FAIRVIEW VILLAGE >> For the first time in quite some time, the Perkiomen Valley girls lacrosse team can say one thing:
“We’re going to the PAC playoffs.”
Coupled by the finish of Abby Bergman with 47 seconds left and the scintillating stick save by Devon Fleischmann moments later, the Vikings upended Methacton 6-5 to clinch their first PAC Final Four playoff berth.
“They had a task and they did what they needed to do to get it done,” Perkiomen Valley first-year head coach Lisa Clark said. “The one thing that we’ve talked about all season is facing pressure and rising above it, and that’s what they’ve done.”
Clark couldn’t have been more right. See Bergman and Fleischmann for proof.
Tied at 5 following Julie Byrne’s finish on a free position with 1:59 left, the Vikings took possession on a groundball before setting up their offense. Dictating the pace for a minute-plus, the Vikings got off a shot from good distance that went just wide of the near post to the awaiting Bergman. Bergman picked it up at the side of the net, sprung left past the Methacton defender and buried the eventual game-winner from right outside the crease to make it 6-5 with 47 seconds remaining.
“It felt pretty good getting that goal,” Bergman, a Bloomsburg commit, said with a laugh. “However, it was definitely a team effort. A great win for us.”
Fleischmann, committed to William & Mary, made sure the lead stayed. The Warriors pressured in the final 30 seconds, yet only got one shot off at Fleischmann, who turned away the hard shot from close distance with a brilliant stick save with 15 seconds left. A failed free position try and a scrum for the loose ball ate away the rest of the clock as Perkiomen Valley players stormed the field.
“The only thing I think is ‘it’s mine, it’s my ball,’” Fleischmann said.
Fleischmann finished with seven saves in the win. Kat Kelley and Anna Koniencki added two goals with Paige Tyson (assist) and Bergman finishing with a goal apiece. The win propels the Vikings to the PAC Final Four where they will square off against Owen J. Roberts Tuesday at OJR at a time to be determined. It’s a noted achievement for a Viking squad that finished with just four league wins two seasons ago.
Excitement for the feat: palpable.
“Every year we give it 100 percent and we’ve always worked toward this goal,” Fleischmann said. “It really speaks to our team culture, how we always try and bring each other up and motivate each other to achieve goals like this. A few years ago it seemed like a lofty goal to beat all these teams in the league, but we never thought we were out of it. We worked hard to get to this point.”
“We knew this was our year,” Bergman said. “We believed in each other and worked as a team to get to this point.”
Methacton was denied a chance to vie for a PAC title, one that fell out of the Warriors hands in back-to-back seasons to Owen J. Roberts. Jackie Cerchio led the Warriors with two goals and an assist with Sydney Tornetta, Addy Borkowski and Byrne each adding one.
The game was never out of the Warriors’ reach. They fell behind 3-0 following two straight goals from Koniencki — her second coming off a dazzling move in space — and Kelley within the first 12 minutes. Borkowski answered from a feed from Cerchio with 11 minutes left to pull it within 3-1 before Tornetta fired from distance to make it 3-2 with 3:08 left in the first half.
Methacton leveled it with a rocket from Cerchio with 13:57 left before Kelley answered with PV a man-up, going low to make it 4-3 with 10:41 remaining. Cerchio leveled it at 4, bouncing one past Fleischmann with 6:25 to go before Tyson and Byrne traded goals to set up Bergman and Fleischmann’s finish.