WESTTOWN >> It took 16 quick seconds for West Chester Rustin to realize it had its hands full with Methacton, but the final 100 ticks felt like slow motion.
The No. 21 Warriors won the opening draw, sprinted down the field and found the back of the net before No. 5 Rustin even realized its playoffs had finally begun. There were nine ties in the back and forth game, and after sophomore Ashley Chisolm scored with 1:44 remaining, the Golden Knights held on for dear life.
Methacton had three clear shots in the final minute, but none found the net and Rustin held on for a 14-13 win in the Class-3A District 1 second round home game.
“We really worked as a team and scored at the end,” Chisolm said. “We came together and showed we could move on and hopefully we can win districts.”
The Knights will travel to No. 4 Springfield (Delco) Saturday for a 4 p.m. quarterfinal matchup.
That trip was in jeopardy numerous times, Thursday night, as Alana Cardaci got the Warriors off to a fast start. Cardaci finished two passes from Jackie Cerchio in the first half and had four goals.
Neither team could pull away in the first, however, as the biggest lead never stretched past one for either squad.
“I think both teams have very good offenses and both goalies really stepped up with some huge saves,” Rustin coach Mike St. Clair said. “That prevented a run from either of us.”
Tina St. Clair led the Knights with four first-half goals, as they led at halftime, 7-6.
In the second half, Methacton got off to another quick start, scoring four straight in the first six minutes to take a 10-7 lead.
Cerchio benefited from Cardaci passes this time, netting the first three scores on the half.
“It was a great game between two evenly matched teams, but we couldn’t capitalize,” Methacton coach Laurie Markle said.
The biggest lead of the game lasted only four minutes, as Chisolm scored three in a row to get Rustin even.
Just like that, goals from Anna Price and Addy Borkowski gave Methacton a two-score buffer, only to see that evaporate during a strong eight-minute run by Rustin.
Skyler Demis got the Knights within one and Michelle Chessock followed with a pair to put them up 13-12.
Aubrey Hazlett’s equalizer gave Methacton hope with just under three minutes left, but Chisolm’s final shot was the difference.
“We have six or seven girls who can take the ball and score and it happened to be Ashley this time,” Mike St. Clair said. “She got it and she’s a good finisher.”
Methacton won the draw, and eventually had two chances from eight meters, but two shots were high and another was deflected by Rustin goalie Maddi Montebianco in the waning seconds.
“We’ve had a couple of those lately, coming down to the last 30 seconds, but Maddi came up with a couple big saves,” Mike St. Clair said. “She’s come up huge all year and she came up with another there.”
Methacton, who knocked off No. 12 Pennridge in the first round, was that close to forcing overtime and prolonging its run.
“We had our opportunities and had our shots in the last 30 seconds and we had to get one,” Markle said. “We have nothing to be upset about other than we lost.”
Rustin will face a tough Cougars squad coming off of Prom the night before, but the Knights will need one more win to keep dancing all the way to states.
West Chester Rustin 14, Methacton 13
Methacton 6 7 – 13
Rustin 7 7 – 14
Methacton goals: Cardaci 4, Price 3, Cerchio 3, Hazlett 2, Borkowski 1.
Rustin goals: Chisholm 6, T. St. Clair 4, Chessock 3, Demis, 1.