IMMACULATA >> After 80 regulation minutes, two five-minute overtimes and 26 penalty kicks, the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association finally crowned a state boys soccer champion Wednesday night.
You can safely say that The Hill School earned it.
Ram goalkeeper Aiden Perry made the winning save, knocking away Andrew Morris’ ball to give Hill School a 12-11 edge in PKs and a 1-0 victory over Penn Charter following 90 minutes of scoreless action. The vocal Hill fan contingent stormed the field at Immaculata’s Draper-Walsh Stadium and joined the Blues’ players in big celebration to cap an unforgettable evening.
“Crazy!” smiled Hill star Toni Adewole, who made both of his PKs. “I never saw that many in a game before. It’s a very exciting moment. To be a part of this my senior year is special. We knew we could do it. We just had to stay calm and dig deep.”
After getting a Gatorade bucket shower on the chilly evening, Hill coach Christopher Drowne said, “I thought it was a really well-played match by both sides. Both played the match the way they wanted to — we had more of the ball. It’s a shame it ends on penalty kicks, but hey, I couldn’t be prouder of our guys.
“To have to go to 13 rounds of penalty kicks was unbelievable. The guys worked very hard to get here. Seventeen guys started during the year, making this even more a true team.”
Hill, which beat Haverford 4-2 in the state semifinal, had a hard time mustering any offensive attacks in the first half of the final, as did the Quakers. But the Blues put on the pressure offensively throughout most of the second half, owning the last 20-plus regulation minutes in possession time. Philip Bell and Adewole both had rocket shots that just missed 10 minutes apart, Adewole’s coming with 14:12 left in regulation.
Penn Charter still was hard to crack, though, especially as the Quakers packed in their back line to thwart openings and cause numerous deflections.
“Toward the end of regulation they really packed the box. I think they were trying to bring us into PKs,” said Hill’s Ryan Wallace.
“But it gave us even more confidence,” added Hill’s Devin Murray.
The Blues nearly scored on the final possession of the second OT on a late rush, but PC goalie Jay Jennings came away with a sterling save.
In the shootout, Hill’s Adewole, Jake Fetterman, Ethan Norton, Greg Zimmerman, Devin Murray, Ali Kenneh, Ryan Wallace, Euan Forrest, Perry (yes, the goalie scored one as a kicker) all delivered successful shots. Adewole, Fetterman and Norton did it twice each.