TOWAMENCIN >> As the No. 1 overall seed in the District 1-A playoffs, Dock Mennonite Academy didn’t necessarily expect to be playing for third place.
However, an upset loss to Gwynedd Mercy Academy Wednesday left the Pioneers scrambling to keep their season alive. Luckily for them, there were no upsets Friday as Dock used its relentless pressure to defeat No. 3 Lower Moreland 3-1 and advance to the District 1/12 regional.
“We came out strong and were able to create a lot of offense,” said Dock head coach Michelle Waldspurger. “Lower Moreland was playing good defense but we finally got the ball in and then were able to stay up.”
The Dock offense was extremely active early and it paid off almost immediately.
Sophomore Jess Schmidt received a pass off the right side of the goal and finished it off less than four minutes into the game for her first of two goals on the night.
“This was huge,” said Schmidt. “This was a game that we needed to have in order to stay alive. We weren’t able to get them done in our last game but we were today so this was a big win.”
The Dock offense stayed active, tallying 19 shots, but thanks to unbelievable goaltending from Lower Moreland goalie Alex Casey, their shots didn’t tshow up on the scoreboard.
Casey finished the game with 12 saves and kept a usually potent Dock offense in check.
While Casey was busy making saves, the Lower Moreland offense was slowly working their way down the field and getting their feet under them. Then, with 9:07 left in the first half Olivia Succi put a loose ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1, which is how it would stay for the rest of the half.
“We just kind of broke down and weren’t communicating on the field,” said Waldspurger of her team’s effort at the end of the first half. “We were able to adjust afterwards, thankfully, and get it going though.”
Another reason Lower Moreland was able to keep Dock off the scoreboard was their game plan, as they focused on making someone other than senior midfield and captain Jill Bolton beat them.
“Our goal was to shut down, or try to shut down Jill (Bolton) because she’s one of their best players,” said Lower Moreland head coach Jess Ashenbrenner “We left our defenders pretty low and tried to take advantage of what we got on the offensive end which wasn’t much, but was more than we expected.”
Unfortunately for the Lions, the second half saw Dock score twice, once by forward Kate Strickland and then another by Schmidt as they used a consistent offensive attack to assure Lower Moreland couldn’t pull off the upset.
This win was big for the obvious reason that it keeps Dock’s season alive, but it’s also big because they will get to avenge their upset loss to Gwynedd earlier in the week.
“That was a tough loss against Gwynedd,” said Dock head coach Michelle Waldspurger. “We actually now get to play Gwynedd on Wednesday again and get a rematch, so it’s a big opportunity for us.”