ROYERSFORD >> For the first 65 minutes of Wednesday night’s Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division matchup between Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley it seemed as if nothing was going to get past either goalkeeper.
Then finally Rams’ sophomore Brett Gulati was able to take a breakaway pass up the right wing and into the box before being drug down, setting up a Rams’ penalty kick.
From there senior Ronnie Minges did all the work, shooting the PK past the Vikings’ Andrew Daubenspeck, to give the Rams a 1-0 lead and the eventual win on Senior night.
“We had to breakdown their defense. They were holding 11 behind the ball in the first half and we weren’t really moving the ball fast enough to solve them or do anything effective,” said Rams’ assistant coach Cory Lush, who was forced into head coaching duties for the game due to a family emergency for head coach Brent Kissel. “The way PV came out in the second half gave us more space to work with and play our game,” continued Lush.
With the win, the Rams moved to 6-1 in their division and 8-2 in PAC play overall, tied with Methacton who owns the tiebreaker.
“We just want to keep collecting wins and making sure we’re in a good position so when it comes time for the playoffs we’re ready to roll,” said Lush.
For the Vikings the road is more difficult. The loss drops them to 4-3 in their division and 7-3 in PAC play, setting up yet another important matchup with Boyertown (3-4 division, 6-4 overall) on October 7th.
“A win or tie is better than a loss. With three games remaining we need some wins,” said McCabe. “Maybe now it will help us refocus for the home stretch knowing now that we have to get some wins.”
The Rams certainly had some opportunities to score in the first. The first came with 20:33 remaining in the first half when a series of quick passes left junior midfielder Sal Ibarra with a wide open shot at net, which was stopped by Daubenspeck, who turned away six Rams’ shots throughout the game.
Later in the half, senior Nathan Alban saw his header off a cross from Brandon Duka trickle just right of the net, keeping the game at a 0-0 draw at the half.
The second half saw a lot of the same results for the Rams as they struggled for the first 20 minutes to get any clean looks at net.
The Vikings’ defense, made up of seniors, Jake Rogers, Andrew Zielke and Ryan Dao, and junior Brian Holmes were able to wipe away any opportunities the Rams were able to get.
“Our plan was to sustain in the first half and keep it even and we did that. We were hoping in the second half to move the ball out a little bit,” said McCabe.
The Rams would begin to press the issue, after a free kick by Cole Trainor was cleared by the Vikings, Spring-Ford pushed the issue forcing a deep throw-in which resulted in a shot of the post.
Then the Rams caught their break when Gulati broke away leading to the PK and eventual game-winner by Minges.
The Vikings would try to answer back, twice getting a deep throw-in and added a late corner, but were turned away by the Rams’ defense and keeper Hunter Hudak who finished his night with three saves for the shutout.
“When you’re playing these tight games, all it takes is one mistake and we let it up tonight,” said McCabe, who was proud of the way his team responded after giving up the goal.
The matchup had plenty of playoff implications as both teams are vying for their shot at the PAC Final Four.