RADNOR >> Head coach Joe Caruolo described it as “chaos.” A mixture of Radnor and Bishop Shanahan players surrounded the net, making it difficult for Eagles goalie Austin Coron to find the ball.
Out of the pile sprinted Radnor’s Ryan Peter, who kicked home the game-winning goal to propel the Raiders to 1-0 victory in overtime to advance to the PIAA District 1 Class AAA title game.
With the win, Radnor also clinched its first state playoff appearance since 2004. For Caruolo, his Radnor team scored because of their ability to handle that “chaos” in front of the net.
“I saw the chaos and the scrum then a moment of composure. It was a simple pass with a moment of composure,” Caruolo said. “We found a moment of clarity and we finished one of our only chances.”
Bobby Kirsch fed the ball to Peter Miller, who made a timely pass to Peter for the winning assist. In a game where they did not have many opportunities, particularly in the second half and overtime, Radnor (12-7-1) was able to cash in when it mattered most.
The player who continually put the Raiders in position to score against Bishop Shanahan (12-8) was senior midfielder Andrew Boujoukos. Boujoukos was playing in place of Jack Miller, who was out after picking up a red card in the team’s win against Phoenixville last week. Miller gave Boujoukos, who had the first shot on goal 1 minute, 21 seconds into the game, some much needed advice before the game.
“His number one thing to me was to just stop on the ball and the field will open up,” Boujoukos said. “I just felt like I was able to find our wide guys and able to make plays just by stopping the ball.”
Boujoukos made two strong throw-ins on corner attempts, one of which nearly scored on a header from Cal Henson but Coron secured one of his seven saves.
The chances were few for Radnor but Shanahan had a couple of opportunities to win the game. Matthew Ziegler put a shot on goal nine minutes into the first half that Radnor goalie Ben Toomey (six saves) lost but regained before the ball could roll into the net. In the second half, Harrison Coron took the ball deep down the baseline and crossed it in front of the net but Radnor’s defense recovered and cleared it. Eagles head coach James Kavalik knew his team had their chances but didn’t make them count.
“Any time the ball got down the flank and got into the middle, our guys missed our mark,” Kavalik said. “Radnor’s defense stepped up and stopped us from getting any quality shots on goal (late).”
Radnor now shifts its focus to No. 1 seed Holy Ghost Prep. Radnor has beaten its share of good teams during this run and Caruolo has seen his team continually accept the challenge of making plays when they needed to.
“At the end of the day, to see the intangibles in (how) this team pulls out wins against good teams it makes you emotional as a coach,” Caruolo said. “To see them step up to that challenge makes you speechless in the end.”