three of the next five,” Malcolm said. “We were 1-3-1 and we looked like a team that was going to struggle to make the playoffs. Apart from losing to Neshaminy with a penalty kick in the last minute that was the only defeat we had since that (tough) start. We got five or six sophomores out there so its young side and they learned how to win as the season went on.

“If someone had told me after the Hatboro-Horsham game, the first one that we lost, that we got the 10 seed and we come to Lower Merion and lost in the second round of the playoffs I’d be quite happy to be in that situation.”

For the Aces, they find themselves one win away from a state playoff berth as they get set to take on the winner of the second-seeded West Chester Henderson and No.15 Penn Wood in the quarterfinals Saturday.

“We have been taking it one game at a time. We’ll regroup and work on some things tomorrow and be ready for the next one,” Severini said.

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